Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘halloween’

A Beginning


I missed Halloween. It was my 6-year blogging anniversary and I just couldn’t get caught up enough to do anything about it. So goes the story of my life.

Today is my younger sister’s birthday. She likes low-key celebrations and this year is no exception. We had breakfast yesterday at Bob’s Red Mill after I picked her up from dropping her truck off at the mechanic. Everywhere we went, we saw geese. So many geese taking a rest from their flight to warmer climates.

Too far and too many for a good shot.

They wander on the road here. Everyone stops.

Her birthday would not be something I would ordinarily write about but right now she is mostly all I write about in my personal writing. I have started to recall all the hair-raising episodes of her life and want to quickly compile them into a booklet form. This photo should tell you that as soon as she could walk she was railing at the world and grasping life with both hands loudly and with abandon.

Don’t mess with me.

This year she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. It apparently tends to run in families. Our mother had it so we know what it does. I have cut back on many of my other activities to spend more time with her and to get her stories written and pictures collected and scanned. My sister is what is referred to as a character. I’d like to share some of them with you over time.

Mom, me and sis

 

Everything is changing and everything that ends brings with it a new beginning. The leaves on the trees are changing though many haven’t quite made up their minds. Our weather has the trees so confused. The time is changing this weekend and we fall back an hour. It’s so hard to adjust. My perspective on life has changed as well. I’m examining each moment for hidden treasures.

In full splendor

Undecided about changing

On Halloween afternoon as I was trying to write this, my internet died. When I called my cable company after doing the things I should to check and see if it was something I could fix, I finally got a sweet young woman on the phone. Brianna said she would try to work her magic and see if it could be repaired from there. After several moments she came back on the line and said my modem had sent an “end of life signal”! I laughed at the irony of it. She did get it working again for the time being.

Today, a giant of a man, made his way to the den with plastic booties over his shoes and laid the modem to rest, replacing it with a newer model He was shocked I still had the old model as they had all been brought back last year. How had mine survived? I told Brianna that the gremlins finally got it. There was a lot of treasure in these moments.

Life is a little uncertain right now.

Are you seeing the treasures in the moments? Do you have “characters” in your life you like to tell stories about?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Happy Halloweeny Anniversary

Why on earth did I pick Halloween to start a blog? Was I on a sugar rush or just enjoying the festivities of the ghoulish decorations at my son’s house while living with him.

Would you have asked her for candy?

Would you have asked her for candy?

Five years ago I was extremely debilitated by many unusual symptoms of Bells Palsy. I could no longer drive and as a passenger, I had to close my eyes, especially at night. I couldn’t sew because seeing the needle move up and down turned my brain into mush with an odd nausea. Television had its own terror. If things moved too fast on the screen, I had to close my eyes and look away. The cane is still necessary to keep me balanced and upright. The symptoms aren’t gone but they are far better.

Standing guard

Standing guard

The symptoms were a reflection of my life. Writing was all I had left to pull the terror of where I was in that moment into a cohesive plan for some kind of a future as a 62 years old freshly divorced and debilitated woman. Social Security advised I qualified for disability. I was not employable. That was scary enough.

The very act of writing helped train my damaged brain to find words again. Mimicking a stroke in many ways, this virus left my brain unable to put full sentences together without long pauses. I couldn’t find words I knew were there. Friends and family started finishing sentences for me. My writing was simpler five years ago. Gradually, I’m making progress, I hope.

This spider is tickling my nose.

This spider is tickling my nose.

In five years, I’ve found an online support community of bloggers. Who knew such a thing existed? Every time I got discouraged, there would be a comment, e-mail or even happy snail mail loaded with lovely things to cheer me on.

Corny wants a book with his treats

Corny wants a book with his treats

I scrounged together enough money after the home I shared with the last husband sold to put a down payment on a small manufactured home for myself, my books, fabric and other crafting tools. Slowly, I’m able to do little bits at a time of my cherished creative endeavors. Making this house my home has taken a lot of energy. Naps are on my daily agenda when tackling any project. It’s the brain that gets tired before the body so I’m exercising my brain as much as my body.

Got the borders, back and binding on the panel to that I quilted enough to hang by the sleeve on the back. It's said to be glow in the dark.

Got the borders, back and binding on the panel to that I quilted enough to hang by the sleeve on the back. It’s said to be glow in the dark.

This Halloween will be different again from the last. Aren’t they all? Not so many outside decorations as we’re having the wettest October on record and today brought high winds. Power has been intermittent. Inside, I’m ready for any brave little goblins that make it past the real bugs and spiders out there. It’s so warm, they have swarmed like an apocalyptic army. They scare me more than zombies any day.

Witchy Poo and her albino pumpkin are inside this year.

Witchy Poo and her albino pumpkin are inside this year.

I’m curious to see what the next five years will unfold. Heck, I’m curious to see how today will unfold. Thank you all for being on this journey with me and cheering me on. Have a Happy Halloween with lots of sweet treats and no tricks.

No candy in this pumpkin

No candy in this pumpkin

Is there anything that scares you more than a zombie apocalypse?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

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In Search of Five

Happy Halloween. It’s here again. We have the perfect Halloween weather, though not for the kids. It’s windy, raining and spooky. The wind is knocking down decorations right and left whipping them down the street to be recovered later.

Tombstones went flying.

Tombstones went flying.

My daughter, son and I have combined our meager collection of decor and put out everything we had here at my place. This is where we will be tonight eating the candy that was intended for the neighbor kids. I don’t think any will brave the rain. Most go to city sponsored functions anyway. We have candy just in case.

I’ve been trying to race the weather to get my outside work done before the rains came. Guess who won? I had to pay someone to paint the front of my house. My son is not good with ladders and paint buckets. My sister spilled half a bucket of paint trying to do just the trim so I call in help. I did manage to get the porch area painted with 2 coats. It’s hard to see the difference but it feels so much happier to me. The soft yellow is so much better than the dull beige. Got it finished and cleaned up in time for decorating. I know the bugs schedule now and I’ll do the rest of the painting first thing next spring.

 

the differemce 2

I put up the metal quilt square to show that this is a quilt friendly home.

I put up the metal quilt square to show that this is a quilt friendly home.

Halloween marks my blogging anniversary. I’ve been doing this four years now and wondering about the merits of a fifth. I know I want to reevaluate where I’m going with this. This last year and a half has been challenging in many ways. What am I saying? They are all somewhat challenging. So the weather has brought us inside and that’s where I need to go. Inside for some deep soul-searching. There is that word again. Searching. Do I still have anything of value to offer? Your time is precious. I never have enough time. So I’m going to take a moment to ponder the number five.

Corny wants a book with his treats

Corny wants a book with his treats

I hope you have a festive Halloween with more treats than tricks.

Are you ready to come inside?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of Something Spooky

It’s Halloween again. I have to admit it has not been my favorite holiday but it’s growing on me thanks to the blogging community, especially the queen of Halloween herself at Gardening Nirvana. She made her own costume and it’s incredible as are her pumpkins and cards. Here is my daughter’s version of pumpkin carving. She had so much fun doing it.

My daughter had a pumpkin carving contest at work. Her's is spooky...ish

My daughter had a pumpkin carving contest at work. Her’s is spooky…ish

Halloween is my blogging anniversary. This is my third Halloween. I re-read my first blog and it was a sad thing indeed. I’ve learned one or two things since and hope to learn and grow even more with your help of course. Every time I thought I should give it up, one of you cheered me on.

They glow and make noise if you jiggle the battery box. Spooky?  eh. Not so much

They glow and make noise if you jiggle the battery box. Spooky? eh. Not so much

This year was going to be different. I decorated the outside of my new/old home. My daughter loves Halloween and really gets into it so we made a trek to the Halloween store and picked up many things to put in my yard. It was the first time ever to decorate outside. I got out all the cute things I had for inside the house but they were never put into place.

reaching from the grave. Is it at all spooky?

reaching from the grave. Is it at all spooky?

You know that phrase “make plans and watch God laugh”? Well the heavens opened up with a belly laugh. I’m not home for Halloween this year. I’ll be painting all day on my son’s halls and stairwell. Let me tell you, if I hand out candy after a day of painting, I’ll scare everyone, not just the kids.

We hung orange lights so  the skeleton wasn't scared at night. It's spooky out there in the dark.

We hung orange lights so the skeleton wasn’t scared at night. It’s spooky out there in the dark.

Bedrooms and molding also have to be painted hopefully before the appraiser comes by. I’ve packed a few more boxes and held up lighted mirrors as he screwed them to the wall. I let in the contractors that put in the new counter top and sinks in the master bath taking photos so he could see the process while at work. Someone will have a beautiful master bath that has not been used yet. We are expecting hoping for a flawless escrow and to be out of here by Dec 1.

Those chains on that little fence won't scare me. How about you?

Those chains on that little fence won’t scare me. How about you?

My son will be at work till late on Halloween. (Not bad for a guy that was just laid off from a job) He’s doing freelance to keep paying the bills and so far it’s working. That’s spooky if you ask me. Having a huge mortgage and no job. Somehow, everything just keeps working out. He’s in escrow without a realtor. Yes, that’s scary too.

Here is something that really spooks me. Especially when I don't see them ahead of time. Creepy crawlies.

Here is something that really spooks me. Especially when I don’t see them ahead of time. Creepy crawlies.

My daughter and sister will be at my house handing out candy to the kids that brave the rain. I’ll be sitting out front with the rest of the neighbors here in the warm dry weather. There has been no significant rain here in the last year. That’s scary but not spooky. My daughter made her costume this year herself. The hat she wears all the time to start conversations was the starting point. You can barely see the earrings hanging from the horns. I’m tickled with the whole look of it.

She's quite proud of the final look. Me too. Can you tell she's part Swedish?

She’s quite proud of the final look. Me too. Can you tell she’s part Swedish?

She even decorated the backpack she uses every day on the train.

She even decorated the backpack she uses every day on the train.

I would never have thought of all this.

I would never have thought of all this.

Not much really spooks me anymore. How about you? What spooks you?

Happy Spooky Halloween.

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

In Search of a Cheery Halloween – Addendum

Just wanted to let you know I finally got it done. It wasn’t easy since the dizziness was full tilt this week for some unfathomable reason, so concentrating or seeing what I was sewing was extra hard. Not one to ever give in, I finished it yesterday and went in search of a ribbon to hang it from the dowel. I walked all the way to the quilt store, really only a half mile each way, only to find they were closed on Mondays. Why did I not remember that? So I trudged back to my second floor apartment with the groceries I figured I may as well get while I was out. Are you feeling sorry for me yet? No need. The sun was out and the leaves were blowing in the breeze. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day.

So this morning I went through my stash knowing full well I had neither black nor orange ribbon. But low and behold, I found something that would work. I’ve made this little design before for a friend with a Halloween birthday. I’m learning something each time I make it. I have one ready to finish for another friend but it will have to wait a bit. Nothing fancy but festive for the season. Machine embroidery is so much quicker than hand embroidery and I got to do a bit of stitching in the ditch to quilt it. I’m now officially ready for the trick or treaters.

Home Sweet Home, Bats and all

You gotta love ric-rac

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. ~Josh Billings

From my heart to yours,
Marlene

In Search of a Cheery Halloween

Wow! It’s hard to believe that I started this blog one year ago on Halloween. I was lamenting back then on how it just wasn’t my favorite holiday for many reasons. I didn’t grow up with Halloween. I was 11 on the first one and 13 on the last one. Now my kids, they made Halloween fun for me. They had homemade costumes, trick or treating for candy. We didn’t have decorations but loved seeing them everywhere.

Growing up I remember my parents celebrating the German version of Halloween but it was for adults. Kids got a babysitter. That was usually me. At least my parent’s version of it went that way. It was called Fasching which is like Karnaval or Mardi Gras. A lot of dressing up and partying. It starts November 11 at 11:11 a.m. and ends at midnight on Shroud Tuesday. Different parts of Germany celebrate it differently. It’s no longer the holiday it was originally but then, none are.

Much later in life when I was married to my last husband, I started taking decorative painting classes because the things being painted were just too cute for words. He had grandchildren that I adored so we still did a bit of Halloween. I put these out each year when possible. I’ve decorated my new apartment even though the children apparently don’t trick or treat around here. It seems the few children who live here, go to functions for their tricking and treating. It puts me in a festive mood when I come in the door. What do you think?

Here are the characters I painted.

I gave up filling it with candy since I ended up eating it.

Smily pumpkin face at each end

Witchy Poo now spends most of her time at my daughter’s house.

Frankie now has flowers instead of candy backing him up.

Come in if you dare. The pumpkins are organic 🙂

Adding a touch of class by the door

Scary has never worked for me. I go for cute since I’m a fraidy cat. I don’t do scary movies either. Wouldn’t you just know it. Decorations by the front door were given to me or from the thrift store. There is a sewing project on my table that may make it for Halloween, just not for my post.

Happy Halloween everyone.
From my heart to yours,
Marlene