Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘Health’

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

 

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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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 Better Balance

Have you noticed my posts getting farther and farther apart? I’ve been feeling quite badly about it but can’t afford to stress even a little. I mentioned a few posts back that I had taken on a bit more these days than previously. As the winter weather let go its icy grip, signs of life showed up in my apartment in a big way.

Note at mailboxes said "Can’t get myself down the stairs but the first one than can will get to take me home from #2048." It worked.

Note at mailboxes said “Can’t get myself down the stairs but the first one than can will get to take me home from #2048.” It worked.

My daughter helped me pull out several large boxes of craft materials from the far reaches of my garage. I rent a garage to store things so as not to be too cluttered up here. Riiight! One of the boxes was from a new toilet if that gives you any idea of the size. When I moved out of my home 4 years ago, we pretty much tossed stuff in boxes and hoped for the best. I wasn’t in the best of shape then. The other box was almost that large and I have found several boxes of old photos as well. Have you ever started looking at photos and been able to stop? I spent a whole week going through, sorting a bit and tossing a lot of duplicates.

No more tea cups for this cabinet. Still hunting paints and glue gun. Have glue!!!

No more tea cups for this cabinet. Still hunting paints and glue gun. Have glue!!!

With all the joining I have done to make friends in my new home, I’ve overloaded myself a bit with classes and projects. I’ll have some photos of the finished work shortly. Little by little, I’m starting to find how much I can do and what needs to be eased off from. Setting limits is something new for me.

This replaced the recliner in my bedroom. Put it together myself but took a few adjustments. Still WIP here.

This replaced the recliner in my bedroom. Put it together myself but took a few adjustments. Still WIP here.

But the kind of balance I’m talking about here has more to do with my Bells Palsy than my creative endeavors. Since acquiring health insurance this year, I have the opportunity to get some medical assistance for the balance. A new acquaintance at the quilting group let me know my HMO had vestibular integration therapy available. The first job was to get a different primary care doctor. The last one was quite dismissive. That done, I requested some therapy to get my eyes working together again which in turn, helps with my standing balance. If I’m in a dark room, I start to tip over and closing my eyes, well let’s just say that’s a dangerous move when standing.

After a trip to a neurologist, (the third one in four years) I was allowed to get physical therapy for my balance. I have exercises to do twice a day. Some are standing holding onto my kitchen counter for support. (I don’t have a chair) The rest are sitting and turning my head and looking up and to the side that is unaffected. I’ve found I must do these when I don’t have to drive anywhere. Oddly, they add to the dizziness but I’m going to do whatever I can to get well.
Even after four years, I am noticing movement in some parts of my face that was flaccid and I can almost make a complete smile. Still a bit odd-looking but hey, I’m happy with any improvement.

Flowers from my new friends garden. Made me feel better immediately.

Flowers from my new friends garden. Made me feel better immediately.

Funny how much I took for granted before Bells hit like a hammer. Unfortunately, healing of any nature still requires lots of rest. I’m not a fan. Moving and doing have been how I lived in the world, now I rest a whole darn bunch. Hang in there with me a bit longer. We shall see how effective these exercises are.

Have you ever taken your health for granted and wound up with a major wakeup call? Do you believe your health is connected to your emotions and what’s going on in life or just something that happens?

A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.
~
Hippocrates

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Optimism

We are getting a whole new year. At least I hope it’s a whole one. I’m looking for a better one than the last. Not that the last year was awful, just…challenging. Apparently it shows up in my writing.

My stories for our memoirs class had a run of sadness to them. The instructor asked me point blank if I always saw the glass half empty. I just looked at her and shook my head no. Of course my face was frozen up from the stress of reading my story, so speaking elaborately wasn’t an option. As they proceeded on to the next story reader, I thought to myself, “Sure, I see the glass as half full all the time. Someone just shot the damn glass full of holes”. My optimism leaks out and is replaced with pragmatism. I read “Mark and Angel“, “Abraham-Hicks”, “Tut from Mike Dooley”, and everyone else that has something positive to say daily.

This is my computer wallpaper

This is my computer wallpaper

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what optimism really is. The online dictionary said this is the definition: “A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.” That’s what my daughter does. She’s been out of work twice this year and after a month, she can’t pay the rent or anything else. I want to be optimistic, I really do, but this is not looking like a short term problem. She was out of work for two years before finding temp work. That’s all she has had for the last year and a half, temp work. What is the best way for me to be helpful? It’s very tricky. When people I love are struggling, it causes me to feel stressed with them and it affects my outlook.

I’ve been looking for the last year for a home to purchase. There is very little available in my price range. They showed me a lovely place where the bedrooms must all be passed through to get to the bathroom and had no foundation. The realtor got really frustrated with me for turning it down. I couldn’t afford to rebuild it. I’m optimistic that the right place in my budget is out there and my daughter will find a real job that she likes. I’m optimistic that my son will find work in this area that pays what he makes in Los Angeles. Ok, maybe not as optimistic as I’d like to be on that one. I’m optimistic that this will be the year I get well enough to drive where ever I want to go. Health will no longer elude me.

it's too big and expensive but a girl can dream, can't she?

it’s too big and expensive but a girl can dream, can’t she?

I’m optimistic that 2014 will bring us all the good we have all been looking for. Are you an optimist or like me, more pragmatic? Has your glass been shot full of holes as well? What are you expecting from this New Year? Whatever it is, I wish you the very best 2014 has to offer.

Don't know where this came from but it resonates

Don’t know where this came from but it resonates

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Little Fun

Last weekend I asked my daughter to drive us to the small town of Mt. Angel about 30 minutes from my home. The town was at one time settled with Benedictine Monks and families from Bavaria giving it a Germanic flavor. This weekend was their Oktoberfest.

It could almost pass for Germany

It could almost pass for Germany

He was nice enough to pose. His hat said he's been to more places than I have

He was nice enough to pose. His hat said he’s been to more places than I have

I was not going for pretzels and beer though. My mission was for pickled garlic. I’ve been searching for some since I finished my last jars. I found, several years ago, that pickled garlic helped to naturally bring down my cholesterol numbers. Since mine runs high due to genetics and I refuse to take prescription drugs, I’m always looking for natural alternatives. Oddly, or maybe not, sugar also raises my triglycerides, so I’m working hard to keep that to a minimum as well. Once my 2 quarts of pickled garlic were procured, we proceed on to the rest of the festival.

It's hard to find good pickled garlic. This is good stuff

It’s hard to find good pickled garlic. This is good stuff

My daughter found local lavender honey and a silly crocheted hat.

She had more fun with this hat though in Portland, weird goes unnoticed.

She had more fun with this hat though in Portland, weird goes unnoticed.

The young woman selling honey for her friend, was wearing a top that reflected many colors in her eyes. I was so taken by how beautiful the soft sage green in her shirt brought all your attention to her eyes. The shirt neckline was banded by autumn orange and flecks of brown that were also reflected in her eye center. Her entire eye was rimmed in a soft warm blue. I mentioned to her how stunning the shirt was on her and we began a conversation that led to her wedding dress. My strong suggestion was to avoid stark white and lean toward ivory or creamy whites. She had the loveliest tanned skin tone and I suggested that she should paint her bedroom walls that color once she is married. For me, that was the most fun of the day. I love helping people find their most enhancing colors. She asked for my card to possibly ask for more color consulting regarding her wedding. Even though I no longer do it professionally, it’s still fun when I get the opportunity.

Mein hut. Finally a chance to wear it.

Mein hut. Finally a chance to wear it.

Then we took just a few pictures since there were so many people around. We came home early as my daughter’s Fibromyalgia makes walking a lot painful and I had what I came for primarily.

My day was capped off when I looked out over the balcony to see two of my neighbors out with their dogs. I had to take photos. They played so nicely together that I just had to smile for the rest of the day. Can you figure out which is Boomer and which is Charlie? What do you do for fun?

2 moms and their babies

2 moms and their babies

Can you figure out which is Boomer?

Can you figure out which is Boomer?

Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it. ~ Eileen Caddy

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Cure

There are so many fantastic food blogs out there and I have been following a few. It happened accidentally. Romancing the Bee is a mixed bag of wonderful information about bee keeping, gardening and amazing recipes using honey among other great topics.

Texana’s Kitchen was a find from another blogger. This lady is hilarious. I’m always learning something new from her as I dab tears of laughter from my eyes. She also has some very profound points of view that I enjoy.

One of my fellow writing class students writes a food blog for a local paper. I mentioned that I was not a foodie but would read it anyway. Then I find out that the phrase “foodie” is now an insult according to floreakeats. I found this through Texana’s Kitchen. Who knew?

Not only did I not consider myself a foodie, I’ve had a love, hate relationship with food my entire life. I love food, but since the age of 8, I’ve used food for comfort. It’s been my stress reliever and the cause of it.

Before I started my health routine

Before I started my health routine

Cooking food is also how I love others. I was never a great cook. I knew how to cook cheap and feed many. On my first date at 17, I didn’t even know how to cut the steak my date ordered for me. I’d never had one. No one ever got sick from my cooking and my kids liked most of it. It’s the kind of cooking my dad called “belly filling”. I learned from watching my mother cook. I make a few things very well but there isn’t much variety.

When my family first moved to southern California in the late 70’s, we moved into our first real house though it was still a rental. I got my first crack at gardening and I found great peace in being outside. Our next door neighbor was a genius at gardening. One afternoon, she came to the fence with a bowl of fresh strawberries and a container of whipping cream. I thanked her profusely, looking at the whipping cream and strawberries like they were foreigners. In fact, to me they were. I had never prepared fresh fruit of any kind nor seen real whipping cream. Thanks to her patient instructions, I soon became adept at making the luscious treat.

Taste buds are a requirement for good cooking. Mine are missing. For the first half of my life, food was often scarce. Spices were nonexistant. People wondered how I could eat stale popcorn, chips etc. It was easy. If I found it and it didn’t move away, I ate it. Yes, I’m an addict and I had treatment for it. There is appears to be no cure but I’m finally once again, getting a handle on it. My diet right now is minimal to keep the addictions at bay. I’m adding as much spice to my food as possible to fool my brain into thinking it’s getting wonderful stuff.

So much better, still a long way to go.

So much better, still a long way to go.

When my scale finally reads (HEALTHY), I might try a few of those wonderful recipes I’ve read. In the meantime, I love reading about wonderful food and enjoying it vicariously. Maybe one day we will be good friends again. Do you have a good relationship with food?

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”

Erma Bombeck

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself