Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘Oregon’

Perfect Gifts

Birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day. The list goes on. It’s even Graduation time and wedding season. This is the time of year you hear from people that never call or write, inviting you to things they know you can’t attend. It is gift giving time.

I want for nothing. My cupboards are full to the brim and my children are at wits end when they want to gift me and the same is true in reverse. We are a nation of too much stuff looking for ways to pass it on to those that are in need. Most of us are more than generous in our sharing but what do we do about our desire to gift?

Maggie Magellan hard at work.

I have found the best gifts are those of experience. My daughter’s birthday was last month and I gave her the class schedule for adult community education. I suggested she pick something she wanted to try and I would pay for it for her birthday. She chose a watercolor class. It happened to be at the same time, in the same building as the memoir writing class I’ve been wanting to take. Each Monday night for 6 weeks we go to our separate classes together. Yay!

Who needs navigation. Just follow the car in front of you.

Mother’s Day just paid us a visit and my children know better than to buy me more things. My son used my audible points to buy two books I had on my wish list. Then he put the cash in my checking account. I found a use for it.

Mother’s Day was a quandary for my daughter. She called me and said we needed a beach day. She made reservations for two nights with a great motel discount from work. It was cool, grey and internet was sketchy. Couldn’t have been better. I loaded the cooler with food for dinner and off we went through Tillamook to Newport and Nye Beach. The money my son put in my checking account gave me a bit to buy some cheese and jam at a great place along the way in Tillamook as well as ice cream at the creamery. We played all the way there and just chilled on the beach barefoot. Now that’s a good gift. So is listening to a favorite book in bed after wearing myself out walking in the ocean.

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I have a grandniece who just had a birthday earlier this month. At 18 and ready to graduate, I no longer knew what she would enjoy since we rarely connect. Smart girl that she is; with a generous heart, she posted a link to her Facebook page to donate to her local animal shelter directly. I didn’t even know you could do such things! I hope there is something similar for her graduation gift. I don’t know them well enough to pick something out.

Tillamook Creamery. Cheese and Ice Cream along with some learning

Sylvia Beach House high on the hill. Each room named for a different author. A favorite of mine.

I prefer handcrafted gifts but they are not very popular with young people. Since I’m so swamped with too much on my plate again, I’ll beg you all for ideas. My brain is on hiatus and gave no forwarding address. What do you do for such difficult gift giving situations? I’m open to all suggestions. Especially inexpensive ideas.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

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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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

In Search of the Combination

My daughter and I had a girl’s day hanging out in our favorite metaphysical bookstore last Saturday. New Renaissance is located in downtown Portland, Oregon. Or is it uptown? We could spend days there but that would be a very expensive venture.

We started out spending some time with one of their readers, just for some fun. Don’t go shaking your heads now. I take everything with a grain of salt but this young lady was pretty good for someone so young. My daughter and I had plenty to giggle about and that was well worth it.

As I perused the books for a few moments before we headed out for linner, (lunch/dinner) a book jumped off the shelf at me. Now I don’t need another book, but this one was insistent. I certainly didn’t need another writing book as I have a minimum of 108. I’m a little slow to learn.

This is my combination so far.

This is my combination so far.

I also picked up the book written by the woman who was giving the evening seminar we were to attend, “Intuitive Healing” by Marie Manuchehri. I had hoped to have it autographed. There were too many people waiting so we gave up and called it a night after the seminar. Yes I’m a bit out there. I’m sure this was not your first clue. You have to cut me a little slack here.

February 11 marks a full three years with the debilitating remnants of Bells Palsy. I’m looking for answers everywhere and anywhere. It should have been gone by now. There has to be a reason it’s not, so the search is still on.
I tend to absorb books more than read them. Like this writing book which has stayed by my side since the first moment I opened it. It combines my primary interests; writing, healing and spirituality.

By the time I read to page three of the first chapter, I was moved to tears. Janet Conner writes of her Covenant. They are vows to herself that she will not break. I’m hoping for some changes in my writing as has felt a bit stilted and shallow. I have waited to post anything because I didn’t like anything I wrote.

It brought me back to my practice of morning pages that Julia Cameron writes about in “The Artist’s Way”. I actually took a 12 week workshop on it doing one chapter at a time. My copies of Julia Cameron’s books are unfortunately still in boxes in the garage.

artistsway (2)

Writing is the most healing thing I have done. When I read Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life” it said that Bells Palsy was a manifestation of extreme control over anger and unwillingness to express feelings. Yup, that was me, the people pleaser. So paper is where I blow off steam and process loss. It’s less messy. Right now, I have nothing left to be angry about. Not even Bells Palsy. It was a gift. I’m hoping to get more from this book and others. It seems to be what I have to do at this moment in time.

I have 3 copies of this well worn book.

I have 3 copies of this well worn book.

Do you have any books that helped you with your writing or your life that I may not have heard of yet? I obviously have nothing but time right now.

“Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. . . .Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: You are accepted.” Paul Johannes Tillich

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Little Peace and Inspiration

I’ve been lazy this week or maybe it’s just sagging motivation.

Next weekend I get to move into my own apartment. You can’t even imagine how excited I am after living for the last year on family member’s futons or sofa beds. The lack of major responsibilities has aided in the healing process. People who have not seen me in the last year remark how much better I look and sound. Their observation reinforces that there is still hope for complete recovery from two and a half years with Bells Palsy. The last doctor I saw gave me no hope.

Last weekend my daughter drove the two of us to the Newport Beach here in Oregon. I’m specific because I know there is one in California. We made a quick stop for hugs in Albany at my niece’s and then visited several quilt shops in the surrounding area for a little quilting inspiration. I found a Christmasy Log Cabin quilt on Pinterest that I’m anxious to start. It amazes me that each quilt shop is so very different. Albany has a less than inspirational store. Lebanon and Corvallis, Oregon had bright, cheery places with lots of finished quilt items and fabric to inspire for years to come. I believe they reflect the owners taste in quilts and fabric choice. The quilt shop in Newport Beach was almost not worth the stop unless you are looking for a little beach themed fabric.

The first place I wanted to visit in Newport was the Sylvia Beach Hotel. I had the pleasure of staying there once several years ago. It’s technically a bed and breakfast that also serves dinner if you want it. Every room is named after a different writer. The dinner menu is listed as “Chapters”. There are books available to borrow if for some odd reason you forgot to bring one and there are quiet places to sit and read or to do your own writing. It sits right on the edge of the beach so the sound of the surf will lull you to sleep each night or sit and peacefully write your next chapter of your own book or life.

Newport happened to be cloudy and quite cool as we took off shoes and socks to walk along the beach. I watched as my feet would sink down into the sand but as soon as I lifted it, the footprint disappeared. It was as though I had not even been standing in that spot. The earth has a way of showing us how fleeting we are on it. I chose not to spend the money for the Sylvia Beach Hotel this time though my free night at the La Quinta was more than comfortable.

Maybe after I’m all done paying the expenses of another move, I will save enough to spend a week there. It’s a good place to find both, peace and inspiration. Even one quiet day and night at the beach can do that. For me, peace has been essential to healing while inspiration is essential to life itself. We all find both in different ways. How do you find your peace and inspiration?

“Inspiration is God making contact with itself.” ~ Ram Dass

From my heart to yours,
Marlene

In Search of Kindness to Animals

My first stop on the trek back to where I want to call home was Albany, Oregon. My niece and great-nieces live there. It had been almost a year since my last visit and there were lots of changes in their lives as well. Albany is a small town an hour south of Portland. Like many other cities and towns, it is showing the signs of economic distress.

After spending the night in a motel in town, my niece allowed us to tag along with her and her girls to a favorite yearly city function. It’s a street fair raising money and awareness for animal rescue and shelters. My niece’s home has its’ own rescued dog. She is a sweet Pit Bull mix that loves everyone. Too bad they have such a bad reputation because most of the Pit mixes I’ve met are absolutely endearing.

Sweet, sweet Amy

What I loved was that a good portion of the town was in attendance to help. It demonstrated real community in action. This brought tears to my eyes, and was part of the reason I felt Oregon had to be home for me. That day had me missing my little dog more than usual, though I’m happy she didn’t have to endure the moving around I’ve done this last year since her passing. Dogs love unconditionally. We need to step up and Albany was doing just that.

Dogs and neighbors getting to know each other

I noticed also was how well all the dogs got along. Big, little, fluffy and sleek; they all said hello to each other with a friendly sniff. Why can’t we be that nice to each other? Not one growl in the bunch. It would be really nice not to need an animal shelter. Maybe one day that will be the case. Right now, this little town has stepped up to do what it can to bring the community together and take care of their furry friends. Animals can’t help themselves. It’s up to us to be responsible. Don’t even get me started on neglect or abuse of animals. I have Animal Control on speed dial in each city I live in or visit.

getting aquainted

Each morning while I have my first cup of coffee and read my e-mail, I click on the Animal Rescue site to donate food for the animals. It’s free and something anyone can do with only a computer click. I like to spread the word. Most of us are kind and caring of our pets. When you see the love expressed in the eyes of any animal, how can it be any different. Yet, the neglect and abuse remains prevalent, especially in light of so many no longer being financially able to care for their pet. Is your town stepping up to the plate and how?

http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

~ Mohandas Gandhi

From my heart to yours,
Marlene

In Search of Snow

The drive to Oregon gets really beautiful just after you are out of Redding, California. I always spend the night in Redding so I can truly enjoy the scenery after being rested and wide awake. It was especially beautiful since I was finally heading to where I want to call home.

The Mount Shasta area can be so breathtaking with trees climbing the ridges on both sides of interstate 5. I’ve done that trip so many times now; some by myself with my little dog looking out the window and enjoying the view. Twice with my daughter who did the driving for me and this last trip was with my son. He had always flown but this time he drove my car and the rented trailer back to Oregon. It was his first view of the spectacular scenery. This time I noticed something. Mount Shasta had almost no snow. It was all but bare.

I love this view

I realize its summer but I’ve traveled this stretch in summer before and the snow on the peak was always breathtaking. The water levels have also been lower each time I’ve passed over the lakes of Shasta,. Lack of snow on Mount Shasta is the sign of even lower water levels for the region. Maybe this winter can turn things around for them. I certainly hope that is the case. Snow means water.

Another angle of Mount Shasta

I have to admit that I gave up on living in snow the year I came down with Bells Palsy. In the mountains of Arizona at 7200 ft., we would usually get around three feet of snow spread out through the winter season. The winter of 2010, we had six feet most of which was dumped on us in one night. I spent days shoveling after our canopy over the truck, jeep, tractors and miscellaneous tools collapsed on them. It took a bull dozer to dig us out. I didn’t care to ever see snow after that winter.

Multiply this snow by three and that’s what brought that canopy down the next winter.

Somehow, in all the moving, I’ve lost the photos of that epic snowstorm. Maybe they will still turn up.

We had an epidemic of shingles outbreak that winter which is the same dormant virus that causes Bells Palsy. Many alternative practitioners say the cold and wind have a lot to do with the dormant virus becoming active. Add the stress of an unusually hard winter or other stressors, and you have a breakdown of the immune system.

Oregon gets cold and wet; but there is no shoveling required. I prefer to leave that now to the younger generation. I like to visit the snow or pass by it from a good distance. It’s vital to our lives. I’m sad to see Mount Shasta so barren. Is there any hope of turning things like this around?

I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defence of our resources is just as important as defence abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend? – Robert Redford

From my heart to yours,
Marlene