Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘senior center’

In Search of a Rhodi

When I moved into my house last year it was the end of June and I had a lot to do. My back yard was starting to bloom and overrun with weeds but I had no idea what anything was out there and not much time to find out. We had a garden in California, much different from here in the Pacific Northwest and very little grew at our home in the mountains of Arizona. Our seasons on the mountain were snow, wind, fire and rain.

Mine bloomed just before the visit to the gardens

Mine bloomed just before the visit to the gardens

Can you see the big fat bumble bee in this one. It boomed after my trip. Who knew they could be so pretty.

Can you see the big fat bumble bee in this one. It boomed after my trip. Who knew they could be so pretty.

There were 4 or 5 bushes that did not that had no appeal for me. Turns out they were rhododendrons and peonies and they must have bloomed before I moved in. This year they finally bloomed so I could see what they looked like. Just in time, at least for a couple of them, for my field trip to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens.


In all the years I have come up to visit my sister, who incidentally lived within a couple of miles of this place, I had not known it was there. Thank goodness for our wonderful Senior Center. It was fun this way as we had a tour guide with a lovely German accent. She was 82 and a volunteer at the garden. She walked that entire garden with us and there was a LOT of walking.

All the gardeners are volunteers as well. According to Wikipedia, so I don’t get my facts incorrect:

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens are botanical gardens located between Reed College and the Eastmoreland Golf Course in southeastern Portland in the U.S. state of Oregon. The gardens, at Southeast 28th Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard, cover 9.49 acres (3.84 ha), and are named for Crystal Springs Creek, which flows along its western side. Crystal Springs Gardens feature more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and other plants in a setting of small lakes, paved and unpaved paths, fountains, and small waterfalls.[1]

In addition to the manicured areas that make up most of the gardens, patches of less orderly shrubs, upland forest, marsh vegetation, and submerged logs attract wildlife, especially waterfowl, most prevalent in winter. The Rhododendron Society has counted 94 species in the garden, including grebes, herons, ducks, Canada geese, wigeons, gulls, thrushes, nuthatches, hummingbirds, and others.[2]


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In addition to the lovely walk through the gardens, we stopped for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. I had a nice salad and then we were sent to wander the streets of nearby Sellwood in search of antique shops. Me, I found the craft store instead. Oh dear.

One last view of the water for that peaceful feel. Come for another visit anytime.

One last view of the water for that peaceful feel. Come for another visit anytime.

Do you have Rhodri’s in your garden and what’s your favorite of the colors? Have you taken any fun field trips lately?

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”
Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a New Story

For the first time in my life I am getting the opportunity to take a creative writing class. It’s at the senior center and I have become an early member at the ripe age of 63. I fit in quite nicely there with my silver cane and cautious step. They have been warm and kind even though I still find it hard to express myself verbally as the facial paralysis continues. That’s where the writing comes in.

Writing is something I have been doing for the past 25 years to preserve what sanity I had left. I know, it’s questionable as to the amount of sanity still available. I’ve never been a story writer per se but I love a good story. So many wonderful writers out there weave a web that draws me in and I can’t put the book down until I see what happens to the characters. I recently read a story of a woman whose husband had left her for someone younger. When that didn’t work out he came and tried to manipulate his way back into her life. I had decided then and there that if the writer had her heroine take back the louse, I would never read another of her books. Lucky for her the story turned out how I wanted it too. I was caught up as though I knew these people. That’s the kind of story I want to write. I want to find where my creativity and imagination have been hiding and bring them out to play. Daily journal writing documenting the chaos that is my life is what I do and in a way it’s a story. It’s a “just the facts ma’am” kind of writing that if I told the whole story it could make you laugh, cry and curl your hair. It’s a story that I will eventually need to tell in full.

Though I am without formal education, at my heart level I think I’ve always been or at least wanted to be a teacher. Now I am trying to use my words to teach. For the time being, my subject is Bells Palsy; how I’m trying to heal from it and the consequences of not heeding the bodies warning signs that something in life isn’t working. My life was out of balance and now my body is trying to get its balance back. Funny how that worked out. It would help a lot if the Bells Palsy hadn’t short circuited the pathway in my brain that helps me find words but slowly and with certainty, new circuits are forming and old circuits are healing. Sentences are coming quicker and writing anything helps that healing process.

I’ve written well over 20 volumes of the same old story of my life. When I hear others that I know continue to whine about their lives I think to myself; either do something about it or shut up already. I’m pretty sure my family and friends were thinking the same thing about me. Thank goodness I’ve finally turned the corner with that. These last two plus years have brought the greatest and most positive changes in my journal writing.

Now I write about the actions I’m taking, like signing up for the class or getting the sewing and needlework back out. I write about the house I want to buy when the house I still jointly own with my ex-husband is sold. No, I’m not holding my breath. I have written the description of every room down in detail. My cozy cottage has a welcoming and spacious covered front porch with several wicker chairs and small tables so my neighbors can come and sit; sip tea or wine while exchanging ideas and stories. There is a library in this house and a comfy white wicker desk and chair to sit at and write. The kitchen is optional. I’d prefer take out from the local health food store or just fresh fruits and veggies.

I believe we create the life we live with our thoughts, attitudes and actions. My thoughts become words and then they can become real things. My life so far has me really wondering what the heck I was thinking back then. Through my writing I want to create the most interesting and fun life ever. I want to tell you about all the places I have seen in the world and all the interesting people I have met. Will I ever be a real writer? I don’t have an answer to that though I would like that very much. That’s why I’m taking a class. What makes a writer real? At the end of the day, I guess it’s the need and desire to put words together to express ourselves in print. Each of us does it a bit differently. That’s what makes it so very interesting. Vive la difference!

The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home
. – John Campbell

From my heart to yours,