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Posts tagged ‘spring’

What Spring?

It’s here, technically. Too warm to snow must mean spring. April showers and all that stuff. Well, we have had plenty of those. We had our wettest March on record and April has been no slouch. Our flowering trees didn’t.

Add high winds to that rain and you have a disaster in the making. My neighbor directly across from me has lost a major portion of her back yard and the two on either side of her have lost quite a bit as well. When I finally got a look at it, I was thinking a moving truck was in order immediately. Somehow, everyone there seems comfortable sleeping at night. The management, landscape and work crews from the park as well as the owner are here almost every day to check and see if anything has changed. There are no trespassing signs up and plastic fencing to keep everyone away. I didn’t get a photo being too stunned by what I saw. The buck is being passed around quite liberally.

High winds took down the fountain and brought someones metal roofing into my yard.

Two doors down from the major portion of the slide I noticed a rather tall tree that I don’t think had been leaning before taking direct aim at the house where an infirmed woman lives with her grandson. I was concerned. So I did what I could. I talked to the neighbor that knows everyone and everything. She said she would mention it to one of the work crew. I watched the tree as our April winds picked up and lo and behold, there was the entire entourage from park owner, management and crew watching as a professional outfit dressed to tackle the job. I have to admit, I got very little done that day other than watching the process. An old friend’s words came back to me as I watched, “You can’t beat a man at his own game.” The professional tree trimmer made short, safe work of the project.

My friend, Emily was coming over to organize fabric with me and I had to admit to my preoccupation with watching the poor tree come down. I hate to see trees get cut but this one had clearly lost its footing and was possibly going to hurt several people.

This week was a bit more productive. My friend, Sabine brought me a Forsythia bush she had started from one of hers and some ground cover. It took all day for me to carry buckets of heavy, wet clay out of a hole to the top of the terraces so I could plant the shrub. I got my exercise that day. The ground is a soggy mess with no drainage. I’ve added amendments and quality soil to give it a good start. The climbing rose bushes I dug out by the front steps last fall have oddly survive the serious neglect they got before going into more of that miserable clay in the back. The two lower terraces have been weeded, and hydrangea’s trimmed up.

 

In between my naps, visits with friends, and some organizing, I somehow got a baby blanket made getting some of baby girl flannel out of my tubs and to good use. I also was able to celebrate my daughter’s birthday with her at a new Tea Shoppe. They were very nice but the food left something to be desired. I was just happy we could spend the day together before she headed to the beach with friends.


So how is your spring shaping up? Is the cold hanging on or is it being skipped for shades of summer already?

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” ~ Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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Seeing

It’s been too long but I see the light! Winter is a favorite time of year…usually. This year was long, dark and exceedingly wet. I’ve plodded along trying to summon up the energy to do things. My friend and fellow blogger at incahootswithmuddyboots.com came by to cheer me with signs of spring from her yard.

First signs of spring from my friend

The struggle with my vision has really slowed things down. I finally wised up and went back to the optometrist. My glasses that are eight months old were not working and I was scared. “Well no wonder” he says. “You’ve lost a whole diopter of vision since this last prescription.” Now I have no idea what a diopter really is even after my son explained it to me. “What caused it” I asked? He seemed to think it was because of excessive dry eye. That eye doesn’t blink as well as the other and leaks tears since the onset of Bells Palsy 7 years ago. Why am I losing so much vision now?

I bought 5 of these for my sewing group as a Christmas gift. This is mine finally finished.

The back is pink, not my favorite color but it’s cheerful.

It’s possible the C-pap machine that blows wind in my face all night might be drying out the eye if I’m not keeping it well closed in my sleep. I didn’t think that could be the answer so I made another appointment with an ophthalmologist and she verified that the eye was indeed quite healthy and quite dry.

So onto finding solutions. I put in a gel at night for better lubrication and have an eye mask to cover the eyes. My son’s ex-wife saw something online that she thought would help and I checked it out. This morning on my trip to town for lunch with friends, I stopped at the sleep study center and asked if they had it or could they get it for me. In 15 minutes, they saved me the more than $100 and handed one over after a fitting. I practically danced out of the office. No more wind in my face all night. Granted, it’s not terribly attractive but I’m hoping it fills the bill.

The wind is at the top of the head with this one.

So the second pair of glasses that were made a few weeks ago works quite well for distances but I can’t read the computer with them. Back to the old pair when I’m on the laptop. The optometrist will try to come up with another prescription that works better for both. It’s frustrating but there’s still so much I want to do, read and write. Vision seems essential to those desires.

I’ve been working on this forever it seems. Now comes the quilt around it.

In the meantime, the clutter has continued to be cleared. All of the industrial shelving from my son’s storage unit were sold and are gone from the yard. I am continuing to pare down but have found it’s a good idea to go through the boxes carefully before donation. I found a whole bundle of embroidery patterns that I bought almost 10 years ago for over $60. Everything else in the box went, the patterns are now being lined up to work.

I’ve managed to get a few other things done.

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So how are you seeing this time of year? Signs of spring or signs of autumn becoming more clear? Are you starting to perk up or wind down?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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A Cure for the Blahs

It’s almost the middle of February! Where the heck did the time go? And where has everyone been? Like myself, so many other bloggers that I follow have been curiously absent. After the holidays, and the push to get my place livable again, I found myself sitting in my chair in the den after waking up in the morning and staying there till it was time to feed the body. I read, watched some news, always in fast forward with the sound off until they came to something that didn’t make my blood pressure rise and then I was tired and took a nap. It was a bad routine of sitting and barely motivating myself to read much less write a post.

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

Research was necessary. I found my journals from previous years and discovered  there was a pattern. The after Christmas letdown. Some years it was like I had gone into hibernation. When you don’t have a job, it’s easier to do but I think the need was there even when I was working. Retirement age makes hibernation easy. It seems so many are struggling with a lethargy from the post-election time through the holiday until the first signs of spring peaks through.

A new book to cheer me on.

A new book to cheer me on.

I’ve been sending out e-mail and cards to blogging friends and other friends to check on them. I learned years ago that the quickest way to feel better was to reach out to others. Many of us get caught in a rut and don’t know which way to go next. We feel…blah.  My friend at Gardening Nirvana must have had the same idea.

Today started out slow again with good intentions. You know what they say about good intentions and the road to hell being paved with them. By mid-afternoon I forced myself out of my chair to the top of the terraces in order to bury more green waste. I had planned a walk that didn’t happen so instead I grabbed the rake and shovel. After digging two large holes and burying the green waste, I raked a great deal of the debris that had fallen from the trees in the last wind and rain and snow storms this winter. That’s pretty good exercise for me. Getting ready to invite spring. Then I noticed spring was popping up its little head. I’m thinking that spending more time out there will smack the blahs right in the tush and get me moving again.

The blueberry bush was a gift from my friend that also blogs at “incahootswithmuddyboots”

 

Are you coming out of the winter blahs or do you just power through without a problem?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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In Search of a Slower February

Another month gone! Where did it go? One moment I was looking at the beginning of it thinking of all the possibilities it had to offer, and the next breath I took left me stunned in wonderment. What the heck happened to all that time? I realize February is shorter than most but does it have to speed up? I won’t ask anyone who lives along the east coast or mid-west that question? They are probably ready to have February zip on out.

February calendar courtesy of my friend at in cahoots with muddy boots.

February calendar courtesy of my friend at in cahoots with muddy boots.

The weather went from this:

Winter in my Portland back yard.

Winter in my Portland back yard.

to this:

Another view of winter in my Portland back yard. Any questions?

Another view of winter in my Portland back yard. Any questions?

My son is fully ensconced in his tiny room where he works and sleeps. We squeezed real hard. I’ve had to compact my ample supply of stuff too. Fortunately, Tech support (my son) came with a bonus. Somehow, he ended up with the shelves that came out of my sewing room in Arizona. I didn’t much care for them in that small room but since they were available, may as well make use of them. So I sanded them and painted them white to disappear into the walls. I had plenty of leftover paint.

There is one valuable lesson I learned in this process. Even though I was outside, the dust from some of the sanding blew back at me and left me snizzeling, sneezing and coughing for several days. It hasn’t been pretty. But the two shelves that are already up are pretty…useful.

I did 4 of these. 2 longer than the other.

I did 4 of these. 2 longer than the other.

There is less clutter on my workspace and I’ve found things I had misplaced to keep it from getting lost. Go figure. My organization is so much better and will continue to do so as we get the other two shelves up and then build shelves for the closet. It’s been fun except for the snizzeling part.

Shelf on one side of sewing room ready to load up

Shelf on one side of sewing room ready to load up

Using wasted space and helps with insulation.

Using wasted space and helps with insulation.

2 more ready to put up. Want to drop by for tea? This is my living/dining room floor!

2 more ready to put up. Want to drop by for tea? This is my living/dining room floor!

We spent one day this week meeting with a fellow blogger from Portland. When I saw her photographs and all the places she had been, Tech Support and I had to meet and ask her as many questions about the hiking/riding trails and photography as possible over one meal. She has been blogging so much longer than I have and we had a delightful visit. Check out Conscious Engagement’s wonderful photographs here. She gifted me with a few in magnetic sleeves for the fridge.

These look wonderful on her blog.

These look wonderful on her blog.

Tech Support is eager to get on the trails as the scenery here draws one out the door. That’s as far as I want to go but he bought a bicycle to ride since Portland is such a bike friendly area with lots of trails. In the search for a bike, he made the acquaintance of this cute fellow that wandered into the bike shop and never left. The owners call him Shop Rag and he goes up to everyone and greets them hello. Checking for treats is my guess. I’ve never met such a friendly cat towards strangers.

T.S and Shop Rag in the bicycle shop the cat runs.

T.S and Shop Rag in the bicycle shop the cat runs.

Shop Rag really runs the bike shop and certainly owns that sunny strip of floor.

Shop Rag really runs the bike shop and certainly owns that sunny strip of floor.

That’s only part of the things that made this month fly by. I think we are all ready to say goodbye to winter. The wind is blowing cold today with a fooling sunny day. I’m certain in the months to come, I’ll wish for another taste of winter, but for now I’ll enjoy the new view.

I wish they were in my yard but they are a few houses up.

I wish they were in my yard but they are a few houses up.


first flowers of spring in back yard. I don't even know what they are called,

first flowers of spring in back yard. I don’t even know what they are called,


New buds on the Hydrangea. Hooray for spring

New buds on the Hydrangea. Hooray for spring

Did February fly for you or did it slog on at a snails pace?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Pink Snow?

Spring has sprung in our little corner of the world. Winter tried to keep its grasp teasing us while we tried to decide whether a coat or a light jacket were in order. Layers are the operative word of this month. Pile it on so you can take it off. Ok, get your minds out of the rain-soaked gutters.

I’ve been a busy girl on some days. Other days I have done next to nothing. The nothing days were for observation; my favorite kind of day. Last week was my second physical therapy appointment. Wet and gray the day was not lending itself to anything cheery. I kept my head down to keep my glasses dry except to cross the street. I found out I cannot do parking structures anymore with my vision difficulties. I’m nauseous before I’m parked so I get to walk a bit more. When I looked out across the sea of cars I noticed the ground look as though covered with snow. I walked faster. Hmmm. The closer I got the deeper it looked. Oh my word, did I miss something? When I finally got a good look, the snow was…pink Yes, lots and lots of pink…blossoms. They covered every inch of ground blown or rained off the trees above. Too bad I only get to therapy once a month. I missed them on the trees. Darn!

Spring popping out through the pink snow

Spring popping out through the pink snow

it was an awesome view for me.

it was an awesome view for me.

Spring may be short this year. So many places miss it almost entirely. I knew it was here because the ducks were ducking. Quacking all over the place. Did you know ducks will eat the cat food left in the dishes on porches? No wonder they like going from apartment to apartment. On my walk back from the market the other day, I spotted these baby ducks scampering around. Mom was trying desperately to take a nap but there was so much interference. I worried about the chicks so close to the road. They did seem content to stay within beaks reach of mom.

You know how it is when you need a nap and the kids won't leave you alone.

You know how it is when you need a nap and the kids won’t leave you alone.

They are just too cute!

They are just too cute!

Looking for a dry spot

Looking for a dry spot

Now getting to the days I did do something; well here you go. I finished this quilt top I bought 5 or 6 years ago before I got Bells and could still sew. It was a kit and hadn’t realized it was so expensive but was too embarrassed to admit it was over my budget. I’m not a pink and blue kind of girl but loved the tea cups. Peach and blue are more my style but now I’m happy to have this part done with only the back, batting and quilting together to complete before binding. That will take longer than the top. What do I do with it when it’s finished? Maybe put it up for sale.

Love the teacups and satiny fabric, just not the colors

Love the teacups and satiny fabric, just not the colors

The next project was just a test of my endurance with the embroidery machine. This little number took at least 8 hours to complete the stitching. I tend to run the machine a bit slower in case of, well all kinds of problems. Especially if it’s the first time I’ve stitched out the design. The second time will be easier because I’ll know where the hiccups are. I’m still trying to decide how I will use this. Pillow, apron top or will it be a wall hanging?

Hoping the second time looks better but I loved the design

Hoping the second time looks better but I loved the design

Anyone want to put in their two cents worth? I’m open to suggestions. Have you found pink snow in your neighborhood?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of my Spring Project

It’s really here! The snow is gone but not the cold. We’ve had some lovely sunny days that had me out walking the area once it warmed a bit. Of course, walking warms everything but the nose and ears. I did four miles last Saturday looking for a mobile home community. I found it but it was filled with homes that had long since passed their expiration date and there was no yard space to make a nice garden. The more I look around at what I can afford, the better my rented apartment looks.

As the spring buds start to pop, I seem to finally be doing the same. Winter is so hard on those of us who are solar powered. Oregon is probably not the best place for me but I thought I could afford to live here. I may have to rethink that idea.

Seeing these made the 4 miles worth the walk.

Seeing these made the 4 miles worth the walk.

This bush is thinking about spring but not ready to commit.

This bush is thinking about spring but not ready to commit.

In the meantime, I’ve been inspired by the wonderful Boomdeeadda to make better use of what I have available.

These things will stay somehow. The rest will stay boxed for now.

These things will stay somehow. The rest will stay boxed for now.

These are in with the regular dishes for now. I can't put them all away!

These are in with the regular dishes for now. I can’t put them all away!

I have scrapbooking papers in my garage that I have not been able to get to in the last four years and four moves. Seeing the beautiful stuff she creates, I wanted to get my toys out to play with again. So the beautiful teacups were packed away for another time. I have been rummaging in the garage and organizing as I go. Much of what was in this old china cabinet will one day be passed on to my daughter or son. Maybe we can even make use of it once I find a real dining table. In the meantime, the cabinet will hold my crafting supplies as well as some sewing supplies as they tend to cross over their uses. In bringing out things from the garage, a great deal has made its way to the thrift store. Two trips so far this week and I still have a trip to the antique store to sell off some things I no longer have space to use.

Finally finished and up. Is it warm yet??

Finally finished and up. Is it warm yet??

I’ve done a bit of sewing to get a new spring sign made since I gave my sister-in-law the last one. This one is larger than I wanted but my attention to detail seems adrift these days. I used some different colors and fabric and put a binding on for a change. I have three more charity quilts to finish this month so there is no shortage of projects but the projects that make you clean and organize are the most productive and fulfilling. I’ll take a photo when the change is complete. My poor daughter is aware that her Sunday will be taken up helping me carry boxes up and down stairs. I bribe her with dinner out somewhere. We’ll both be too tired to cook.

I took a two mile walk this week in the mall since it was going to rain again, arriving early enough to catch something I’ve never seen before. Moms getting ready for spring too. I was walking too quickly to get a photo of moms gathered doing standing exercises by a little used entry with their little ones close by. The next trip around the mall brought enough awareness to capture this of the moms in front of Macy’s before the store opened. Later you could see them in a brisk walk with strollers and youngsters working to keep up.

I was floored! In front of Macy's no less

I was floored! In front of Macy’s no less

What a lovely, inexpensive way for young moms to get together and keep their children out of day care. I imagine there was a treat somewhere for the little ones after because they were exceptionally well behaved. They probably went home as tired as mom. I saw a few in their yoga pants passing through the book store as I sat sipping ice tea, perusing magazines and collecting yet another book. Yes, I’m embarrassed.

They were oblivious to the mall walkers. All that work before 10 a.m.

They were oblivious to the mall walkers. All that work before 10 a.m.

I know my friend at Gardening Nirvana has her spring projects all lined up. How about you? Is the hint of spring for those of you who are still suffering with the wild winter, bringing out a desire to start something to bring new bloom to your life?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Ray of Sunshine

The sun came for a visit but refused to unpack and stay awhile. The warmth felt good for the few days it stayed. Maybe father sun felt like just another guest. You know the kind that after three days starts to stink and you want it gone. I might feel that way in August, but not right now.

I had a good time while it made it’s grand teasing entrance. Walking everywhere I could, taking pictures of everything else that was enjoying the lovely spring weather. I stopped to watch the ducks for a few moments and being very quiet was given a genuine gift. I had mentioned the Nutria in an earlier post right after moving into this apartment complex but could never get a picture. This time I was rewarded as someone had spread seed on the ground for the ducks. Looks like several others were hungry too.

Nutria in the water, ducks resting in the middle and the mouse heading for seed at the bottom. Look hard.

Nutria in the water, ducks resting in the middle and the mouse heading for seed at the bottom. Look hard.

It’s a bit difficult to take a picture of anything while holding a cane but somehow I managed. If you’ve ever wondered how well a mouse can hear, each time the camera clicked, the mouse ran for cover. It’s a quiet camera. The only other mouse I saw was in an upstairs bedroom attached to the attic. Unfortunately, we had to trap the poor guy. He was too fast for my husband to catch. They can run up walls, by the way.

I see a vacancy there. Shall we check out the apartment?

I see a vacancy there. Shall we check out the apartment?

I am feeling better, most of the time, so what do I do with that extra energy? I signed up for a couple of writing classes that I’m truly enjoying. It’s a chance to meet new people and stretch myself. There are homework assignments so I’m getting behind on my blog reading and writing. Maybe by next week, I’ll have a better flow going.

I also managed to get my spring wall hanging made and hung outside the door. I texted a picture of it to my sister-in-law and she said it was going to fall in her suitcase when she comes for a visit in July. Looks like I’ll have to make myself another for next year. Now I need to work on one for Memorial Day and July 4th.

My sister-in-law loves humming birds. She'll hang it next spring.

My sister-in-law loves humming birds. She’ll hang it next spring.

I have also traced out the pattern for the next set of Big Shirts I want to make but those take some serious time. Don’t expect pictures any time real soon. You’ll see why.

How can a person be this busy without a job? Most of the busy is about getting well. Yes, I’m still sticking with the routine!

It takes both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow. ~ Unknown

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself