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Posts tagged ‘Thanksgiving’


I am not a fan of secrets. They can be very destructive. I do think we all keep secret; often about ourselves. In truth, very little can be kept hidden for long. There are plenty of novels based on that fact.

Thanks for visiting here

We kept a small secret for a couple of months here and it was very hard for me to do it. When you tell your secret to anyone else, and of course it often has to be shared, you risk the chance of it slipping out accidentally. Sometimes, you need an accomplice to be complicit in the secret to achieve your goal.

Peggy’s door wreath

When I was in Portland with my daughter last month, we were chatting about the holidays and birthdays. She has a big one coming up next year and her brother had a significant one coming up around Thanksgiving. Because he is a VERY private person, I’ll try to be mindful of details. We agreed that Christmas was not the time to travel to our mountain area as weather can be unpredictable. My daughter wanted to surprise her brother by flying up for the Thanksgiving holiday and his birthday. I had to share the secret with the cooks so they had an accurate head count.

Peggy’s wall hanging

There was a small Thanksgiving lunch at the Senior Center that was free to all that signed up. Even our families were allowed to participate. I signed up four of us but told my son we were just three attending the noon group so his wife could attend. The plan was to have my daughter slip out and be seated at our table and have him see her there. He walked right passed her as we went to sign in. He said there were three of us to the person in charge and she looked at her list. It said four. That took a bit of fancy dancing for a moment but I came back later to make sure we had the numbers right for her records.

The holidays are full of secrets so we can have surprises. We do it every year to some extent. It was definitely a surprise for my son. He had asked weeks earlier if there was a chance his sister would fly out for Christmas. I could honestly answer that the was not a chance of that happening. I didn’t have to lie, just avoid the whole truth. I didn’t get pictures so I’m sharing photos of my neighbor’s Thanksgiving decor with you instead. She really does the holidays up in style, also my depth of gratitude, mostly for my family.

Found on the internet somewhere. Books bind my family too.

The end of autumn is here and we are in full swing of secret season. Secrets take a lot of energy but the end result can be good or not so good.

What is your take on secrets and surprises.

There are no secrets that time does not reveal. ~Jean Racine

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Different Thanksgiving

This is the first Thanksgiving I have spent at the home of my son and his wife in way too many years. We will also be celebrating his birthday while we are here on the mountain in Arizona. He’s still busy working though; even after knee replacement surgery. Obviously, it went very well.

It took a while to get here. First a day’s drive to Redding, CA. Hot, dry and windy we headed out the next morning for the San Fransisco Bay area to visit for a few hours with fellow blogger, Alys and family. We had a lovely dinner together with a lot of chatting. I was privileged to view her garden up close. I could be jealous but I am always grateful for all I learn from her. Getting there was no party though. It’s California traffic after all.

The next night was Bakersfield, CA. There was so much dust and pollutants in the air the it was in the unhealthful range. I did have the best Cobb salad I’ve ever had anywhere. Then a night in Flagstaff to get acclimated slowly to the altitude. Even with oxygen, it left me huffing and puffing as I still am where my son lives. Thanksgiving dinner will be another 1000 ft higher. I won’t need wine.

Right now, I’m very grateful we made it here for a unique celebration of gratitude with family and their friends. Only eight of us but lots of food and I hope friendly conversation. I’m making Watergate for a side dish/dessert. My son’s favorite German dinner is the order of the day for his birthday. I’ll be the chef of the day for that meal.

The day I found out escrow had closed and I had to go sign papers on my house, I was having a lovely soup and salad with my quilting friend, Patti. Her son lives close by with his partner in life. They were away so Patti had to check the mail and house while we were out. She had to show me how her son’s partner had already set the entire dining room for their version of Thanksgiving. She apparently has a flair for making things very festive as their dinner will be including several friends without family. I was in love with it so I took copious photos.

How will you do your Thanksgiving?

I wish you all things good and much for which to be grateful.

From my grateful heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Thanks Giving

How did it get here already? I was up getting turkey, stuffing and rolls ready while others brought wine, potatoes and cranberries. The house is “company clean.” Tomorrow I rest.

I’ve said before the months from October through December fly faster than any months of the year. Thanksgiving means different things to each of us. I give thanks all year long, each and every day but this day is special. We gather; without regard to religion or ethnicity. We have a meal together and take a few moments to acknowledge our blessing of life.

This year we are also taking time to be thankful for the giving we can and have done. I’ve shared, donated and passed on so much and my daughter has followed suit. She has actually given away almost everything from her last apartment. Yesterday she donated her old car to the Humane Society here in Portland. It was costly for ads to sell it and in need of repairs. The car will be auctioned off. We don’t itemize so a deduction was never the reason for the donation. We truly want to help animals.

I also gave a lot of fabric to my friend Emily and she has done wonders with the beginning of it. She’s made some quilt tops with parts and pieces and added some of her own. Then she hands the tops off to our friend Patti, who sandwiches the quilts and ties them. Together they donate them to an organization that distributes them. Emily and Patti have very creative minds.

Pillow panel and backing fabric turned out cute

Sweet bears were languishing in a tub far too long.

Just so you know, Patti has a secret helper when she works on her part of the quilts. Olive does her part to make sure Patti appreciates her work and entertainment.

Olive helping Patti tie the quilt. Yes that’s a needle she is pulling on.

I am giving thanks that I have enough of everything that I can share with others.

I give thanks every morning that I’m here, breathing and able to still do a great deal for myself.

I give thanks for my wonderful supportive family and friends. And my list goes on.

Do you have a list of things to be thankful about giving?

You will all be busy today doing Thanksgiving things but Thanks Giving is more than just one day. Enjoy yours.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself








The Appearance of Old Age

My son came for a three-week visit across the Thanksgiving holiday this year rather than the Christmas holiday. I didn’t want a replay of last year’s fiasco of a three-hour drive to get 20 miles on icy snow. Pick up from the airport was much easier this time with just a bit of rain.


The last of fall is so beautiful

fall over

Fall is over but the work remains

He spent the first week here recuperating from the pneumonia he caught just before leaving his home. I made him Matzo Ball soup to help him get well faster. It’s what mom’s do. We enjoyed the last of the fall falling and had simple Thanksgiving plans. Gratitude runs deep in this house and it runs daily.

The day after Thanksgiving, his ex-wife joined us to celebrate my son’s 50th birthday. This is always a day of deep gratitude for me as his doctors were certain he would not live after he was born, and they said if he did, he would probably have brain damage. (some days, we still wonder) But he is here in all his glory, coming to celebrate growing older with his mother. It’s an odd feeling when your children have reached that mid-century mark. If he is old, what does that make me?

ur old

My daughter found these candles and we couldn’t resist.

He has spent the last of his time here with his sweet partner setting up the fake tree, clearing up some of the mess in the shed, putting up all my outside lights, scrubbing moss off my roof and cleaning out the gutters for a start. They work as a team and I cook to keep them moving forward.

Towel bars were tightened, lighting updated so I can see better, and a myriad of tiny chores were taken care of by the two of them. He has also rearranged my furniture…again.

tree up top

Getting down Christmas for old mom.

My son has a sweet tooth which he indulges when he comes home. He found an empty can that had contained almond toffee candy and I had no idea he even liked it. It was left from my sewing group and I kept the can to put bits and pieces in. Is this what old age can look like?

the can is empty

It’s empty! So sad!

He baked some cookies and we watched sappy Christmas movies together.

baking cookies

He followed the directions quite well.

cookies off the sheet

Taking cookies off the pan

They will be back later in the dry season to see if we can get a new roof on this place. I have an invisible shield over it this winter hoping to keep it from leaking through. So far, it’s working. Getting the moss off is a good start at helping.

next project

What’s the next project that needs doing?

elf in the house

We have an elf in the house doing Christmas chores but needs cookies first.

At what point do you decide someone is old? Do you believe in the old adage that you are only as old as you feel?


With age comes wisdom

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

An Apple

I sat in my chair eating an apple. It was in one hand, coffee mug in the other, and the mouse was on the arm of my chair so I could move it to read my computer with the fingers that were not holding the apple.

Then I realized I was not tasting the apple. I set down the coffee mug, already about empty at this time of the morning and looked at that apple. It was a lovely small, crisp, happy looking apple.

One of my favorite kinds of apples. The Fuji

One of my favorite kinds of apples. The Fugi


Awareness began to creep in. This apple had been off the tree for quite some time before it arrived on my plate with a purchased salad. I usually get the bread with my salad, not the apple. This apple had something to say. It was still alive even though it was away from the source that gave it life. At least for a while.

An old standard, the Red Delicious.

An old standard, the Red delicious.

We are much like the apple. When we are unplugged from the Source that gives us that spark of life, we can still be alive but not as fully as if we were still plugged in. That spark of life, if we aren’t connected somehow, starts a slow living death until we too start to rot, decompose and go back into the earth. Those that are more connected, seem to stay fresh longer. You’ve all seen people wander through life that look like they have no spark left. The luster is gone, the juices run dry and after a bit, no one wants what you have to offer.

The sweet Gala apples

The sweet Gala apples


That little apple did more than nourish my body; it gave my spirit a quick reminder to pay attention and look for what gives me my spark. That Source of my energy and creativity. Don’t misunderstand. It’s not about religion unless that’s what works for you. It’s about paying attention to life around you. I was multitasking and missing it all and will probably never look at an apple the same way.

Do you find you miss the details when multitasking?

Are you finding ways to plug into your spark?

Thank you for reading and wishing you all a very mindful and Happy Thanksgiving.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of an Update

So I lied. I was only going to do the one post this month. I just can’t hold it in any longer. It was probably one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve ever had.

I was asked to model the apron. It really looks better on the ironing board.

I was asked to model the apron. It really looks better on the ironing board.

No one noticed all the fancy placemats or decorations I had scattered around. They were invisible among the hugs and laughter of family coming together after a long absence. The whole day was a rush and a blur of food being brought in and prepared by different cooks each in turn. I had my part under control…well maybe not so much. My oven does not cook evenly so the turkey was done more on one side than the other but it had a lovely taste.

Dining and kitchen table pushed together and had an informal gathering.

Dining and kitchen table pushed together and had an informal gathering.

Board games were played before and after dinner. Some Zen Tangle and adult coloring books of intricate detail were brought out after. My daughter made sure everyone had something to do. My son copied and shared photos for some family members and the pots and pans were washed as used so after dinner, clean up was quick with many hands making the work light. With my family, my sister’s family, and my niece’s family here, all blended well and no one left hungry. There were few leftovers.

We did turn the couch around to face the others and 3 of us had the most comfortable seat.

We did turn the couch around to face the others and 3 of us had the most comfortable seat.

There was no formality here and almost no order. It was just pure fun. My new home has been christened with love and joy. It doesn’t get any better. How was your Thanksgiving?

On that note, welcome to the Hanukkah and Christmas season. Are you going to be ready in time for the next holiday?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Thanksgiving

This is my only post this month. I’ve been needing down time. Thanksgiving is upon us here in the U.S. and for many, it’s just another day off. For me it’s extra special in many ways. First, it’s my son’s birthday week. His birthday always falls somewhere around Thanksgiving and sometimes on it.

There are a few more candles now and he doesn't need the chair

There are a few more candles now and he doesn’t need the chair

Second is Thanksgiving itself. I have a hard day on this holiday keeping tears in check. My gratitude overflows. Last year was spent at my son’s home that was all in boxes so there was no cooking and just the two of us. He had several invitations but chose to accept the one so he could be with his three God-children and their parents. It was an odd day for me to be a guest, not the host.

These will be added to a charity quilt for a little boy. Don't look too closely, You'll see my mistake.

These will be added to a charity quilt for a little boy. Don’t look too closely, You’ll see my mistake.

This year I thought it would be just myself and my adult children. I decided to invite my niece and her family that live and hour plus away. They graciously accepted and asked if their newly married daughter and son-in-law could be included. Of course. It turned out they had plans. Those plans fell through this week and with a few texts, they are coming after all.

My sister was going to the home of her daughter and her daughter’s other parent. Then I got an e-mail that her daughter wants to be with family. So three more will be at our multiple tables and odd assortment of chairs. I decided the sofa could be turned to face the dining room so sofa sitters could face the rest of the group. There is always a way to make things work.
This is my kind of Thanksgiving. The most I’ve ever had for a holiday dinner was 17. I always cook BIG so it’s easy for me. I’m sure there will be plenty of help.

A crowd for Thanksgiving is for what I am most grateful. Family, friends that are family and lots of happy chatter, playfulness, thoughtfulness, with lots of warm memories being made.

I was originally prepared for eight so I made that many placemats, trying to be festive. Who knew I’d need 13. I also made myself the first ever autumn apron deciding to not only line the pre-printed panel, but make it reversible with pockets on both sides. I’m grateful that I can sew. I am grateful for my home that has the room for so many in it. This will be my first Thanksgiving in this house. I am thankful every moment of every day but this one day is collect those around you to celebrate those moments. To top it off, I am deeply grateful for all of you who stop by to visit and share your hearts with me. It makes every day Thanksgiving.

How are you spending your Thanksgiving and for what are you most grateful?

Happy Thanksgiving
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Thanksgiving Gratitude

It always seems like the holiday is a long way off, then all of a sudden, there it is. Making decisions whether or not to cook or let someone else do the cooking can be tricky. Some years ago, I would cook Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for between 17 to 20 people and enjoyed every minute of it. That’s how I showed them my love. As children grew and had their own families, I learned to make adjustments in my meals. Frozen lasagna, cooked and set out with vegetable, cracker & cheese trays along with plenty of cookies became the new norm and easier on me. It went from everyone sitting down at the extra-long table to setting up a buffet in the kitchen for a grab a bite, visit, and then go on to the next family. I could share them with others.

Bubbles is staying at my son's house for a while. How can it be Thanksgiving and not be grateful for all good dogs.

Bubbles is staying at my son’s house for awhile. How can it be Thanksgiving and not be grateful for all good dogs.

When we moved away, we made more changes to how we did holidays. Now that I live alone and my circle of family and friends has become even smaller, I’ve adapted once again. This year my daughter will drive us to her cousin’s very small house so we can share Thanksgiving with her four daughters, her mother and her significant other’s family. The place will be busting at the seams but the gathering of people who love each other outweighs any discomfort. For me, the hardest part is coming home in the dark. I have to keep my eyes closed as the lights and movement can make me quite nauseous. I’ve decided to take some wine to see if that helps keep my eyes closed. I’m an awful passenger seat driver in the daylight.

Thanksgiving is a special day to remember things you are grateful for. How many of you are grateful for the fact that you have such abundance that dieting is often a necessary part of your life. A lot of the world is looking for food, I have more than enough and choose to eat sparingly most of the time anyway. Yes, we donate to the less fortunate and I’m grateful I can do that as well.

For me, this holiday is about seeing people we don’t always have close by. My sister-in-law (sister-at-heart) has flown in from Missouri to spend both holidays with her daughter and granddaughters. Even after her brother and I divorced, we were still sisters. I’m grateful for a family that loves me even when they could choose to not.

Teaching my daughter to use the machine. Gifts are being made.

Teaching my daughter to use the machine. Gifts are being made.

There is no shortage of gratitude in my daily life. I write them in the morning and again at night. Instead of looking at all the things that present a challenge to me, (fixed income, health challenges, way too much solitude) I have so much more for which to be grateful.

On Monday, I had to change planes in San Jose, CA with a bit of time between flights. Wandering around for some exercise, I went back to the same gate I got off the plane at. It was time for my flight to leave and I didn’t understand why they weren’t calling for boarding. At the very last-minute, I heard a whisper in my head to check my boarding pass. I was at the wrong gate. A quick jog allowed me to be the very last passenger on my flight, but I didn’t miss it. I was oh so grateful.

I'm grateful my niece can make me look human again.

I’m grateful my niece can make me look human again.

Tomorrow I will be grateful for a noisy crowded house with plenty to eat and a daughter that is willing to get me back and forth. Each year the celebrations are different from the last. I’m grateful for adaptability. Thanksgiving comes every day that I allow it. How are you showing your gratitude for what is on this day of remembrance?

Happy, happy Thanksgiving everyone.
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Giving Thanks

In two days, my daughter and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day at a local restaurant together. Neither of us have the stamina for cooking, cleaning or being polite company. I love to eat out, usually bringing home enough leftover food for another meal or two. Yes, I miss the big family gatherings, but life changes and we have to be adaptable. Isn’t that what the pilgrims did? Adapting to a new land and create new customs and traditions. I’m in a new land and just starting to make new friends.

Mrs Pilgrim is in hiding. She wants no part of the turkey cooking this year.

This week has been especially dizzy. Odd way to describe a week I know, but the events that add even the slightest stress, cause, for some unknown reason, extreme dizziness. Stress can be good. In this instance some of it is. My house in Arizona went into escrow! After two seasons on the market, a buyer appeared.

I’m going to share a little synchronicity with you. When we were trying to sell my mother’s manufactured home, someone suggested that I get this statue of St. Joseph and bury him in the yard with his feet up. That would help sell the house. “Don’t be ridiculous”, was my response. But I bought one anyway. We finally ended up selling to my son. So much for St. Joe.

Last week I found the flyer that came with the statue. The statue is long gone. So I stood the flyer on my dresser and said a prayer of sorts. I’m not Catholic or any other formal religion but I firmly believe in prayers that don’t involve “gimme”. It was just a “let someone that will enjoy the home have it now” kind of prayer. I kid you not, two days later, we had an offer. Not a great offer, but an offer none the less.

He’s done his job, now I must do mine.

Now for the bad part of the stress. My ex didn’t want to lower the asking price and negotiating with him has been part of the reason we are no longer together. I’ve had to work through this sale with him all week-long. Oddly, he has been more compliant than ever. Now we must see where the home inspection leaves us to see if we can both move on. The buyers are getting the house for what we paid for it 13 years ago.

So on Thanksgiving Day, I will be more than grateful to be in this new land with at least one family member, eating what I hope is a good meal. The sun will shine for the only day in several weeks. I’m fascinated that even the weather co-operates on Thanksgiving Day. I’m hoping to add the sale of our home to my list of things for which I am deeply grateful. I am regaining my health, slowly. I have a wonderful family and friends as well as a cozy place to live. I hope your Thanksgiving Day is rich with blessings no matter when or how you celebrate. I’m grateful you are all there.

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. ~ E. P. Powell

From my heart to yours,