Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘toys’

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 Imagination

It’s a new year and I must decide what to make of it. I want to write my stories as well as make things to give as gifts. Something tangible to say ”Yes, I was here”. While I’m at it, if there is a magic genie out there, I want to be thin, rich, and beautiful. Guess who the genie has to be?

Reading other bloggers writing has recently left me totally blown away by the level of creativity and imagination that they possess. My blogging friend at Gardening Nirvana writes about her garden and her fairy gardens. The imagination that goes into her fairy gardens actually left me breathless and stunned. I have no concept of how that level of imagination works. Another blogging friend at Boomdeeadda writes about her crafts that are so fun and delightful, I feel as though I have been sitting under a rainbow while I read.

I, on the other hand, write “just the facts ma’am”. Life for me has been real and tight. Budgets were tight, shoes were tight, emotions and rules, tighter still. Imagination was not something that was encouraged in our home. We colored in the lines at school and not at all at home. I was once given a paint by number set by someone other than my parents, somehow managing to get paint on my clothes in the process of completing the picture. Getting paint on my clothes created a crisis in our house since I had so few. I had to get work with neighbors to raise the money to buy new clothes. I was 12 at the time.

How do you go from paint by number to fairy gardens? I wish I knew. All of my projects have directions and if I don’t understand the directions or do them incorrectly, everything comes to a grinding halt. I’m afraid I may have passed that on to some degree to my children. We all graduated from the “Do it right and do it well” school. There is a place for that but I see now there is a place for imagination to rule the roost.

For those of you who are not sure if your writing makes any difference in the world, I can guarantee, it does. You’ve probably touched more lives than you know. I know I question mine every week. I’ve learned how to be happy with less from livingsimplyfree and the difference between Miracle Whip and Mayonnaise from Texana”s Kitchen. Now, she can write funny and serious. Every day, I learn something from you wonderful bloggers and I just have to let you know.

I’m trying to write happy and funny stories but I have so little experience with them. It’s not even in the realm of my imagination. Another blogging friend writes about reducing her life to the smallest footprint possible. I’ve lived that most of my life. I know it well. I want to imagine a big life, filled with joy and toys and happy experiences. Why didn’t anyone tell me that imagination was the most vital key to a fulfilling life? Now, how do I develop one? That’s what I want to learn next.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Santa Claus

I was reading a post this morning asking the best way to out Santa Claus to your children. Several readers offered helpful advice. I was at the ready to offer my own and thought better of it. But the thought is still there. I had always followed along with the rest of the country with this Santa Claus thing. It was fun to some extent.

I first learned of Santa Claus at the age of six. That’s usually when most children start to question his existence. That year I learned Santa was real. I have believed in Santa ever since.

We were a dirt poor military family. Most months there wasn’t enough food left before the next payday to feed us so several families my parents knew would get together and combine what was left in their cupboards to feed all of us. Money for a tree or gifts was out of the question. My parents were both hard workers. Mom didn’t have a job; she had us and the house but was always trying to find ways to make extra money at home.

Dad took us out one night to see if he could cut down a tree in the Colorado woods. His only tool was a pocket knife. Result, no tree. Disappointment weighed heavy on my heart.

Mom and dad walked back in our door with my little sister in tow and of course, I dragged behind; disappointment punctuating every step. The porch was dark but looking up, I saw a shadow. I looked harder. I shouted for my parents. Is this a tree on our porch? They finally turned on the porch light and there it stood in all its glory. The parents looked at each other and I could tell they had no clue where the tree had come from. They were with me so I knew they didn’t put it there. It had to be Santa. I have believed in Santa ever since.

When you study the phenomena of Santa Claus you know of course St. Nicholas was the European version. He brought gifts to the poor and did it secretly. We never knew who put the tree on our porch but as I grew, I knew I too could be Santa. We had almost nothing in the way of toys my entire childhood but I always had the magic of a mysterious kind heart that gave what was necessary to keep the wonder of the season in a child’s heart.

My vision of St. Nicholas aka Santa Claus

My vision of St. Nicholas aka Santa Claus

My gift to my children was to raise them to have generous and kind hearts. When you teach children to reach out to others even when you have little yourself, you have gifted the world. There are so many children that have so many toys. It would be lovely if they were taught to gift toys they no longer favored but were still in perfect condition to others. I know many that do. Santa Claus is alive and well in the body of many who care.
I think that’s a fairy tale your children can live with.

From my heart to yours
Marlene Herself HO HO HO

In Search of a New Identity

My thought is there comes some point in each person’s life where they want to re-invent themselves. It may be when the status quo simply doesn’t work for you anymore. Usually, it comes on the heels of a major change in life. For many of us it comes with the change of a relationship or a change in work or health status.

I’ve never had a clear definition of who I am. When you start out in life refereeing parental fights from the time you could stand, to changing, feeding and disciplining your siblings as they came along, the definition of who you are is laid out for you. That was my definition of myself for more than 45 years. Then the care giving shifted to aging parents and as always, the spouse.
Now the parents, children and spouses no longer need care giving . So that leaves me in a quandary. Who am I without those roles? I never had the time or opportunity to make plans for this situation. I also never expected to be so debilitated by Bells Palsy that I would need my children’s help at this early age. This isn’t how I expected life to go.

While in high school, I finished cosmetology school and eventually got a license. My parents were convinced I wasn’t college material because of my vision limitations. Hairdressing just needed a strong body. Never mind that I didn’t have passion or real aptitude for it. I was a good student and my mother never paid for a haircut again. But my first husband found it humiliating to be married to a hairdresser so I was not allowed the money to renew my license or to work in that field. Don’t you just long for the good old days.

At some point when my children were young, I went to the adult school to study typing and shorthand while they were in school. I was adequate but not excellent. At the end of the course, I could not lift my right arm. Shorthand was not physically possible for me to produce. Wow! How can you not be able to take shorthand? Next I studied color consulting and I definitely had passion for that. I could help people reflect their own personality with colors and styles that suited them individually. Unfortunately I had no self-confidence. I couldn’t sell myself to people for something I believed in so deeply. After moving to a remote location where there was no shopping and few cared about their own self-expression through style, I let that dream go. It still creeps in when I’m in a store and see someone try on something that either looks hideous on them or would be stunning should they choose it. Along with the dream of happily ever after, all my dreams and definitions of who I am vanished into the ethers.

So now what do I do? I do not want to be defined by this debilitating illness of Bells Palsy. I still get the comments from strangers that “it goes away pretty quickly doesn’t it”. I’m thinking 26 months and counting isn’t quickly.
So how does one come up with a new identity? Who do I want to be? What a rare opportunity I have. Lots of questions, only a few answers. I went shopping one day with my daughter and saw a dress that reflected part of the person I see in my mind’s eye. Now, I don’t wear dresses anymore. I usually work too hard for dresses and I have to wear sensible shoes that just don’t look good with dresses. But the style helped let me see part of who I want to become. So what needs to change? I cut my hair after my first divorce and am looking for a new style once again. Now I need something low-cost to maintain. Pigtails under a brim hat would be an interesting look for a woman of advanced age, wouldn’t it?

I’ve read every self-help book out there and they all say go back to the happy place when you were a kid. Well folks, I was never a kid. I’m learning to become one. I bought myself toys to play with like sewing machines, computers, a droid cellphone and lots of fabric and craft supplies. They were an experiment to see what felt good. Music was something I found later in life as well. I’m the appreciator of music, not the producer.

A new identity requires more than new looks. It may require an attitude adjustment. What kind of attitude do I want to have? I have always wanted to be perceived as friendly with a good sense of humor. Somehow, only droll comes through.Here is where I’d insert a smiley face if I could. I think I inherited my mothers dry German humor. In my heart I feel quite witty.

Life with all it’s turns and tumbles shape us. I’m hoping it made me softer and kinder. How does one become the person they want the world to see? How does one find that person that is only in their imagination? Where is that person that doesn’t need a cane to walk and drives a car with a real smile on their face. I’m open to suggestions.

From my heart to yours,