Hello, I’m Karen. Welcome to my cyber suite.

I’m glad you stopped by. I’m not Merle, that was my father, but I’m honored to give my blog his name. He was hilarious, difficult, loving, and complicated, and his presence is filtered throughout these pages.

I’m fairly new to blogging. My very first post featured a letter my great-grandfather wrote to his daughter, my grandma Lalla, and was published here 100 years to the day after it was written. That post is called Why Grandma Cried.

After beginning with history, I branched out and now include just about everything else that suits my fancy: photography, hiking, retirement, quilting, rescue cats, cooking and baking, gardening. I live in the Pacific Northwest and try each summer and fall to hit the hiking trails as often as I can.

I hope you enjoy my blog. Please stop by and leave me a message on the Say Hi! page.



Here’s a bit more about me.

The size of your britches?

I don’t care.

Whatever our calling, profession, race, religion, talent, income level, gender identity, or size, I believe what matters most in this life boils down to one simple thing:

How we treat each other and how well we get along.

I don’t believe in blind acceptance of come what may, but I believe life is a whole lot better sprinkled with kindness.I believe we can disagree, with kindness and intelligent conversation. I believe in supporting one another and being positive.

I have a rescue cat named Gandalf. I like maple bars, baking, photography, Emerson, and red wine (is it 5 o’clock, yet?). I like old books, the smelly ones, and could hang out in used bookstores for hours. I like having long conversations with my mom. She’s 88 and one very cool lady. She’s helping me with our family history. The husband and I take long hikes on fabulous Oregon trails each summer. I don’t get to see my kids often enough, but Gandy is great company (when he’s not being a Nervous Nelly Ned at the vet’s office).

Meet Otis, our newest rescue. Gandy is trying to accept.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Most days I’m incredibly content and find life to be very good. On these pages you’ll find everything I care about. Sometimes life can be messy; I write to cleanse.

I’m still learning (i.e. finding merle me).

Why am I here?

I want answers just like you. Now we’re getting somewhere.

I believe that our time is now, that we must live fully (and eat the chocolate).

Keep learning and keep living.


Finding Merle, dedicated to dad.


❤ Thank you for reading. ❤

19 thoughts on “Merle

  • Roxie is now in love with Gandalf because he’s beautiful and looks just like her. It appears from the photo of her in the vet’s sink, they’ve had similar experiences and react the same way. I think you have Roxie’s doppleganger!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Claremary, this cracks me up! I missed your Roxie when I first perused your pages. She looks like a very sweet cat. Our Gandy is solid gray, not a speck of another shade can be found, so his full title, of course, is Gandalf the Gray. He is sleek and lithe, and moves like a panther; i.e. he appears to have a somewhat serious, scary demeanor. And, inside, he’s total mush. He’s a rescue cat therefore we know little of his past. I brought him home in early January and not once has he asked to go outside; it appears to scare him. She’s no longer with us, but when our 17 year old Blossom was here, if Gandy got too close, her sharp left hook had him running for cover upstairs and under the bed. He outweighed her by eight pounds. Total mush.

      Thank you for stopping by, and for the follow as well. Have a great day!

      P.S. I have a friend whose given name is Mariclaire, but she goes by Toni. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am always happy to find another cat lover among our blogger friends. Blossom and Gandy are certainly lucky to have been taken in and loved by you. ZuZu was a baby barn kitten and Roxie needed a home, so we took them in. Roxie pretends to be an only child and treats ZuZu a an unwelcome visitor, although both arrived on the same day. When I was a child, I attended a French grammar school and was referred to as Marieclaire for many years. Does Toni know we have a French magazine named after us? Have a lovely weekend, Karen and thank you again for leaving such a nice comment. Clare aka Marieclaire


        • Many thoughts come to mind, here. First: a French grammar school? I am a teensy bit envious. Please, spill the beans. Was that in the US? How long did you attend (and is it any wonder you write so well)? I studied French for six years and can read it better than I speak. I’d be lying if I said I speak French. Imagine living Portuguese while studying French. I was an exchange student (Brazil) during the summer of 1976. I was 17, and I’d had five years of French under my belt by that time. I visited again in ’06, and to my sheer surprise–not much writing or contact in the interim–I recalled much of that language. When I try to speak French, an odd Frentuglish comes out. 😉 I do better with our self-created Portugles (the language my Brazilian family and I use).

          I’m bettin’ Toni does know about your magazine. She’s a retired Spanish teacher and well-traveled.

          So, your given name is Claremary, but you go by Clare? Such beautiful names, Mariclaire and Claremary.
          Enjoy your weekend as well. Thanks for stopping by again. I will be reading more about Roxie and ZuZu soon. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Karen, Our educations followed a similar path. In RI, within our towns are many churches and the people who attend them belong to that parish. Although I was from an Irish family, I went to the local French-Canadian Catholic elementary school. No one in my family spoke or understood French, but being young, I learned it very fast. Just as you can recall your French, it all seems to come back to me when I need it – like on our trip to Paris a few years ago.
            I think you will enjoy the Roxie posts. I’ll be visiting your site again today and I look forward to it. Clare


  • Stopped by to thank you for following and take a peak here. I love your about page. I too stalk high quality fabric stores. They wouldn’t let me move in. Your blog sounds interesting and I’ll be popping by again. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy: you’re welcome! I love the paper trail and post about your aunt Elaine. This is fascinating. We have a fabulous paper trail, and I’ve finally decided what to do with great grandma’s letters from 1940-1952. I’m making a historical diary of sorts, using her letters, and it’s near ready to debut. I won’t sugar coat that she was often unkind (the why will be revealed as I “blog”), but this is the reason for the title The Malevolent Matriarch. Should be fun. I’m going to scour your family tree pages and see what names I may recognize. Your site looks great.

      Liked by 1 person

Please share your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s