Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Theme Week: Woman Songs! Sing It, Tammy!

Currently I have two major goals in my life: to achieve inner peace and to get my hair to look exactly like Tammy Wynette's in this video.  I'm thinking the former could be a whole lot easier than the latter.  However, I think in order to really achieve the first, I need to be able to achieve the second or is it vice-versa?  Oh!  These deep thoughts are too much for my pretty little head! 

Good thing Tammy is here to straighten me out and remind me of what my priorities are.

I know this is normally Poetry Tuesday and some of you purists may disagree, but this to me, is pure poetry.  This is the ultimate Woman Song I, and judging by the vibrant expression on Tammy's face, the path to true excitement and fulfillment.   

Sing along! 

Sometimes its hard to be a woman
Giving all your love to just one man
You'll have bad times
And he'll have good times
Doing things that you don't understand

But if you love him you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him
Oh be proud of him
'Cause after all he's just a man

Stand by your man
Give him two arms to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely

Stand by your man
And show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man

Monday, March 30, 2009

Theme Week! Woman Songs!

Confused about your role in society?  
Curious about your place in the home?  
Perplexed by all the choices in the workplace?  
Wondering what it is that makes your man take an extra helping from another woman's casserole while he leaves yours virtually untouched?

Confused by the intricacies of relationships? 
Bewildered by the changing moods of women?  
Wondering why she didn't love that nice broom and dustpan set you gave her for your last anniversary?

Betty and a host of other celebrities are here to help you out.

This week we'll revisit some of those songs that remind us what women are all about, what they think about, and all the sacrifices they make.  

Our first video is a salute to that hard-working gal out there who is currently sitting at her kitchen table, using a ragged fingernail to dislodge a piece of dried cheese off a sharp knife, and waging a war of resentment and hostility on the slob that left it there, the same slob that leaves the bathroom a mess and does not seem to even notice that she is wasting away in this hell hole of a house that no one else even seems to care about.  

Brush your hair and put some lipstick on, dear!  
This little song is a big THANK YOU!  from the man in your life. 

Just as Glen says at the beginning of the video, "For the Girls."  

Ohhh.  Thanks, Glen.

She looks in the mirror and stares at the wrinkles that weren't there yesterday
And thinks of the young man that she almost married
What would he think if he saw her this way?

She picks up her apron in little girl-fashion as something comes into her mind
Slowly starts dancing remembering her girlhood
And all of the boys she had waiting in line

Oh, such are the dreams of the everyday housewife
You see everywhere any time of the day
An everyday housewife who gave up the good life for me

The photograph album she takes from the closet and slowly turns the page
And carefully picks up the crumbling flower
The first one he gave her now withered with age

She closes her eyes and touches the house dress that suddenly disappears
And just for the moment she's wearing the gown
That broke all their minds back so many years

Oh, such are the dreams of the everyday housewife
You see everywhere any time of the day
An everyday housewife who gave up the good life for me

Oh, such are the dreams of the everyday housewife
You see everywhere any time of the day
An everyday housewife who gave up the good life for me

Oh, such are the dreams of the everyday housewife
You see everywhere any time of the day
An everyday housewife

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back to School

That's Sonny Boy and Girlfriend of Sonny Boy heading back to college today after spending their spring break back in the bosoms of their families.

Like all parents, we stood on the sidewalk waving until the car rounded the bend and we could not see it any longer and like all parents we were filled with mixed emotions.  We are so stinkin' proud of that boy and so happy he is happy and thriving at college.  However, for me at least, there's always also that lump in my throat when I hug him goodbye.  

Spring Break was a time for hometown maintenance for SB.  He got his car fixed at the local shop, he went to see his hairdresser and got his hair cut, and he went to his favorite stores and stocked up on food he can only seem to find around here.  I hope it was also maintenance for his inner being as well, that he felt the steadfastness of his parents, remembered the bond he has with his brother, and even got in some time with his dog and cats.

When he arrived home about a week ago, I shared with him a parent's greatest Spring Break fear: when the child comes back, he looks around and thinks, "Are these people in a time warp or something? How do they stand it?"  While he's been in the fast lane of learning and independence, it must seem frustrating to come back to these laggards in the slow lane, doing what we always do, saying what we always say.

He smiled and said, "Don't worry, Mom. I think you're still really cool."

Thanks Sonny Boy.  

See you this summer. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

OK, NOW it's time for the Lolcat.

I am shocked.

I have always believed myself to be on the cutting edge of cultural phenomenons.

Wasn't I one of the first to stand transfixed at the county fair by the power of the Shamwow?

Did I not have Nordic Walking Poles in my hands before most people?

And, excuse me, but I believe Year of Grains started right here.

So, you had better believe that I feel a little embarrassed to find out that I am just now becoming aware of the lolcat phenomenon. Here's a definition from Wikipedia for all of you who, like me, were too busy reading, studying and helping the downtrodden to stay aware and informed of cats with grammar problems.

A lolcat is an image combining a photograph, most frequently of a cat, with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption in (often) broken English—a dialect which is known as “lolspeak,” ”kitteh,” or “kitty pidgin” and which parodies the poor grammar typically attributed to Internet slang. The name "lolcat" is a compound word of the acronymic abbreviation "LOL" and the word "cat."

My sources (who are home on Spring Break from their institution of higher learning) tell me I have missed the boat now for two solid years. They report lolcats all over dorms, web pages and e-mails.

Obviously, I have been out of the loop here, having received my first lolcats e-mail from a friend just last week. In order to make up for this embarrassing lack of cultural knowledge I have now spent hours on-line investigating lolcats and have gone from an appalled English teacher to an admiring fan. Here are some lolcats to get you started in case like me you have been a bit behind the times. Nw yull bee kuul aggan.

Hungry for more lolcats?

Here's a link to all your lolcat excitement!

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Not Even an Lolcat Filler

Unable to produce blog post today.  Cat picture as filler.  Still singing song.  Must keep singing song.   

C and H.

Pure Cane Sugar.

That's the One.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

C & H

It seemed like just a simple question from a friend, "Do you remember those C & H Sugar commercials?  You know, the ones.  [Singing] 'C and H, Pure Cane Sugar, from Hawaii, Growin' in the Sun.'"  

Friend? Or Agent of the Devil?  
You decide:

Day One:  Humming the song approximately 2 times an hour.  Pleasant feeling of nostalgia.  Mildly perplexed, trying to remember wording of second verse.

Day Two:  Singing song aloud on way to work, at office.  Singing song silently while walking, going to bathroom, listening for messages on phone.  State of being perplexed concerning second verse escalating to agitated confusion.  Could there have been two versions?   Now singing both the main lyrics and the flute-like children's echo of main lyrics as well.

Day Three:  Awoke, song loosely dangling in head like pretty Christmas ornament.  Shaking head violently to clear song from head not successful.  Drawn by mysterious force to computer to browse YouTube for commercials.  Found entire collection.  Listened.  Twice.  Apparently both audio and visual stimuli give strength to evil force.  Pretty Christmas ornament reveals itself to be ravenous tick latching on to my brain with vise-like grip, implanting itself deep in the cerebral cortex affecting several cognitive and behavioral functions.  

Day Four:  With song permanently installed as loop tape,  skipped work, ingested massive amounts of sugar, and began studying video of commercials for sociological and psychological ramifications.  Hence the study questions featured after the video.    

Here's the video.  DON'T WORRY!  You will not experience same reaction.  You will not be assimilated into the collective.  You are made of stronger stuff.

If you don't recognize the first commercial, go on to second, that's when the tick will latch on the pleasant childhood memories will return.

Study Questions:

1) Should the children in Video #1 be in field alone with man offering them sticks of sugar cane?

2) Videos 3 and 4: Should adults fool small children like this? Is it right? Is this healthy?  Is it playful or cruel?  Do you notice how boy believes trick whereas as girl seems to catch on  immediately on that Mommy had a hand in the shenanigans? What does this imply?

3)Video #6:  What will boy do with pups? Will they end up in pound? Will his parents let him keep them?  Was this really a wise trade considering the long-term responsibilities of pet ownership?

4) Videos 7 and 8: Do the commercials featuring the sugar cane workers on Sunday afternoons tempt you to join cult? Even just a little bit?

5) Video 9:  This is the most harrowing video of all.  Think of the underlying message next time your children return home for the holidays.  Are they coming to see you or are they just after the reward of the beloved white granules at the end of their pilgrimage?  

Bonus Questions:

A. Have you ever built a structure out of sugar cubes? 

B. Have you ever eaten a structure made out of sugar cubes? 

C. Please raise your hand if you remember being given a vaccine on a sugar cube.

D. Extra Credit!  What do the letters C and H stand for?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Poetry Tuesday

When Death Comes                      
                            --Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Johnstown Flood

Books!  They are what makes Betty so darn smart and so darn pretty too. It was at my grandparents' house that I discovered my first Reader's Digest Condensed Book.  Four books in one!  Wow!  This was the the equivalent of Neapolitan ice cream with all those flavors in one solid block!  How did they do it?  I ate these up and went back for more.  Later, when I went to college I learned it was cool to look with disdain upon these abbreviations of books.  However, these mysterious decadent treats, odd flavors of literature stacked together, created new taste sensations that seemed like they should be forbidden.  They led Betty down the rebel path of literature and encouraged a propensity for strange combinations of styles and ideas that survives and both torments and rewards her even today.

Regular readers of Betty will recall that there was a period in my life where talking organs and the chatty respiratory system of the body sent me into the heights of intellectual stimulation.    However, it was through one of the Condensed Books Selections that  I discovered the genre of the true, horrifying tale told, not like a dry newspaper report, but instead using all the elements of the novel.

Discovering The Johnstown Flood by William McCullough at age 11, was a pivotal moment in my life. There would be no eating, no drinking, no movement from the girl on the couch with the book. I was totally sucked into the story and richly illustrated pictures (I scanned one, above) of death and destruction provided me with hours of entertainment. There was one two-picture spread that continued on the back of the second page, making for three pictures that actually made up one, long picture. I had to flip back and forth between the second and third pages in order to fully connect the whole picture in my brain, and I did. For hours.

Throughout the book, there is horror after horror descending upon the poor people of Johnstown. This was a ride through the terror and horror not normally afforded me on the safe and docile farm. This story fed some sort of terrible hunger that I had as a child, and only ignited my appetite for similar-themed books.  Through the years I was driven to read as many of them as I could.  I read about the Donner Party, death and danger on Everest, tale after tale of  danger on the high sea, including Mutiny on the Bounty, numerous books about the the Titanic, the Executioner's Song and finally In Cold Blood (NOT a story I would recommend to other teens living on small, secluded farms in Kansas, by the way.)

These kinds of books are almost always written from an eerie omniscient point of view, so that the author can torment the reader by recounting a character's excruciating, life-threatening illness or danger and then suddenly leave that character to go and go and build tension somewhere else in the book by putting some other character in mortal danger and so on, so that the reader is left like the harried surgeon trying to tend to four or five patients, each on the brink of death. It's exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. And McCullough makes sure we get to know, appreciate, and care for each of the characters he finally massacres, mutilates, and tortures via this flood. 

The scenes in The Johnstown Flood are vividly depicted through passages like these: (Note how we get the terror of both out-0f-control water AND out-of-control fire here. It's a 2-fer!  Prepare yourselves!)

"William Tice, who was fished out of the water near the bridge,  described what he saw.  'I went up on the embankment and looked across the bridge, which was filled full of debris, and on it were thousands of men, women and children, who were screaming and yelling for help... At each crash hundreds were forced under and slain.  I saw hundreds of them as the flames approached throw up their hands and fall backward into the fire.'"

The book uncovers many reasons for the flood, but one of the most heinous is failure of the haughty Fishing and Hunting Club to remove the fish guards from their lake.   A man by the name of Isaac Reed wrote this poem, which is included in the book and which I nearly had memorized and would have loved  to recite for my class instead of "The Wise Old Owl" which my teacher insisted upon instead.  I KNOW my fellow classmates would have liked it a lot better and, you can imagine, the theatrical Betty came out in my recitation, performed in the end only, alas, to my terrified stuffed animals. 

Many thousand human lives--
Butchered husbands, slaughtered wives,
Mangled daughters, bleeding sons,
Hosts of martyred little ones.
(Worse than Herod's awful crime)
Sent to heaven before their time:
Lovers burnt and sweethearts drowned,
Darlings lost but never found!
All the horrors that hell could wish
Such a price was paid for--fish!
It was at Bart's Books that I found a copy of the edition of the Condensed Books that held this gem.  It was in the selection of books on the outside of the store and someone had taken a magic marker and written the price (20 cents!) on the cover.  What were they thinking, defacing this fine tome?  I grabbed it up immediately, went home and went directly to my couch.  Oh yes. It was all still there: death, destruction and doom.  Ahhhh.  Great literature is so comforting.

Betty hopes this post inspires you to grab your own favorite tale of hideous suffering and despair and have a great Sunday afternoon with it.

Happy Reading!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shake Hands With Danger

It's the weekend, time for a movie! 

Here's just a part of one of just one of Betty's favorite safety videos.  We could all learn a lot from these fine actors in this dramatic video.  Watch and listen carefully and maybe, just maybe you'll never be called "Three Fingered Joe."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Evan!

Oh, this boy came into our lives--the final puzzle piece of our family--16 years ago today and none of us have ever been the same.  He arrived on this, the first day of spring, and being the considerate child he is, he came at 7:30pm, just in time for me to recover slightly and still make my all-important 9:00pm bed time.

Evan came out of the womb fully intending to make the most of this experience and he navigates these waters very well, only occasionally using his brother and his parents as rudders when the waters get deep or rough.  

We learned early on that Evan would do things in his own way and in his own time.  When he was five or six he wanted us to take the training wheels off his bicycle and we told him no.  Just a week earlier he had begged us to take them off.  We had done so, but he found that he still needed them.  This time we told him that we were not going to take them off again, that he needed them for a bit longer, and we would take them off when the time was right.  He immediately went out to the garage, found some tools and took them off himself.  Then, he insisted we go to the parking lot near our house so he could ride his bike.  We went, his father carrying the tools and the wheels to replace when Evan would, once again, figure out he couldn't ride without them.  He climbed on his bike; I held on to his bike seat and ran with him for about fifteen seconds until I felt him pulling away.  He rode off on his own, never looking back.

 At 16, Evan's a very cool kid. and I really like being his mom. He has developed a killer sense of humor, is still incredibly persistent, and can be maddeningly stubborn at times. He has a way with older people, showing a genuine interest in their lives while smaller children can drive him up a wall.  He can be impatient and impetuous, sarcastic and irreverent, compassionate and empathetic.  He is a whirlwind of activity, bouncing balls in the house, talking up a storm, his ipod Touch, his constant companion.  As a teen, he is sure to point out any inconsistencies in my speech or behavior and his favorite piece of advice for me is to "Calm down."

As the youngest child of my family, I remember how frustrating it was when people expressed a kind of sorrow at my growing older.  Why were they lamenting the very thing I was celebrating?  Now, as a mother, I have that tinge of sorrow at seeing this boy of mine stretch into manhood.  As proud and happy as I am that I have been given this gift of watching Evan grow, I know that little boy from the past now exists only in my heart where I keep those memories alive and safe. 

For Evan's sixth birthday party, we planned a party at the park near our house, arranging for a  Jolly Jump and inviting his friends from school. The party was not until 1:00pm, but the morning of his party he awoke early and, in typical Evan fashion, was frenetically excited about the upcoming event. He nearly drove us crazy throughout the morning as we prepared. He danced around the house, he ran back and forth between the park and the house, he kicked balloons around the living room floor, all the while talking, talking, talking.

About a half an hour before his guests were scheduled to arrive, he sat down to watch TV and immediately went into a deep sleep, worn out from his self-induced frenzy.  He slept so soundly that even our bustling about did not wake him. The Jolly Jump people came to the park and put up the bright red jumper shaped like a dinosaur. Guests started to arrive, and I went to the park to greet them. When nearly everyone was there, I called Dan to wake Evan up and send him down. I will never forget watching my blond-haired little boy exit our house, turn toward the park, stopping only briefly to see the Jolly Jump that had spring up, his friends all waiting for him. Then he started running, full force, toward the park, toward his guests, toward his party. 

Suddenly, silently, my heart filled with this whispered mother's prayer: 
May this be the way you always approach, 
not only your birthdays, 
but your whole life too. 

May you always run with enthusiasm and energy, 
the wind in your hair, 
your strong legs carrying your healthy body through life.  

May you always be ready to join in, 
to participate, 
to be grateful to be at the party. 

And may there always be 
a colorful throng of people gathered around you, 
inviting you in, 
cheering you on, 

celebrating all that you are. 

Happy 16th Birthday, Evan.  

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grain of the Month!!!

It's Time For Grain of the Month!
Black Rice!
Forbidden Rice!
Can You Dig It?
OH! Don't things just taste better when they are FORBIDDEN??? You bet they do!

There is was, sitting on the store shelf, its bag clearly marked FORBIDDEN RICE. For months I passed by it, each time wanting it more and more because of the intrigue, the mystery, the I-Wanna-Be-A-Bad-Girl appeal of the grains marked FORBIDDEN. Then, one day, when the red-vested employee in the aisle turned his back, I grabbed the bag and put it in my cart. Oh yeah. Rebel Woman. I took it home, cooked it up and, Honey! I fell in love.

How did this rice get to be called "Forbidden"? The story goes that this rice was so delicious and nutritious, it was reserved for the emperors in ancient China. Another story was that the Greeks took over parts of the Middle East and BANNED this rice because they thought their enemies were eating it which made them stronger in battles. Some malcontent on Wikipedia suggested the name was "just a marketing ploy." Please! Who would fall for something like that?

This rice is full of fiber and there's some iron in there for the vegetarians and vegans among us. Betty loves this rice. I throw it in casseroles, fried rice combos, and even in spring mix salads. That's right--after it's cooled, throw it in those lettuce salads. Crazy! Whacky! Yummy! I also just like it plain, or with a little lemon juice sprinkled over it. I'll include a couple recipes here for you complex kind of people who need an extra challenge in your lives.

Note: These recipes have not been Betty-tested, but if you test them, let me know!

Black Rice Pudding
From Epicurious

1 cup black rice
1/2 cup sugar
1 (13 1/2- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well

Bring rice, 3 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid, 45 minutes (rice will be cooked but still wet). Stir in sugar, a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and rice is tender but still slightly chewy, about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool to warm or room temperature, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir pudding and divide among 8 bowls. Stir remaining coconut milk and drizzle over pudding.

Forbidden Black Rice Salad

Recipe by Mitch Madoff, Whole Foods NYC Commissary/Deli
This is Whole Foods Market, NYC best selling salad!

2 cups Forbidden Rice
3 1/2 cups water
2 Tbls Tamari
3 Tbls Sesame Oil
1 pound roasted diced sweet potatoes
3/4 cup diced red peppers
3/4 cup diced yellow peppers
1/2 bunch sliced scallions

Bring rice, water and pinch of salt to a quick bowl, cover and lower heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Let rice sit while you whisk together sesame oil and tamari. While rice is still warm toss in the sesame oil and tamari mixture. Let cool, then add sweet potatoes, red peppers, yellow peppers, scallions, and salt, pepper to taste.

That's what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mood Music and Sing-Along in Preparation for Grain O' The Month!

Everybody, Sing-Along!

What's the Whole Grain
That puts the other grains to shame?
(Insert Name of Grain You Think It Is Here!)
Damn Right.

All You Lads and Lasses
Who want your Amino Acids.
(Have You Guessed it Yet?)
Can you dig it?

Oh, They call it "Forbidden"
But Who Are They Kiddin'?
(Yow-Wow!  Do You Have It Yet?)
Right on!

It smells like popcorn
You'll eat it night and morn
I'm talkin' about ---------
Then we can dig it!

Fiber and Iron Galore
You'll be wantin' more and more
(Last Chance to Guess!)

Tune in Tomorrow for Grain 'O The Month!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Poetry Tuesday: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Danny Boy

Oh Danny boy, the pipes the pipes are calling,
From glen to glen and on the mountainside.
The summer's gone and all the leaves are falling,
'Tis you must go, 'tis you must go and I must bide!

But come you back, when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hush and white with snow!
Then I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh Danny Boy, Oh Danny Boy, I love you so!

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

Oh Danny Boy, Oh Danny Boy, I love you so!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Grandma Bessie

My Grandma Bessie came into my life when I was about nine or ten years old. She was officially my step-grandmother, and yet I was closer to her than my other original grandmothers since they had both passed away when I was younger.

She moved into my grandfather's house in town and I knew things were different when we were instructed by my parents to knock on the door we had always just opened before. I feared that she would a distant, austere person who would see my visits as intrusions. Nothing could have been further from reality.

Since my sisters were older, some off to college and others preoccupied with other aspects of growing up, Grandma Bessie became my grandmother. I went to visit her most Saturdays and she welcomed me every time, lighting up as I entered the room. As the fifth child in the family, I rarely felt singled out as special by an adult relative. I was just one of the girls to everyone else, but to Grandma Bessie I was truly special and my heart soared to know that fact.

My memories center on just sitting and talking with her. We'd sit at her kitchen table and I'd watch as she cut a Golden Delicious apple down the center with her paring knife. She'd carve out the seeds from the middle, divot the core out of the top and bottom and then hand it to me to eat. She'd ask me about my school, about the books I was reading. She'd devote her time to me, watching me eat my apple and nodding at my comments. This kind of attention, something that was rare in my very busy home, turned that simple apple in to a rich, delicious dessert that I lingered over.

One day she showed me how to make a bed. It was just a little thing, but I'll never forget her hands smoothing over the clean white sheets, showing me how to fold the corners, to fold back the top sheet over the blanket. She showed me how to karate chop the comforter just under the pillows so there was a crisp line. She let me try it on the side I was making up and then told me I had done a beautiful job.

The picture above is one of only two pictures I have of her and I together. It was my fifteenth birthday and she made a cake for me. I love the way she is standing behind me, hugging me around my waist, proud and happy. She is yet another one of those women in my life who have posed this way with me, making sure I had center stage even as they stood, ready to support me in any way I needed.

I went to her house to say goodbye to her before I went to college and I remember her hugging me and whispering "You'll always be special to me, honey." Throughout college she sent me letters, always with $1.00 bills in them with the note "Go and get yourself some ice cream." In that complicated, cacophonous world of college, those letters were like small islands of comforting silence as I sat on my bed and read them.

I was in her town just a few weeks before she died and thought about going up to see her, but was busy and decided against it. She passed away just months before my wedding while I was away on a trip to Washington D.C. I visited her grave soon after, but it was just a pile of freshly-turned dirt. It meant nothing to me. When I went home, my mom pulled out a wedding ring. It had been Grandma Bessie's and she had left it to my mom who held it out to me. For months we had been looking for a band that would match my diamond ring. I looked at the ring and smiled. It was a perfect match.

I've worn that ring for 27 years now and when I look at it, I can see it on her hand, holding out an apple for me, smoothing those sheets, waving to me as I left her house. I know that she is still with me, still cheering me on in life.

I would say I hope she is proud of me and the woman I've become, but you know what? That is the legacy she left me: an unwavering certitude in her devotion and faith in me. Would she be proud of me? There's not a doubt in my mind that she is.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Sure enough, those boxes of pictures I wrote about yesterday made me want to look at more pictures from the past and as I did I noticed how many I have in which I am there, with a strong woman (or women) standing behind me, beaming as they look into the camera.  I choose some to share with you over the course of the next few days.  Just looking at these pictures reminds me how lucky I am to have these people in my life and how generous they have been.

Those are my sisters there on that lion, with me at the front, clinging on to the mane. As the youngest, I never experienced the change that the bringing-home-of-the-sibling caused. My family was set when I was born, my sisters already there, permanent, like planets in space. I joined them and took my place in the family, naturally and without effort. I made my way through life with some struggle, but always with the inner knowledge that my journey had been made so much easier by their earlier sojourns. Even though I am at the front of the lion, I know they are the ones who helped tame the lion and who urged me to hang on, even when times got tough.

Even though my sisters and I now live in four different states and have very different lives, we have grown closer as we have gotten older.  We e-mail each other nearly every day and try to all get together at least every few years.  At our last family reunion, I looked around the noisy room, filled with my sisters, their children and their grandchildren and I marvelled at how incredibly lucky I am to have these women in my life. Each one brings a different and unique gift to this party of life.  For me, the most important gift they give is the sense that even though I am behind them in birth order, in the more important metaphorical sense, they are behind me, their support and encouragement always there. I hope I have given them the same gift.  The truth is, I am crazy about my sisters and love every one of them.

We have taken countless pictures over the years, most of the time lining up in birth order.  I take my place at the end of the line, happy to be there, thrilled that this latecomer is included in this beautiful string of pearls.  We turn one way, and I am in front with my sisters all behind me. We turn to face the other way and I am right there, standing strong behind each one of them.  After the picture is taken, we drift naturally into a circle, and what a lovely, lively, strong circle it is.

Thanks, Sisters.  Thanks for everything.  Thanks for it all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Creative Memories

I am a failed member of the church of Creative Memories. I tried to be faithful and good. I bought the archival paper, a circle cutter and photo splits. I vowed to cull out the imperfect pictures and to embrace cropping, but now it is time to confess. My pictures are not perfect, nor cropped; they are completely out of chronological order and I store them in old shoe boxes. Moreover, I intend to keep it that way.

When I pour a box of photographs out upon the dining room table, my family is drawn in. My sons search for pictures of themselves, but along the way they find photographs of the great- grandparents they never knew. They discover younger versions of the parents who sit at the table with them. They ask questions. They know they can just nibble for a while or they can sit down and feast. A scrapbook would change this circle of people into a crooked line, captive, waiting for the turn of the page.

The picture of my sixth birthday party features me and my cake, but in the background I also see our battered Chinese checkers set, the “Tom and Jerry” cartoon drinking glass I loved, my father’s hat with the seed corn logo. These small details are themselves vehicles to more memories. If I crop the picture of my son at his birthday party to feature only him, I excise the pair of skate shoes, the Lego Monster, the gouge in the coffee table caused by the tricycle. Who am I to cut out there details of his life that may transport him on his own journeys?

The finger you push the shutter button is the same one you use to summon someone. With the click of the shutter we say, “You. Come here. You’re the one I want.” And all those pictures on the table—that’s what we got when we summoned. Imperfect, off-center, they came to us as they were. Pictures of Aunt Marge are almost always blurry; Grandpa is always squinting. Would these imperfect pictures make it on to the pages of a carefully crafted scrapbook?

One time at my son’s swim lessons, I sat next to a true believer. She was producing four identical books, one for each of her children. She had brought some squares of brightly colored paper with her, and she hunched over her work, carefully producing perfect corners on her pictures. As she sat, head down, painstakingly measuring her work, her daughter prepared for her first dive ever from the diving board. I watched as the girl stood, thin and wet in her swimsuit, shivering in the afternoon air, biting her lip and staring at the glass-like surface below. Finally, she summoned up her courage and and held breath as she plunged headlong into the clear blue water. 

It wasn’t perfect, but it was beautiful.

It was one of a kind.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Often, as I clear the breakfast table I hear messages over the PA system from the elementary school back of my house. “All students please report to the auditorium for an assembly."  "Mrs. Hall, please come to the office.”  "Teachers, please remember to hand in your lunch counts early today.”

One very quiet morning, I stopped, dishes in hand and realized that, not only could I hear the school’s announcements, but faintly, off in the distance I could also hear the PA announcements from the nursing home that sits two blocks from the front of my house. Mr. Jenkins, we need a clean-up in the dining area.” “Will an aide please come to the front desk?” "All residents are welcome to join us in the dining room for musical entertainment at 10:00 o'clock today."

I could not ignore the fact that the voices behind the microphone were the voices of my own generation, busily managing these institutions for the young and old, busily managing the lives of others.  

You know us. We are the sometimes annoying ones, driving fast, often times in vans or the swollen equivalents, cell phones slapped over our ears and hot lattes in our cup holders. We assume attitudes of self-importance, barreling to our jobs in the morning, lists of things to do in our hands and in our heads.

We look busy because we are—with our jobs, families and communities. We are the breadwinners, the service providers, the ones who generate the tax dollars to keep our cities going.  We take care of parents, of children, deal with the past and plan for the future.

So it is natural that we sometimes lose perspective. We are so busy being in the spotlight, being the stars of the show that we sometimes forget the supporting cast.  We forget to be patient.  We forget to be grateful.  We forget to stop, sit, and just enjoy what IS now.

We work hard to keep our balance in this time of our lives, understanding that the sounds of childhood  grow dimmer each year.  Some days the sounds from that time that waits for us come in faintly, but distinctly.  Sooner than we think, our lives may be dictated by the voices of others.  

We struggle to keep our balance in the middle of this teeter-totter for as long as we can.  On an almost daily basis, we adjust our stance here in this temporary territory and keep looking ahead. 

From a distance, it looks as though we are dancing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Poetry Tuesday

          --Gary Soto 

The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.
December. Frost cracking
Beneath my steps, my breath
Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather.
A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling
At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore. We
Entered, the tiny bell
Bringing a saleslady
Down a narrow aisle of goods.
I turned to the candies
Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted -
Light in her eyes, a smile
Starting at the corners
Of her mouth. I fingered
A nickel in my pocket,
And when she lifted a chocolate
That cost a dime,
I didn't say anything.
I took the nickel from
My pocket, then an orange,
And set them quietly on
The counter. When I looked up,
The lady's eyes met mine,
And held them, knowing
Very well what it was all

A few cars hissing past,
Fog hanging like old
Coats between the trees.
I took my girl's hand
in mine for two blocks,
Then released it to let
Her unwrap the chocolate.
I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Monday Morning Bouquet for YOU!

"What?! Flowers? For ME???" you squeal with delight, looking around to make sure everyone near you sees that you have received flowers.  Well, yes, Bossy Betty is sending you a lovely bouquet just because you are so special.

 It's only March but some of the flowers around here are starting to come out to dazzle us.  I went to my friend Eva's house the other day and found these beauties called Clivia.  Eva had about 60 of these plants in her back yard, so I went a little crazy with my camera.  They were so beautiful.  I hope I did them proud in these shots:

Eva also had some beautiful plants with these red berries.  She was not sure of the name of them, and they weren't about to tell us, but they posed for me anyway.

There are Birds of Paradise all over these days.  These guys were about to take flight. 

Betty's got her eye on some other flowers in the 'hood that are about to burst forward.  I'll send you another bouquet soon!

Happy Mondays!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tennis (Outfits) Anyone?

Personally, I do not engage in sports that involve a ball coming at me.  I find it a little unnerving, having an object hurled towards my person, the goal of whatever "game" it is to pierce my personal space bubble and where (in most instances) my inability to stop said ball would be to the delight of the person throwing it.  

As you might imagine, this limits my engagement in sports.  The one exception I can make, if I must, is bowling, where the ball does, at some point come towards you, but its "flight" towards one is decently hidden and then the ball is dramatically slowed upon its arrival in your vicinity.  When it is finally plunked out, it is calm and serene as it lolls about, hanging out with the other balls, all comfortable and accepting of their heft and weight. They bring to mind family Thanksgivings where my rather large aunts would all sit together and relax after cooking the big meal. 

However, because of this "no-sport-where-the-ball-is-coming-towards-me" rule, other sports--basketball, football, soccer, racquetball--are all out, as is golf.  (Even though the object in golf is not to place the ball anywhere near your opponent's body, I have seen it happen with disastrous results and there are just too many variables that can happen with that small, hard little ball hit with the oh-so-sleek in appearance, but oh-so-harsh sounding "club.")

However, I do not object too vigorously to viewing some of these sporting contests and did so yesterday.  I went with Friend K to see Friend M play in a tennis tournament.  It was a friendly game and the court was at a club, surrounded by gorgeous views.  I was very impressed by Friend M's moves on the court and, may I say, she also had the cutest tennis outfit of all four gals.  I like the paraphernalia that comes with the sport--the cool racquet that can be slung over the shoulder, the bright, cheerful yellow balls, the clean white shoes and the very stylish tennis skirt.  

Now, the visor I wore yesterday did not cover the top of my head so that the sun beat down, microwave-like, upon the brain bowl of uncooked kernels of thought, which expanded and bloomed throughout the match.   In particular, I found myself fixated on the tennis apparel yesterday.  It was so cute and these women on the court had so much energy.  Could it be that this was due partially to these kicky little outfits they were wearing?  Could one actually be sluggish in this gear?

Now, I KNOW this clothing is sold for the exclusive use of tennis players, but would it be so wrong if other, say, non-tennis playing persons wore them, you know, just around the house and maybe to the grocery store?  I mean, if an incoming-ball-phobic, non-sporty person who just happens to have great legs were to slip one of these outfits on and walk around in public, well, would it be so bad?  What if she just hung around the courts and occasionally stood at the net, striking the pose of our model at the top of this post?

Would it be considered impersonation or, rather, fashion-forward?  If it were considered impersonation by some purists, well, it's not as if this person is impersonating a police officer, nuclear scientist, or even a dentist--professions non-professionals should probably not dabble in, at least very often or for too long.  Don't we see short chubby children walking around in Laker's jerseys?  Is that so different than a non-tennis playing person donning a tennis outfit?  What if it could be determined that the wearing of tennis gear improved a person's energy, abilities, mood and social likability? Wouldn't we then advocate the wearing of such clothing for anyone needing to improve any of these areas in his/her life? 

Friend M and her partner won their match and will go back today to play another game. However, Betty will not be going back.  Tennis is an exhausting game!  There were just too many kernels popping in the brain bowl there under the hot sun.  This was your small serving.  Now, Betty has to digest the rest, perhaps while shopping at Sports Chalet....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bossy Betty Shares a Recipe for an Excessively Good Chocolate Cookie.

You know a cookie is a good one when people take it with both hands and eat it the way a hamster munches on a big fat nut.  That's just what happened when I took these cookies into the office wing the other day.  My co-workers were very hamster-like as as they enjoyed their delicious chocolate cookies, nibbling on one edge, then thoughtfully turning the cookie, nibbling on another edge, gazing skyward as their little teeth worked over the morsels in their mouths.  It was the quietest the hamster cage had been in a long time.

I found this cookie recipe at the Joy of Cooking Website.  Yow-wow, it's good!  It takes Dutch-processed cocoa which you can find at Williams-Sonoma or other fancy-schmancy stores.  It took me awhile to actually get in there and buy it, having been a Hershey's cocoa powder girl all my life, but then I thought, "What would Fancy do?" and I went right up to that gleaming Williams-Sonoma counter and asked for it.  I did the right thing.  Nobody processes chocolate like the Dutch.*

Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer),  cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. 

First sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt and then add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix just until incorporated. Fold in the the chocolate chips.

Using a small ice cream scoop, or two spoons, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter on the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the the cookies are still soft in the center but are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 24 - 3 inch round cookies.

Betty's notes:  

I put in chopped walnuts too!

Vegans--I have not tried this with egg replacer, but I think it would be fine.  You could use dark chocolate chips instead of the white chips.  Oh, you're smart people.  I think you can figure this out.

Here's an additional note from the recipe on the Joy of Cooking web site:

This dough freezes beautifully so you can enjoy freshly baked cookies on demand. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the freezer until the cookies are frozen. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer, place the frozen cookie balls in a freezer bag, and return to the freezer. When you want these cookies, simply place the cookie balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, preheat the oven, and then bake as directed.

(* No Dutch were harmed in the making of this cookie.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bossy Betty's 100th Post

It's true!  
This is #100.  
Here's how Mabel reacted when I told her the news:

Here's my 100th Post Special Offer to my faithful readers! Send me a topic you'd like me to expound upon and Betty will put it in the blender that IS her mind and see what comes out. You can just leave your suggestions in a comment OR write to me at Bossybetty1@gmail.com. This  e-mail account is linked directly to my brain.  Once I get your idea I'll get to work on it pronto and dish it up like a small, but hopefully satisfying, serving of guacamole and chips.
If you are so inclined, please join the list of followers on this site.  You don't need to post your picture, and can make up a cool name to call yourself (the one your parents SHOULD have chosen!). You'll need an AIM, Yahoo account, or a Google account.  Under the Obama administration, it's soon going to be a law that you have a Google account, so get one now! Beat the rush!  

Once you come into the followers' tent, we guarantee you will immediately feel a general sense of happiness and peace. You will lose weight in the midsection and gain muscle in your upper arms and calves. Plus, Betty gets to look at you, my pretty beads on a necklace, on a daily basis. 

Follower or not, you are all special to me and the reason I arise each morning,  pull on the rainbow-colored Spandex body suit, and head to the computer. 
Thanks again for reading!  I'll will be back tomorrow with #101.


Travels With Betty: Nashville

Yesterday's post about traveling got me thinking about other trips, so I dug out the pictures I took on our trip to Nashville last December.  We were there to visit HOB's family, but every trip is an educational trip when you're with Betty.  On Christmas morning, while waiting for HOB to pick us up and transport us to Grandma's house, Sonny Boy, Evan and I decided to walk around the capitol building.

Here it is.  It's quite stately, sitting there in the Christmas air.  We had to walk through the large War Memorial Plaza to get to the actual building.  It was eerily quiet on this morning, no one (save a few transients) was around and to tell you the truth, it was more than a little creepy.  

Ummm, can you see why it would be a little creepy?  I was REALLY hoping this was not like one of those acts you see on the pier where the person is dressed up, acting like a statue and then jumps out and scares people.  We quickly walked past that little scene to this one:

Somebody's been working out!  Nice memorial!

Poor President Polk is buried just off to the side of this flashy tribute to Andrew Jackson.  People hurry by the little square that marks Polk's final resting place to go and see the drama of the horse and rider.  Andrew tips his hat and looks directly at the grave as if to say, "Hey there, Polky!  My horse and I are on the way.  We'll be there to see you real soon.  You just stay right there."  Polk waits patiently, expectantly.  

They take their memorials and their Southerness very seriously here in Tennessee.  Take a look at this plaque: 
Here's Carmack's "Pledge to the South."  Please remember this next time you think Betty's writing is getting a little dramatic and overwrought.

The south is a land that has known
sorrows; It is a land that has
broken the ashen crust and
moistened it with tears; A land
scarred and riven by the plowshare
of war and billowed with the graves
of her death; But a land of legend,
A land of Song, A Land Of Hallowed
and heroic memories.

To that land every drop of my blood,
ever fibre of my being, every pulsation 
of my heart, is consecrated forever.

I was born of her womb; I was
nurtured at her breast; and when
my last hour shall come, I pray
God that I may be pillowed upon
her bosom and rocked to sleep
with her tender and encircling

Oh my.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Travels With Betty: Bart's Books in Ojai

Yes, Betty is a routineer, but that doesn't mean she's a dull gal.  She loves to travel.  Traveling is like a Altoid for the brain.  Everything seems exceptionally sharp and potent. At some point in the trip, (just like about one minute after you put an Altoid on your tongue) you may even doubt that the whole experience is a good idea.  However, once you get adjusted to the sensation that IS traveling, you'll be happy you went on the adventure.

Alas, my Very Important Job, precludes me from traveling extensively right now, but, ever the restless soul, lusting for adventure,  I managed to get HOB and a couple of friends up to Ojai (a town near us) to eat at the Farmer and the Wife, a groovy organic restaurant and then we headed over to Bart's Books, which has to be one of the coolest bookstores ever.  Come on; I'll show you around.

Bart's is located at 302 W. Matlija and sits beneath a 420 year old coastal live oak tree.

Not only does Bart's have a lot of great used books inside the store, they also put a selection of books on the outside of the store where they stay both night and day.  (You simply throw the money through the slot on the door if they are closed and you want to buy a book from one of the outdoor displays.)

The store is a maze of bookshelves; the roof is mostly open, except above the shelves.

There is part of an old house in the center of the store.  This is the kitchen where they display their selection of cookbooks

Here's one of the many seating areas.  I love Bart's!  No, I really do!

OK, so it wasn't a trip to the Spain, Italy, Africa, or even Las Vegas.  It was not even a full Altoid kind of trip, but at least I took my brain for a walk along a different route.  It was a gorgeous California day with good friends, good food, and good books and we even got to stop for candy and Cokes on the way home. Betty had a good day out!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Poetry Tuesday: Now With Bonus Thinkin' Questions Available in a Variety of Strengths

Squash in Blossom

How lush, how loose, the uninhibited squash is.
If ever hearts (and these immoderate leaves
Are vegetable hearts) were worn on sleeves,
The squash's are. In green the squash vine gushes.

The flowers are cornucopias of summer,
Briefly exuberant and cheaply golden.
And if they make a show of being hidden,
Are open promiscuously to every comer.

Let the squash be what it was doomed to be
By the old Gardener with the shrewd green thumb.
Let it expand and sprawl, defenceless, dumb.
But let me be the fiber-disciplined tree

Whose leaf (with something to say in wind) is small,
Reduced to the ingenuity of a green splinter
Sharp to defy or fraternize with winter,
Or if not that, prepared in fall to fall.

--Robert Francis

Bonus Thinkin' Questions:

1. Extra Strength: Do you believe it is better to be the "fiber-disciplined" tree than the sprawling, gushing squash blossom? Do you agree with the author that the squash is doomed by the "Old Gardener?" Do you envy the squash plant, or pity it? The leaf has "something to say in the wind." What are the winds in our lives that cause our leaves to speak? Do you believe the word "wind" has positive or negative connotations?

2) Medium Strength: Do you have any idea how to cook a squash? Do you have a favorite recipe? How does a squash rank in nutritional value?

3) Mild/Low Strength: Who the heck plays Squash, anyway and what's up with those outfits they wear?

4) Minimal/Barely There Strength: "Isn't it weird how whenever you see a "q" there's, like, always a "u" after it?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Your Final Etiquette Lesson from Betty and Emily: Your Biggest Problem Could Be Right Under Your Nose.

Sitting there all alone again with just your cigs and mirror to keep you company?   Wondering WHY it is you have no friends nor satisfying relationships?  Well,  the answer is simple: Your Big Mouth.  Remember,  "The chatterer reveals every corner of his shallow mind; one who keeps silent cannot have his depth plumbed."  If you MUST speak, please keep the following in mind: 

Conversations: Dangers To Be Avoided
pg 82 of Etiquette

Talk about things that which you think will be agreeable to your hearer.  Don't dilate on ills, misfortunes, or other unpleasantness,  The one in greatest danger of making enemies is the man or woman of brilliant wit.  If sharp, wit is apt to produce a feeling of mistrust even while it stimulates.  Furthermore, the applause which follows every witty sally becomes in time breath to the nostrils, and perfectly well-intentioned people, who mean to say nothing unkind, in the flash of second "see a point," and in the next second score it with no more power to resist than a drug addict has to resist a dose put into his hand!

The mimic is a joy to his present company, but eccentric mannerisms are much easier to imitate than charms of personality, and the subjects of the habitual mimic are all too apt to become his enemies.

You need not, however, be dull because you refrain from the rank habit of a critical attitude, which like a weed will grow all over the place if you let it have half a chance.  A very good resolve to make and keep , if you would also keep any friend you make, is never to speak of anyone without, in imagination, having him or her overhear what you say.  One often hears the exclamation "I would say it to her face!" At  least be very sure that this is true, and not a braggart's phrase and then--nine times out of ten think better of it and refrain.  Preaching is all very well in a textbook, schoolroom, or pulpit, but it has no place in society.  Society is supposed to be a pleasant place; telling people disagreeable things to their faces or their backs is not a pleasant occupation.

Do not be too apparently clever if you would be popular.  The cleverest woman is she who, in talking to a man, makes him seem clever.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Etiquette Lesson # Four from Betty and Emily: You're Engaged? We're SO Happy for You! Congratulations! Now Get On With It Already!

As you can imagine, Emily Post has a great many number of pages in her Tome o' Manners all about the wedding.  

Oh yes, if you need to know who is obligated to escort old aunt Harriett, the second cousin of the first uncle that dumped your cousin at the orphanage that belonged to your grandfather on your maternal grandmother's side, Emily has the answer for you.  

Whose crest should go on the silver?  No need to lose more sleep over the issue. Emily has the answer for you. (It's not what you think!)

Emily even gets into the more risque details of the trousseau.  Noting that "The various undress things which are to be worn in her room or at the breakfast table, and for the sole admiration of her husband, are of far greater importance than the dresses and hats to be worn in public."


"Not long ago a stocking was thought fine if it could be run through a wedding ring; today no stocking is considered fit to be put on for the town or evening wear unless many together can be slipped through the measure once the test for one. "

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  First we've got to get that bride down the aisle and SOME brides just draaaaagggggg out that engagement.  Well, Emily's got some words of advice for you laggards:  

In the Backwaters of Long Engagements
pg 385 of Etiquette

A long engagement is trying to everyone--the man, the girl, both families, and all friends.  It is an unnatural state, like that of waiting at the station for a train, and in a measure it is time wasted,  The minds of the two most concerned are centered upon each other; to them life seems to consist in saying the inevitable good-by.

Her family think her absent-minded, distrait, aloof, and generally useless.  hi family never see him.  Their friends are bored with them--not that they are really less devoted or loyal, but her men friends withdraw, naturally refraining from "breaking in."  He has no time between business and going to see her to stop in at his club or whatever friends of his may be.  Her girl friends do not see her in the daytime, but gradually they see her less and less because their interests and hers no longer focus in common.  Gradually the stream of the social world goes rushing on, leaving the two who are absorbed in each other to drift forgotten in a backwater.  He works harder than ever, and she perhaps works too.

Once they are married, they no longer belong in a backwater, but find themselves again sailing in midstream.  It may be on a slow-moving current, it may be on a swift--but their barge sails in common with all other craft of the river of life.

That's our etiquette lesson for the day.  This has not been an easy post to write.  It has been difficult and painstaking, but you, my readers are worth it.  The stocking currently stuck in my wedding ring has merely slowed Betty's typing down, not stopped it completely.  I think Emily would be proud.