Mabel and I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.
Betty will be on the move the next couple of days and I may not make it around to your individual blogs. Sonny Boy, the college student, called a couple of weeks ago to tell me he would not be able to come home for Thanksgiving because of school/work.
What's a mother to do?
Well, after I stopped shrieking like an injured monkey, I decided to pack up HOB, Evan and a pumpkin pie and drive up to be with the boy. He needs to be with his mother on Thanksgiving. (OK, OK, it's really the other way around, but still....) I am looking forward to being with him and his sweet, sweet girlfriend too.
I wish ALL my blogging buddies a Happy Thanksgiving.
You will be on my long list of things for which to be thankful.
And remember, take that all-important nap after your dinner.
Every October it becomes important, no, necessary to see the leaves turning, to be surrounded by leaves turning; it's not just the symbolism, to confront in the death of the year your death, one blazing farewell appearance, though the irony isn't lost on you that nature is most seductive when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its incipient exit, an ending that at least so far the effects of human progress (pollution, acid rain) have not yet frightened you enough to make you believe is real; that is, you know this ending is a deception because of course nature is always renewing itself— the trees don't die, they just pretend, go out in style, and return in style: a new style.
Is it deliberate how far they make you go especially if you live in the city to get far enough away from home to see not just trees but only trees? The boring highways, roadsigns, high speeds, 10-axle trucks passing you as if they were in an even greater hurry than you to look at leaves: so you drive in terror for literal hours and it looks like rain, or snow, but it's probably just clouds (too cloudy to see any color?) and you wonder, given the poverty of your memory, which road had the most color last year, but it doesn't matter since you're probably too late anyway, or too early— whichever road you take will be the wrong one and you've probably come all this way for nothing.
You'll be driving along depressed when suddenly a cloud will move and the sun will muscle through and ignite the hills. It may not last. Probably won't last. But for a moment the whole world comes to. Wakes up. Proves it lives. It lives— red, yellow, orange, brown, russet, ocher, vermilion, gold. Flame and rust. Flame and rust, the permutations of burning. You're on fire. Your eyes are on fire. It won't last, you don't want it to last. You can't stand any more. But you don't want it to stop. It's what you've come for. It's what you'll come back for. It won't stay with you, but you'll remember that it felt like nothing else you've felt or something you've felt that also didn't last.
You can imagine my happiness at reading my horoscope yesterday and finally being given permission to "Share more of those wild ideas you generally keep to yourself."
These are the same ideas that my family members universally and vigorously urge me to keep under wraps.
Take my recent conversation with HOB while we were sitting in the local pizza parlor which has large screens set on sport stations. It was one of those halftime shows where four guys in suits sit around a shiny kidney-shaped table and discuss the minutia of sports.
Betty: Don't you think people like watching this kind of sport show because all of those guys resemble very sincere dogs?
Betty: (Pointing with fork toward screen) That one looks just like a Golden Retriever and that one looks like a German Shepherd. People love earnest looking dogs. I really think that the people watching don't even know why they like watching these kinds of shows, but they are drawn to them because those guys resemble reliable dog breeds.
Betty: Well, look at them. They certainly don't look like cows, sheep, or pigs. They look like what dogs would look like if they took human form and bought snazzy suits and shiny shoes.
Betty: People trust them and listen to them because we humans inherently trust and like dogs. Dogs are guileless which lends to their appeal as sports announcers.
Betty: AND since these guys look like dogs, they have extra credibility because people unconsciously think, "Oh yeah, I'll believe them in these sporty matters because they've been out there running, jumping, catching balls." Don't you see how it all works?
Betty: AND think about this: every dog show includes a category called "Sporting Dogs." Go to a cat show and you won't find a "Sporting Cat" division. "Sporting Sheep?" "Sporting Cows?" No. ONLY dog shows have that category. Huh? Huh? Am I right? Look! There's a Doberman Pinscher, and Collie, and Great Dane up there right now discussing football!
Betty: If you think about it, TV stations should match up guys that look like certain breeds to certain sports. It would do wonders for their ratings!
HOB: (Stunned Silence)
Betty: Let's take an obvious one. Who better to report on boxing than a Boxer?
HOB: (More Silence)
Betty: (Eyes wide, speaking quickly) Discussion of car racing competitions should held by Pit Bulls.
Track and Field? Greyhounds.
Basketball? Bass(k)et Hounds.
Baseball? Golden Retrievers.
Horse Racing? A Whippet.
British Volleyball? English Setters.
Oh, yes. I really AM on to something here! (Betty sucks down her Diet Pepsi and smiles wildly.)
HOB: (Very concerned look on his face, reaches out for Betty's hand) Honey? Are you even thinking of making this a Betty post? (Shakes head) Please don't. Trust me. Don't do it. Let's just keep this between you and me. OK? Please?
OK, OK, so I did promise him, and I kept that promise until today when I got word via the newspaper that it was time to bestow this idea upon society.
I understand HOB's reluctance to share his genius wife with the world, but as you can see, it was written in the STARS that I unleash my dog/sports announcer theory to you.
And you don't argue with the stars--especially with Sirius, the Dog Star, but that's another post.
Warning: Betty's Taking Off For a Long Rant. Please secure your belongings.
I grew up in a family in which sneezing was tolerated as a pesky inconvenience but certainly not something to be rewarded with any sort of generous response.
I think my parents probably automatically placed sneezing in the same category as say, a bleeding leg or a fast-growing wart. That is, they saw it as suspect, a possible attempt to garner some self-centered attention. And that, my brethren, was akin to courting the devil.
Sneezing at home was tolerated, but sneezing in public was to be avoided at all cost and if you heard someone sneeze, it was to be treated the same way as if that person had passed gas—politely ignored. You would certainly never call attention to it. You just averted your eyes and acted like it never happened.
I moved to California in the '80’s and became acutely aware of the growing trend of saying “Bless You” after sneezing. Indeed, while I was busy actively and vigorously ignoring the fact that someone had just spewed massive amounts of saliva into his/her hand, people around me nearly killed themselves off showering Bless You's all over the affected person, tossing the saying about like nonpareils on party cupcakes.
Thus, I became even more reluctant to sneeze in public. Now, instead of a sneeze being just a sneeze, it was a social contract. After all, when someone “blesses you” then you are obligated to say “thank you” to the blesser.
It does not help that I just happen to be a double, sometimes triple sneezer. So when I have finished up the first sneeze and am waiting for the second one to occur 3-5 seconds later, some do-gooder has already inserted a “Bless You,” into the space after sneeze number one.
Thus, when sneeze number two comes, it appears as though I am just milking the situation. The blesser feels obligated to say “Bless You” again. After all, if it was important to say the first time.....
When the third sneeze comes, the intonation of the “Bless You!” changes, indicating a clear irritation, a sign that somehow I am deliberately, consciously, maliciously pushing the limits of politeness. Though the words are the same, the intonation takes on an accusatory tone, bordering on profane.
Now, after this sneezing bonanza, let us not forget: I must say thank you each and every "blessing" that I DID NOT ASK FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Social Dilemma Alert:
The scene is reversed. A person who normally says “Bless You” sneezes in my vicinity. Am I now obligated to say “Bless You” to this person? The answer: Yes. After my “blessing” I can’t help but wait expectedly for my “Thank You.” The person then supplies it, but possibly only because he/she senses I am waiting for it. Awkward Social Situation.
(BTW, who am I to “bless” someone? Am I truly qualified? What if there is no genuine feeling behind the expression? Does that make the blessing null and void?)
Fantastic Betty Idea: Could we not just anoint about 700,000 people to be Sneeze Blessers? These good people, chosen to represent the rest of us, trained in intonation and timing, could be placed strategically across the country. If a Sneeze Blesser (SB) were in the area when you sneezed, then you would get blessed. If not, then, you wouldn't. No Big Deal. It was a matter of chance anyway. The SB's could be viewed in the same light as leprechauns or other lucky icons. Think of the dinner time conversations. “There I was on a train and I had to sneeze. Would you believe there was a Sneeze Blesser right across from me? Can you believe my good luck?”
Rant Continues: Remain Seated With Your Seat Belts Securely Fastened.
Scene in Betty’s Class: Jumpy 17 year-olds and 18 year-olds come in, rustle about, spend five-ten minutes getting settled in class. Betty calls for some silent, individual writing. Notebooks fly from backpacks. More chatter in the ranks. Pens and pencils are fetched; there is a general hesitancy to be still and quiet and focused. Last minute phrases are uttered to one another, laughter erupts from row one. Betty sends Teacher Glare in general vicinity of laughter. Finally, finally, finally, all students are quiet and writing. Two minutes pass. Peace. Tranquility. Creativity.
Then it happens: One. Student. Sneezes.
One student says the dreaded words: “Bless You.”
Sure enough, like someone has flipped on the ON switch of the hot air popper of etiquette, individual students erupt like kernels of popcorn with individual “Bless You's” and the sneezer says her thank you's and the silence and concentration is gone, gone, gone.
Now, Betty is a good person and I understand the whole concept and history of the "Bless You." However, my people, we no longer face the bubonic plague. Most of us no longer believe that the soul will escape during a sneeze or that our hearts will stop beating. Is it not time to rise above these superstitions and see sneezing for what it is—a convulsive expulsion of air, often releasing 40,000 droplets of saliva? Is this not something that we can all just see as a natural body function and not as a basis for a complicated/emotionally-charged social contract?
The Worst of the Rant is Over. Betty is Coming in for a Landing. Please Return Your Seats to Their Upright and Locked Positions.
HOB does not sneeze very often but when he does, everyone knows it.
It’s an event.
Now, when we first got married I discovered he had a habit that I found more than a little distasteful. (He claims he did this even while we were dating, but I don’t think so.)
If he had to sneeze while driving, he quickly rolled down his window, stuck his head out and let it go. He liked the fact that the saliva went straight out the window and not on his hands.
I told him this habit would cause trouble one day and sure enough it did.
It was a semi-warm day and we were driving in a crowded parking lot with extraordinarily high speed bumps. He had just cleared the bump with his front wheels and felt a sneeze coming on. He quickly rolled down his window and stuck his head out to let out a major sneeze, closing his eyes and spewing with the force of garden hose sent on “jet.”
When he opened his eyes, he found himself face-to-face with a driver who was also halfway through the speed bump going in the opposite direction and yes, her window was all the way down.
I’ll never forget the look of disgust and dismay on her face. I am sure she thought this Bozo had planned--rolling down his window at the precise moment her face would be directly in front of his.
She sat, frozen in shock, absolutely appalled, as I said to HOB, “Just go! Floor it! GO!!!” He did, gunning the engine and leaving her there still staring out her open window, with a look that can only be described as absolutely horrified and, well, a little moist too.
When my friend Diane placed the slice of raspberry tart in front of me, I gasped in delight.
It was not the butter-filled crust that made the smile appear on my face. It was not the anticipation of the sweet/sour/tart filling hitting my taste buds like a whack-a-mole game gone berserk.
No, my happiness sprang from the sight of all those little seeds within the dessert.
Oh, those seeds
I nearly squealed in happiness.
What was I thinking of? I was looking forward to the moment I could go home and be with my new BFF. Oh, there was going to be a party in my sink. The seeds from the raspberry tart, combined with remnants of the green salad and the black bean burrito I had consumed earlier? Oh yeah! It was going to look like a confetti bomb had gone off. I couldn’t wait.
You see, my friends, I am addicted. Addicted to the H2OPik. The Waterpik Experience.
(Oh! Do I share too much here? Do I overstep the bounds of good taste? Blame it on this little machine and its power! I must share! I must OVERSHARE!)
It was my dental hygienist who, after explaining to me in graphic detail how the gum on tooth number 26 was in grave danger and in need of immediate care by a periodontist, suggested that I get a Waterpik.
Now, Betty is all about oral hygiene—and practices extensively, mostly in the car. Driving time IS dental hygiene time. I floss in the car. I have bags of dental picks by my gearshift and, I have been known to stimulate my gums with a rubber-tipped gizmo at a stoplight. This is why I was surprised to hear things were amiss in Betty’s Boca.
My hygienist assured me that I had not caused the damage. She wrapped the rock of reality in a soft feather pillow of words and explained to me in carefully chosen language that aging may have played a part in the whole ugly affair.
However! She gave me hope that I could prevent such loss in the future with a Waterpik. I immediately seized upon a concept of this little miracle machine as a small Fountain of Youth for my gums and knew I must have one.
Now, I had a Waterpik earlier in my life. It was the old model that chugged along dispensing water from the large tank that sat upon the laboring motor. However, I discontinued using it when 1) the water started tasting like mold and 2) when my two boys discovered how to use it to shoot streams of water at the ceiling and at each other.
Much like Ponce de Leon would have done had there been a shopping mall nearby, I set out with enthusiasm and vigor, and explored the aisles of Target for a new Waterpik. I discovered that the basic models had changed somewhat and yet the concept was the same.
I picked up sleek new model that looked like it could blast out debris from 1974 and brought it home.
Oh. Oh. Oh. Fun Times.
Alas, knowing what kind of personality she was dealing with, my hygienist made a point of forbidding me from going beyond the number 2 setting. (It goes up to 10.) Oh! This kind of restraint is difficult for Betty who needs a rheostat for just about any new activity for which she is enthusiastic.
So far, I am happy to report, I have been able to control myself, but it’s difficult. I MAY have gone up to 4 or 5, maybe, just one time, but only after eating an entire bag of Swedish Fish, AND it was just one time. I went right back down to 2, so I know I can handle the higher pressures from time to time. Really. I can.
Let me tell you, there is something so incredibly fulfilling about standing over the sink and blasting out the remains of a meal from between your teeth. It’s an experience that can be translated metaphorically to so many areas. Imagine Waterpiking your social life and loosening the remnants of relationships that have started to decay. Envision Waterpiking your memories and watching those corrosive flashbacks to unpleasant times just fall away. Family gatherings just got better! Bring on the high school reunion!
OK…back to the sink.
I suppose this thrill will wear off eventually, but for now this activity is keeping Betty happy and her mind active.
Is it wrong to choose foods based on their WRV (Waterpik Remnant Value)? Could a rating of this value be established and placed the the labels of food?
It's something to think about.
All I know is now, when I sit down to a meal or a snack, I don’t count the calories in the granola bar. I don’t think about vitamin content in the grapes. I don't even consider the fat content in the bag of peanuts.
I just look forward to that Jackson Pollock moment at the sink.
Recently, I wrote about being happy because it was Persimmon season around. Since then, I've had requests for even more Persimmon 411.
Betty is here for you, my people.
Stand no longer out on the porch in the bleak cold of fruit darkness. Step in to awareness and into the house of fruit where the warm orange glow of the persimmon hangs like a World Market Japanese lantern in the center of the room.
(This post also gives me an excuse to use some more of the pictures of persimmons I took too! Bonus!)
Around here there are two types of persimmons: the Hachiya and the Fuyu.
Be careful--like fraternal twin sisters they look somewhat alike, but are different in some important ways.
The Hachiya is heart-shaped, a little bigger on the top than on the bottom and is categorized as "astringent." Oh, she is indeed astringent" No doubt this term would have been inscribed below her senior picture as she stood posing for her picture in her cheerleader sweater that accented her bigger top half.
Unfortunately, though beautiful, this fruit is not friendly at all while it is young and shows no mercy should you dare approach it before it is ready. One bite of an unripe Hachiya and your mouth will pucker up, you will roll on the ground and pray for mercy. Unfortunately, this sister has sent many men and women to fruit convents and monasteries, swearing off all persimmons forever. It's a shame really, because later on in life, she does become sweeter and more palatable. Like many fruits/people all she needs is time, patience, and maybe some alcohol or or little carbon dioxide to soften up and become sweeter.
Ah, but Hachiya's twin sister, Fuyu! She's the round gal pictured above.
She might not have the body to be a cheerleader, but she is a cutie and so friendly too! (Think "Yearbook Staff.") She gets sweeter as time goes on, but is palatable at just about any time. What I like about this persimmon is that it is a true and honest fruit, not overly-sweet or cloying. It is not sappy, syrupy, nor overly sentimental. She signs the yearbook she helped design in an efficient way, but does not promise to keep in touch. She knows her season here is short and accepts that she will never be a wildly-popular fruit and, by golly, likes it that way.
So now that I have anthropomorphized this fruit, let's cut one open and look at the guts, shall we?
Stay with me now and focus. Preparing the persimmon is complicated.
Step One: Look longingly at fruit, admiring flower at top.
Step Two: Chop off flower and throw away.
(Or save for cruel Monday Morning Flower Blog Hoax.)
3) Slice up and eat. (I think you can handle that final step without a tutorial.)
Here's a persimmons tree that is about four blocks from our house. It is just along the street and as you can see, the owners have covered it with net, presumably to keep the birds from pecking at the fruit.
However, what is currently bugging Betty is that those fruits are ready to come off and be eaten! They speak to me each and every time I walk by and yet, they remain on the tree.
Have they been forgotten by the owners?
Have the owners become weakened by a mysterious mold infestation on their home and they are unable to pick the fruit?
Have the owners become too involved in running a meth lab in their suburban home that they no longer care about this fruit?
Is it not my civic duty to liberate these beauties?
I talk to HOB about this, clicking my scissors in the air and whispering "Its Harvest Time! It's Harvest Time!" and yet he shows, well, a lack of courage in this area.
Until he decides to help me in my fruit-liberation campaign, I shall continue purchasing persimmons in the stores and enjoying them for the short time they are around.
OK, OK, Yesterday's Mystery Flower was a banana peel, actually a lot of them.
You see, every morning I eat a half of a banana so I sort of just whack a whole one in half as it hangs from the banana hanger in the kitchen. By the end of the week, I have a bunch of halves hanging from the main stem.
I kept them on the stem and peeled them for banana bread, but was sort of fascinated by the group of peels I had in my hand. So, naturally, I stuck them in a vase for you.
(You're so welcome!!)
So, I guess I sort of owe you a flower, don't I?
Here is it AND a poem too.
You love the roses - so do I. I wish They sky would rain down roses, as they rain From off the shaken bush. Why will it not? Then all the valley would be pink and white And soft to tread on. They would fall as light As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
Happy Saturday! Hope your weekend is off to a good start.
Today's subject is signs.
Before we get to the visual portion of our program, we need to discuss politics. I would like your support on a proposition I hope to see on the ballet next time around.
Here's the gist of it:
Once the election results are in, the winners have ONE WEEK in which to remove ALL of the political signs they put up prior to the election. If even a single sign remains up after one week, the office is taken away and given to the runner-up, but only if that person has also removed all signs.
Are you with me on this, people?
Thanks for your support.
This is one of my favorite signs of all times. I start most conversations with these exact words. Yes, that is a plastic owl on the top. They do this a lot in California in the hope of scaring seagulls away. When HOB and I first moved to California and saw one of these, we thought it was a real one and actually threw pennies at it to try and get it to move. I am sure those around us were very entertained.
This is a sign that welcomes people in a nearby town just as they get off the freeway. Betty totally approves of this sign. (It's semi-bossy; don't you think?) I would probably add the words, "Damn it!" to the end, just to give it that Betty touch.
I have looked all over for some clean dirt to give to these people, but all the dirt around here is, well...pretty dirty.
Not only is it silver, but it's also alive!
<That's HOB holding up a portion of the sign on the fence of the school that is near our house. Unfortunately, one of the zip ties came loose, resulting in this very sad result:
Here's what the sign looks like without HOB's help.
Thanks for stopping by and for all your very kind comments on my last post.