Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This Scattered Life


My Blogging Buddies,

When I started this blog three years ago I came up with the moniker of Bossy Betty thinking I could use some snappy persona and write from that perspective, hiding behind a mask of irreverence. The irony is that through blogging and the connections I made with my readers, I found that I couldn't be anything by authentic in my writing.

Maybe that is a strength; maybe it is a weakness.

Recent events in my life have pretty much stripped all remaining pretenses from my life. I find that I have no choice but to be authentic. I have no energy for anything but authenticity.

Unfortunately, that honesty comes with an emotional price. At this point in my life I am trying to deal with research papers, wrapping paper, and divorce papers. I am trying to keep my head above water. Just when I think I have a handle on this whole divorce thing, new revelations come to the surface and threaten to drown me. Just when I think I can't be hurt in any new ways, I find out differently.

So, I am taking a blogging break. I need some time to gather myself, to make sure my sons have some much-needed emotional stability, and to just try and make it through the holidays.

I'll be back, my pretties.

I love you too much to not haunt you with my every observation.

Have a wonderful holiday season and I'll see you soon.

--BB

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers


Happy Monday Morning, Everyone.

Sorry I have not been around lately.

It's been a little crazy here.

I hope to get back into my writing groove very soon.

Flowers and treats ahead for you!





Someone's idea of a joke at the Department Christmas Party:


Christmas is a time when everybody wants his past forgotten and his present remembered. What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.

--Phyllis Diller


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "A Walk" by Rainer Maria Rilke



A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.


--Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Robert Bly


Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers



Happy Monday to you all!

Here's hoping you have a great week ahead!





My legs are still recovering from the Secret Stair Hike, but it was so much fun!


We passed by some great architecture.



We also passed one of these. Can you guess what it is?



You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

--Steve Jobs

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Secret Stair Walk! Silver Lake


Hi everybody!

Yesterday, it was time for another Secret Stair Walk. Regular readers know these are walks that explore the system of stairs built into the hills in the Los Angeles area in the 1920's.

This time we headed to Silver Lake.



Here are my hiking buddies and me, ready to hit the trail!



This walk had 705 stairs and included this set which was featured in the 1932 Laurel and Hardy movie The Music Box. The duo try to move a piano up these stairs. I managed to move just my body up them and felt quite accomplished.



It was a gorgeous day in Los Angeles. The temps were in the upper '70's.
This Kansas girl still can't quite believe this is December weather.



Naturally, after the hike, it was time to eat! We found a fabulous restaurant called "Local." The food was great. Attention: set a plate of spicy French fries and a bowl of ranch dressing down in front of some hungry women and then, for your own safety, step away from the table.



This was the bathroom attendant at the restaurant. He was a little alarming upon first opening the door to the bathroom, but he was really very nice once you got to know him.

I had a fabulous time on the Secret Stair walk.



Oh! And I found my new builders along the way!


Hope you are all having great Sundays!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Bumpits Explained.


I mentioned Bumpits in my last post and got some questions.

I see that I must take it upon myself to educate some of my uninformed blogger buddies about this essential beauty product.





My friend who got me the Bumpits reported that she got them at the dollar store.

Humm...could it be the Bumpits craze is over and someone forgot to tell me?


Thursday, December 8, 2011

OH. OH. OH.



As many of you may know, I am doing my best to skip Christmas this year.



Most of my friends at work know this, so when my good friend presented me with string of lights that called out "HO, HO, HO," I glared at her and said, "What are you thinking?"



She quickly pointed out that by flipping them around they read "OH, OH, OH."



Since this is what I frequently say when grading papers (in a groaning voice), it seemed totally appropriate to hang them above my computer.



Oh. Oh. Oh.



Yeah. That sums it up nicely. Don't you think?







Note: Why yes, that IS a tiara on my shelf!

And yes, I DO wear it occasionally.

Is that a problem?



And yes, my observant readers! Those ARE Bump-Its to the right of the tiara. After reading hundreds of essays and going a little insane, my co-workers and I sometimes resort to sticking Bump-Its on our heads and puffing up our hair like prom queens while we drink highly-caffeinated beverages and eat candy.



OH. OH. OH.



Is it the end of the semester yet?



OH. OH. OH.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cranberry Bread Jubilee


As many of you will remember from Monday's post, I took in mini-loaves of Cranberry Nut Bread to my department meeting.

Many of my colleagues went into a state of rapture as they bit into their loaves.

One even started thumping her hand on the table like a happy rabbit.

Oh yes, Cranberry Nut Bread has magical properties.

Now, in a fit of generosity, I present two, TWO recipes that will make those around you happy rabbits as well.

Use your baking power wisely, my friends.





CLASSIC CRANBERRY NUT BREAD


INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).

Betty's Bonus Note: I make this in my mini-loaf pans and it takes about 25 minutes to bake.



True Confession: I didn't want to fall in love with another Cranberry Bread recipe, but I did when I tried this one:


CRANBERRY PUMPKIN BREAD

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped

(I throw some nuts in there too!)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients, except cranberries, in a separate mixing bowl. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moist. Stir in cranberries.

Spread evenly in a loaf pan. Bake 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Betty's Bonus Note: Same as above. What? You want a different Bonus Note? One is not enough?



I used to date the lead singer of The Cranberries, but she cheated on me. Turns out she had some turkey on the side.
--Jarod Kintz


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "Journey" by Mary Oliver



The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

--Mary Oliver

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers


Good Morning!

It's Monday! A chance for a new start.

Pass Go. Collect $200.o0

Which Monopoly piece would you like to be this week?


I got my baking ya-ya's out yesterday when I made sixteen mini-loaves of Cranberry Nut Bread. Fifteen of those will be making their way to our department meeting today.

(One of them has already made its way into my stomach.)


In the middle of my baking frenzy, I remembered I needed some flowers for all you lovelies today.

So, I looked out in my back yard, picked up my camera and braved the bitter mid-60's weather to capture these for you.

The recent winds we had did a number on many of our plants, but I found these beauties ready to pose.





Oh! And I found one more apple on the tree! Yay!



Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

--Khalil Gibran

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Lights Everywhere



The days just after my husband left are pretty much a blur now. I was in so much emotional pain, I could barely see straight.

I do remember, however, my friend, Lori, coming over that first day I was alone in the house and giving me a package of automatic night lights. I remember thinking it was such an odd present.

My world was falling apart and she was giving me little plastic night-lights?

I was sure she meant well, but I was confused. I had never used night-lights. Why would I need them?

I didn't understand. I thanked her and then set them aside.


Then, night fell.

Then I understood.

Lights that guide me.

I put one in the hallway and one in the dining room. Sensing the darkness, those trusty little lights come on at dusk and provide a soft glow for me all through the night. I can see them shining from my open bedroom door. If I need to go out to the kitchen, or make my way out to the living room, they light my way.

Lights that sustain me.

Before he moved to Virginia, Sonny Boy gave me about seven small flashlights he had gotten on sale. He had no idea of the events to come, but those little flashlights, placed all over the house, have been a comfort to me.

I have used them to search in the corners of dark drawers and to look under the bed when I can’t find my shoes. I have one beside my bed and one just inside the door to the garage. I take one out with me when I go walking at night.

Each time I use one, I think of Sonny Boy. He and his brother--my sons--those two beautiful stars in my universe, help me remember my place in the family constellation during this confusing time.

I may not be a wife to my husband any longer, but I those two steady sources of light will never exit from my sky.

By them, I will always be able to set my course in life.

Lights that comfort me.

In a post about two months ago, I bemoaned coming home to a darkened house on the night I teach late, and over and over again, you, my blogging buddies, suggested a timer on my lamp.

You would think I would have thought of that on my own, but at the time, I was dumbfounded and just stumbling through my days. It was a simple suggestion, but what a difference it has made.

I put the timer on and each night my lamp comes on at 5:30 and goes off at 9:30. I love the dependability of my timer. I love the dependability of the blogging community.

How do I get my arms around all of you?

Lights that humble me.

In one of the sweetest gestures, my blogging friend, Inkpuddle, wrote a note to me to tell me that she had remembered my post about my house being dark on Wednesday night. She wrote, “I thought of you and turned on a light in my living room today, right by the window, before I went in for the night shift. I guess I just wanted you to have a light on tonight, even if it was all the way in Atlanta and you wouldn’t really see it; it was all of the support behind it that I hoped you would feel.”

Her kindness brought tears to my eyes. A light in Atlanta. For me. No, I couldn't see it, but I could feel it.

Lights that warm me.

My friend Steve sent me a lovely heart-shaped candle holder and candles from his home in West Virginia to remind me that I am loved.

Another friend wouldn’t leave my house one night until she was sure my automatic porch light was working. She waited patiently to test it over and over again.

Periodically, my phone lights up with pictures of my great-nephew from my niece, or messages of love from my family and friends.

Lights. Lights. Everywhere beautiful little lights.

It is late November and so, now when I am out walking in the evening I am surprised and delighted by the Christmas lights that are popping up all over my neighborhood. I look at all those little lights, each one so little, but each one so important.

I smile as I pass by those displays and I think about these past three months and the things I have learned.

In the past, when my friends have faced difficulties, I have felt that my card, call, or hug, would be puny and insignificant in comparison to the weight of their plight. However, now I know that even the smallest light, physical or metaphorical, can lesson the heaviness of the darkness that will, inevitably, fall in all our lives.

I think back to my first night alone and Lori’s simple gift of those night-lights and I know now they were, of course, the perfect present.


Sensing darkness and automatically responding.

Lighting up a path for the temporarily lost.

Providing light, gentle guidance, warmth, and dependability.


Isn’t that what friendship is all about?


Little Lights.

Everywhere.

Beautiful little lights.


Thank you all.

I am grateful for each and every one.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers

Happy Monday, Everyone!

It's back to our regularly scheduled lives.

Are you ready?





What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.

--Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


Mabel: The Cautionary Cat.

Know when you've had enough turkey.

Back away from the table before it's too late.


Sending lots of love to you and yours this Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Holidays

I sort of know how he feels.


With apologies to all those who get all gooey-eyed over the holidays, this whole divorce thing is a real buzz kill during the holiday season.

Betty does not like changes.

This year has been all about changes.

The holidays will be different too. Really different.

My simple plan this year is to get through them.

That's it.

Just get through them.

HOB and I will not be together for the first time in thirty years. In the spirit of kinship, I invited him to eat with Evan and I for Thanksgiving, but he declined.

For the first time, Sonny Boy will not be home for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving without my boy will be hard enough, but it seems especially hard right now. We will miss him and his girlfriend, but it's too far for them to travel for the short time they could stay.

The good news: Evan is coming home for this first time since he left for college in August! Yay! I will be so happy to see him. I plan to get my Mama ya-ya's out. He and I will go over to a friend's house for dinner. I am grateful for her hospitality and kindness.

I just have to make it through the one day.

I'll get through Thanksgiving.

I will.

OK.

Then comes Christmas.

Oh man. Sonny Boy and his girlfriend won't be able to come home for Christmas either and we can't go there for the holiday. This tears me up.

I am normally a Christmas nut, and start decorating just after Thanksgiving, but when I think about unpacking those ornaments, (so many representing our years together) and unpacking those stockings, (ooooo...the four matching stockings my mom made). On top of that, every year I pack away lots of family pictures I display only at Christmas time. Needless to say, I won't open that box this year.

To tell you the truth, I would just like to crawl in a box instead and wait for the hideous green and red cloud to pass over.

Since we don't live near any family members, I have always made a big stinking deal out of making and sticking to our own family traditions. I usually decorate the house like crazy. I think I should do the same this year for Evan's sake. I want him to have something of the old life we used to have.

But what I really want to do is to turn off the lights, lock the door, and wait for December to be over.

Yes, both of these holidays are wonderful and yes, I am grateful for all I have and recognize how truly lucky I am. I don't mean to sound pathetic, woe-is-me, etc. It's just that these holidays somehow put in stark relief the way things are vs. the way things used to be.

And I have enough of that thing on a daily basis.

(Have I mentioned I really don't like change?)

Everyone I have talked to who has gone through this tells me that the first holidays are the worst, but once you get through them, everything gets better.

So, I am taking it just one day at a time.

Just one holiday at a time.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop



One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.


--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


--Elizabeth Bishop

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers


Everybody knows my followers are astute, sophisticated, and just plain good-looking people.

Indeed, as you look around your Thanksgiving table this Thursday, you have my permission to say loudly, "I am the best looking person in this room."

(My friends from other countries, never fear. You are granted this permission as well even though you do not celebrate the American form of Thanksgiving. )


Looks aren't everything though.

Now, let's boost your intellectual self-esteem with a complex quiz.

Based on your Monday Morning Flowers, shipped to you straight from the land of fruits and nuts, what weather would you say occurred in southern California this weekend?







Come on.

You can do this.

I believe in you.

(If you pass this quiz, you are permitted to claim that you are the smartest person in the room as well.)

Your family will adore you for your honesty.



Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

--Rabindranath Tagore


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Secret Stair Walk! Hollywood!


Hello, My People!



Yesterday, some gal pals and I ventured into Hollywood to take another Secret Stair Walk.


Some of you may remember these are hikes that explore the staircases built into the hillsides of the Los Angeles area in the 1920's when the idea was that LA would be built around a trolley system.

Here's Karen, leading the pack up one of the staircases.
She was our fearless guide and carried the all-important guide book.


Here's just one of the many staircases. They are challenging, and maybe a little addicting too. There were a total of 421 stairs on this walk.



The hike went through a great neighborhood, full of architectural surprises, like these two orange houses.



This campanile-style tower is actually an elevator for thirty of the residents that live in the area.



It was a relatively clear day and so we went up by the Hollywood sign and got a great view of the city.



It was such a fun day with some fun people!

I can't wait to do another Secret Stair Hike soon.

Hope you are having great Sundays!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Number, Please



The other night I went for a run/walk a little later than I usually do. I don't normally take my cell phone with me on these jaunts because I don't like it flopping around in my pocket. It was already starting to get dark when I left the house, but I had a lot of ya-ya's to get out and nothing was going to stop me.

About thirty minutes into my route, as I turned the corner to go down what passes for a hill in our neighborhood, I realized I was in a part of town without streetlights. The surface of the street was uneven and suddenly I had a vision of myself, tripping, falling and sprawling out on the dark street, bloodied and bruised.

I suddenly freaked out just a little.
It was not that image that sent a flare of worry up into my brain.

It wasn't the potential pain or the potential disfigurement that bothered me.

No, I envisioned the scene after the fall in which worried villagers gathered around me with flashlights. (Well, in my dramatic vision, they held lanterns.) With furrowed brows, they ask what number they should call so someone can come and pick up my mangled body.

It suddenly dawned on me that I know only five current phone numbers from memory. One of them is mine and two of them are the numbers of my sons who are far away. One is for HOB (who is far away in another way) and the other number is for the house phone of my good friend who is not home very much.

Yikes. I thought. Really? I only have one or two viable local numbers stored in my brain? I slowed down just a little, hopped back on the sidewalk, and headed for a better-lit section of town.

When I got home, I looked at my cell phone suspiciously. It IS very nice to just whip down that list of names and poke around until the hard working little robot bugs inside the phone do the work of remembering the number and make the call for me.

However, before I had a cell phone, I had an entire little section of my brain devoted to storing those ten or seven digit numbers. If I didn't remember a phone number, I reached for the Rolodex and found it quickly and dialed it for myself. Once I dialed it enough, it went into the filing cabinet in my cranium.

Now, when someone gives me a phone number, I program it directly into my phone and neglect to write it down at all. The phone swallows the number, replaces it with a name, and tells me to just go have a drink--it has taken care of everything. I am flattered and lulled into the sweet seduction.

"OK," I say. "Thank you very much."

"Would you like a cookie too?" it asks.

"Why, yes I would," I answer.

I think about people who lose their phones. How do they get all those numbers back? What if my phone was eaten by a rabid dog? Run over by a car? Stolen by terrorists? Flushed down the toilet? Experienced spontaneous combustion?

This weekend, I've decided to record (on actual paper!) some of those numbers that are only in my phone. I may even try to memorize a few more numbers of local friends. It will take some time and effort.

My phone, sensing its potential loss of power, may try talk me out of it, but I will be strong.

Well, unless it offers me a Diet Pepsi and chocolate chip cookies with walnuts.

Then, it's all over.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude




When we do the best that we can, we never really know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.



--Helen Keller


It would be safe to say that in the first few weeks after HOB’s (Husband of Betty) sudden departure from our marriage, I was not in any condition to fully participate in life. What I really wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and retreat from the world.


However, the world had other ideas.



Some of you might recall that just after HOB left, the pipe in the bathroom wall leaked, and did a lot of damage to the house. Besides dealing with that, I had to get a new bank account and try to maneuver in all things financial on my own.

It was all pretty overwhelming to this woman whose life had been shattered in an instant. I walked around in a dazed state. I couldn’t speak right. I couldn’t see straight. I had to use the GPS in my car just to make sure I got to the job I had been going to for twenty years.

I had never filed an insurance claim in my life, but one of my friends told me to call the insurance company and tell them about the leak and water damage. I was shaking and weak as I dialed the number and explained the situation. The woman on the line told me a claims representative would call me. Based on what HOB had told me of another claim he had made in the past, I did not hold out much hope that the company would be able to help me.

Then, Brieanna, claims representative extraordinaire, contacted me.



From her first phone call with me, she was kind, considerate, professional and warm. I told her I had never filed a claim before and she walked me through all the steps. She told me who to call, what to say, and gave me her contact information. She kept in touch throughout the entire process.



One day, she caught me when I was feeling down and scared. My voice cracked and I started to cry as I asked question after question. I finally told her why I was alone in the house, why I was placing the claim, and why I was asking so many questions. Her voice was steady, calm, and empathic as she assured me she understood.



She may never know just how much her reassurance and warm personality made a difference on that day. I drove to work a little less stressed, a little more at ease than I had been for a long time.


About a week after he left, HOB decided it was time to close our joint bank account, and so we went to our credit union and he sat with me at the desk of Tina, an accounts manager there. I was shell-shocked and did not want to close the account that HOB and I had shared for so many years. However, he was insistent that we start separating our assets.



I just sat, like a small child, and let HOB tell Tina that I would need a new, separate account in my name only. I watched her as she gathered the necessary papers, and worked at the computer. Just a few weeks prior, I had sat at her desk with Evan, arranging his college account and talking cheerfully about her upcoming wedding. I saw the wedding rings on her hand, but could not trust myself to ask her anything about her big day.



Instead, I sat trying to comprehend what was happening. This act of separating accounts was surreal to me. I still couldn’t completely understand it. For thirty years we had shared this account. It was familiar. It was secure. It signified that we were in this life together. I still wanted to share it, but HOB was ready separate the funds and move on with his new life.

I sat and tried to answer the questions Tina asked. She worked efficiently and professionally. What I appreciated was that even though she probably knew exactly what was going on, she kept up her professional, but kind demeanor. Best of all, she directed all her questions to me, even though, out of habit, I occasionally looked to HOB to answer some of them.

My hand was shaking as I signed paper after paper. I tried hard not to cry as I saw the joint share holder line crossed out time and time again on all the forms. Because of my mental state at the time, I could have easily fallen apart. One word spoken too softly, one misplaced question from her, and I would have lost it completely. Instead her tone and her behavior helped me keep my composure.



Because of Tina’s actions and attitude throughout the whole process, she allowed me a measure of badly needed grace and dignity. It was a gift to me that day, and I am still grateful for it.

Diana is a teller at that same credit union. After I established my own account, I had trouble getting into it. I felt stupid. Idiots all over America could set up a simple online back account, but I couldn’t even figure out where to put my password and when I did I screwed it up royally.



I started to doubt my ability to function without HOB. Could I really do this? My self-esteem was at an all-time low. I cried over my computer as time after time I failed to establish my online account.



Finally, I went into the credit union and was lucky enough to walk up to Diana’s window when it was my turn. I told her I was having trouble, and she immediately assured me that it would be fine. She called to have my password re-set, and then walked me through all the steps on the computer in lobby, making sure I had it all down before I left.



Over the past few months, she has consistently helped me with all my questions. Just recently, she went out of her way to help me secure a letter I needed from the main office. In each and every transaction she has never been in the least bit impatient, and has always been generous and warm. When I go into the branch office now, I smile when I see her behind the counter. I wonder if she knows how many lives she touches in a positive way throughout her work day.


I am so grateful for these women and the kindness they have shown to me. The weeks just after HOB left were hard. I was so vulnerable and weak.



True, all three of them were just doing their jobs and yet, the way in which they did those jobs made all the difference in the world to me. Yes, they gave me good service, but more importantly they helped me restore some confidence in myself when I needed it the most.



It makes me think about how I deal with people in my job. It reminds me that we never really know what another person is going through and just by our actions we can make a huge difference in someone’s world.

So, here’s to Brieanna, Tina and Diana. Thanks for doing your jobs so well and with so much heart. In a few months, you may not even remember our interaction, but I will remember your kindness forever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "November Rain" by Linda Pastan



November Rain

How separate we are
under our black umbrellas—dark
planets in our own small orbits,

hiding from this wet assault
of weather as if water
would violate the skin,

as if these raised silk canopies
could protect us
from whatever is coming next—

December with its white
enamel surfaces; the numbing
silences of winter.

From above we must look
like a family of bats—
ribbed wings spread

against the rain,
swooping towards any
makeshift shelter.

--Linda Pastan

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers Plus Ultra-Revealing Rorschach Test


Good Monday Morning, My Beautiful Ones!


Below are your weekly flowers.

Just what do YOU see when you look at these beautiful creations?

Dr. Betty wants to know....

I shall record it in my Big Book of Psychological Profiles I keep on all my readers.





Look carefully.

Respond Carefully.

Your response will reveal your innermost desires.


Here's to a happy week!



Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.

--Erma Bombeck


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lunch with LG!

Hi Everybody!

(I am sorry I have been away. It's been a crazy week!
I am looking forward to getting back to my regular blogging schedule.)


A while ago, a strange man contacted me via e-mail and asked to meet me in Los Angeles.

Naturally, I said yes.

So last Sunday I got dolled up and followed the instructions this man gave me and I am so glad I did!

Did I mention this man was my delightfully strange and incredibly witty blogging buddy, Lazarus, from the LG Report?


Lazarus and his lovely wife were visiting from Pennsylvania and were gracious enough to meet with me and even treat me to lunch! It was so much fun to meet a blogging buddy. It felt like we were old friends. It reminded me of how wonderful the blogging community is.

(Oh, and his wife is a peach! An absolute peach!)


If you haven't stopped by The LG Report, I suggest you do.

(The restaurant was pretty noisy, but I am pretty sure that at some point in our conversation over lunch, he promised to give all my readers who dropped by $50.00 each.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers


Happy Monday!

Hope it's a happy one!


Here are your Monday Morning Flowers.

I think they might have come from Mars.


Garden Update: Here in California, the tomatoes are almost gone. We go out and search the vines, hoping for just one or two more.

Just one or two more....


My friend, Karen, had a bumper crop this year. In fact, the vines decided to come in the house and make themselves at home. I think this one was headed for the TV room.




Here's Sherman who also lives in the same house and may have had a small part in helping those tomato plants create an opening in the screen through which to invade.

Awwww....never mind. Look at that face. He's got to be innocent. Right?



A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.

-- Laurie Colwin