Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers and Blog Break

Good Mondays, My People.

Hope you are having a wonderful start to the week.

Lots going on here.

It's a confusing time and I need to take a short break to gather my thoughts and strength.

I'll see you in a week (or less) and I'll try to visit your blogs when I can.

Almost all the ideas we have about being a man or being a woman are so burdened with pain, anxiety, fear and self-doubt. For many of us, the confusion around this question is excruciating.

--Andrew Cohen

Friday, August 26, 2011

The First Week

Sometimes life just sort of knocks on your noggin to remind you to look up and look around at that blue light flashing in the life lesson department.

This past week at school has been a busy one. I teach at a community college and our classrooms are packed this first week. The students who attend our college run the gamut from honor students straight from high school and first-time students straight from prison

Teaching can be an insular activity. We teachers get used to our own long lists of rules and regulations. We tend to teach the same things semester after semester and so, often times, we can get complacent about explaining things to students. After all, didn’t we just go over this information 18 weeks ago?

However, sometimes students have never dealt with a syllabus before. They have never purchased textbooks before. They may not know what a scantron, print card, or a blue book is.

As we walked away from our son, a freshman, at the university a week ago, I turned one last time to see him concentrating on entering the key code for his dorm room. I knew that he had a lot to learn as he maneuvered the college system. I prayed that he would have kind and patient teachers who would understand the transition from high school to college. I hoped he would have teachers who would look out for students who are struggling and would reach out to them.

I would like to think I am always sensitive and considerate to my students, but I know sometimes I am not as patient as I should be. Sometimes I assume too much, rush through the classroom rules and regulations too quickly, or give late students the stink eye on the first day.

This semester though, I remembered that boy I left at the university and how I wanted him to be treated. I gave my students a few more minutes to get to class; I explained the way the class would work more thoroughly. I stood beside computers and repeated the same information over and over until my students were able to master the online portion of our class.

Exhausted? Yes, I am.

My throat is sore from talking. My feel hurt from walking around the classroom. My brain is scrambled from trying to remember 150 new names.

However, I’ll go back next week and do it all again, always remembering to do it the way I would want it done for that son of mine, who, though far away, continues to teach this teacher.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We Interrupt This Week For Cookies

Sometimes a girl just has to have a cookie.

I think everybody understands this.

The other day I got the idea to make oatmeal cookies with coconut, pecans, and mini-peanut butter cups.

Whooooooo! They came out great!


1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup (or more chopped pecans)
3/4 cup mini peanut butter cups

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats, coconut, pecans, and peanut butter. Mix well.

Note! You can add a little bit of almond extract to the mixture. Don't go overboard. Don't go crazy. You know how you can get.

Hope you enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Sister, Eileen!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "At Summer's End" by John Engels

Early August, and the young butternut
is already dropping its leaves, the nuts
thud and ring on the tin roof,

the squirrels are everywhere.
Such richness! It means something to them
that this tree should seem so eager

to finish its business.
The voice softens, and word becomes air
the moment it is spoken. You finger the limp leaves.

Precisely to the degree that you have loved something:
a house, a woman, a bird, this tree, anything at all,
you are punished by time.

Like the tree,
I take myself by surprise.

--John Engels

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers and Weekend Update

Happy Monday Morning!

Thanks for all your words of support.

We got the boy moved in to his college dorm room.

This house seems very, very quiet now.

I go back to work today! The first days of the semester are exciting ones, but also tiring.

I am having my 101 students start blogs and maintain them.

That means I'll have 60 blogs to get going and keep track of.

Wish me luck and forgive me if I am scarce around the blogosphere for a short time.

Gotta hatch those Baby Bloggers and encourage a love of writing!

Happy Monday, my friends!

Beginnings are always messy.

--John Galsworthy

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Time

It's time.

We've bought the extra long twin sheets. We've gathered up office supplies. We've packed up his computer and printer. We've run out all the information from the college about where to park at the dorm for the fifteen minute unloading session.

Logistically, we are ready to move Evan to college today.

This move has been in the plans for months and still, I look at his suitcase packed with his t-shirts and jeans and my throat gets tight.

I have seen that suitcase packed up for trips before, but on those trips, he always came back with us.

This time he won't.

My regular readers know that my oldest son left just a few weeks ago to go to graduate school in Virginia.

Now this one flies away to a college nine hours away.

I am not ready for this empty nest.

I'll miss hearing those footsteps in the hall. I'll miss the music from his room. I'll miss buying the snacks I know he likes.

I'll miss all of his friends who have made this house their second home.

I am proud of this boy--my youngest son--and I want the world for him. I am so happy he has this opportunity.

I am the one who urged him to spread his wings and fly away to a four-year university and yet...

and yet...

and yet...

I know when we leave him at his dorm, wave goodbye, and turn toward home without him, it will feel like the most unnatural act in the world.

Every fiber of my being will long to turn the car around for just one more smile,

just one more conversation,

just one more hug.

What a blessed and wonderful life I have. What a blessed and wonderful life my children have. They are springing into their adult lives from a firm foundation of a loving family.

All of the changes that happening now are good and right and I am grateful for it all.

Please understand.

It's not the boy I want to hold back.

It's time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Was The Theme of Your Summer?

We teachers trudge back to campus today for meetings.

Alas, could it be that summer is behind us?


My eyes burn just considering that possibility.

Fetch Betty a Kleenex, pronto.

I believe every summer should have a theme.

In the past, mine have included "Summer of Traveling," "Summer of Service," and "Summer of Health."

This year it was "Summer of Home Improvement."

First, we got a new roof. (Evan and Dan playing on the roof mid-job.)

We also got the house painted and installed new doo-dads on the front porch.

Warning: These next few pictures are devastatingly exciting.

Try to control yourselves.

New Light

New Mailbox

New Door Handles.

HOB and I installed these items together.

There were power tools involved and everything.

Sooooooo. What was the theme of YOUR summer?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever

I live in Strawberry Country.

It's the number one crop here, but the season is almost over.


I made a trip out to one of the fields to take some pictures before the end.

Hope you had your fill of strawberries this year!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "Homage to My Hips" by Lucille Clifton

Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

--Lucille Clifton

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers/Happy Anniversary, HOB!

Good Monday Morning!

Today I am posting some of my favorite flower pictures in honor of a special person.

Happy Anniversary to my husband!

Thanks for 30 great years!

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.

--Morrie Schwartz

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Do You Know THE Way?

Conversation overhead in restaurant in northern California:

Father: "Do you hear what you are saying? When did you start talking like this?"

Daughter: (shrugging and smiling) "It just happens."

Father: "It happened to your sisters too. I mean what’s the deal?"

The father looked over at me, aware I was eavesdropping.

Father: (to me) "Do you hear what she's saying? 'Are you are going to drive on THE 5? What do you mean by THE 101? Take THE 405?' What’s that all about?"

I smiled and nodded. I knew exactly what he was talking about.

He continued: "I raised three daughters in northern California and all three went to school in southern California. As soon as they got there, they started putting 'the' in front of all the roads.

I was smiling because I had just been in Colorado having a similar conversation with some of my family members who claimed that it was strange to hear the way I described the route to and from places. “Should I take the 70?”

Apparently, people in other areas don’t put “the” in front of the name of the highways/roads.

Or do they?

Speak to me. Tell me about it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Button, Button, Who Has The Button?

My mom had a button collection and I recall playing with it for hours.

I still have a big pile of buttons around the house, just to look at and play with.

Naturally, that means tormenting the cats just a little....

Zelda is not amused....

Speaking of not being amused--the vet actually told us that Mabel was overweight.

She is currently on a diet and is not amused.

Wish us ALL luck on this one!

Happy Saturdays to you all!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Betty's Bonus Beauty Tip!

I think we all know great beauty does not just happen.
It takes work.

Hard work.

Some of you readers will remember my post about my hair titled Scared Straight in which I detailed the various challenges I face with my fine, limp, flat tresses.

Short of purchasing an industrial strength Bump It, I have tried nearly everything to give my hair that fabulous little poof at the top of the scalp that subliminally implants in people's minds the idea that great thoughts have pooled inside the skull and need to come out immediately.

I was expounding upon my poof dilemma and holding my hair straight above my head (and probably talking REALLY LOUDLY to demonstrate my frustration,) when my son's girlfriend came up with a great idea.

What was that great idea, you ask?

Well, just take a look at this.

I bought this head massager to play with in the van when we were on vacay in Colorado

Looks like just a normal head massager, doesn't it?

Oh! But look what happens when you place it on your head and gather all the hair around the top!

The ordinary head massager becomes a magical hair root lifter!

For maximum effect, put your hair up damp and allow it to dry.

This gives you plenty of time to visit the neighbors as you complete your beauty routine.

Betty's at the door!

That's funny....
I could have sworn they were home when I looked in their windows earlier.

In about a half an hour, take out the massager and enjoy your puffy hair!

Can you say WOW?

Strangely enough, even after I demonstrated the incredible effectiveness of her idea, my son's girlfriend did not elect to join me in this beauty ritual.

Perhaps she was just a little jealous of how great I looked while carrying out my new hairdo habit.

I know you'll all try this just as soon as possible.

Spread the word!

It's uplifting!

Bossy Betty: At the Root of All that is Fabulous.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Fair Pictures

Hello, My People!

I had to let my County Fair Freak Flag fly just one more day.

I am thinking of getting a sign just like this for our house.

Who you callin' a turkey?

The slide of many colors.

I think this sign is just as clear as it needs to be.

However, what would the fair be without a dangerous criminal element?
That's my friend, Lori, who climbed over a chain to touch, enter and otherwise interact with the display.

Our fair is right by the ocean.

The scene is made complete with these palm trees at the exit.

Hope you are having happy days!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fair Day with Lori!

I LOVE our county fair!

Yesterday I went with my friend, Lori.

As you can see, she ate many vertical foods.

She started the day with a deep fat fried potato swirl.

Next it was a swirled cone.

Then it was time for roasted corn.

Before she got done with one kind of corn, she had to buy another.

That's a giant bag of kettle corn she is lovingly cradling in her left arm.

On the way out, I urged her to get a corn dog, just to make her day at the fair complete. She said no. I guess after all the vegetables, dairy and whole grains she had throughout the day, she just couldn't bring herself to eat any junk food.

Are you going to the fair this year?