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.


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.


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


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

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Out and About With Betty

Recently, my friend, Kitty, and I went to a little cafe in downtown Oxnard that is in the old Woolworth's Building.

Going to Woolworth's was always a big deal for me when I was a kid, so I was thrilled to see they had preserved the sign.

Here's Kitty, showing she's a lady by sticking her pinky finger out while she sips tea.

Not to be outdone, here I am showing her up by sticking TWO pinkies out while drinking my tea.

Sorry for the blurry nature of this shot. I gave my giant camera to the sixteen-year old waitress. Something tells me had I given her my cell phone with which to take the picture, it would have come out perfectly.

They have preserved many of the machines from the old Woolworth's store including this one.

And this one.

This was still in the bathroom and still works!

Here's the menu from the original Woolworth's Lunch Counter.
Let's see...I'll have the Bacon and Tomato Sandwich for 40 cents, an Ice Cream Soda for 20 cents and a piece of Apple Pie for 15 cents.

Hey! That leaves me enough from my dollar to go buy a pen from the pen machine!

It was fun being reminded of memories from my childhood AND making good memories now too.

Happy Sundays to you all!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Matter of the Rings

The matter of the rings.

Oh yes.

The matter of the rings.

The rings that matter.

The rings that no longer matter.

But they do.

But they don’t.

Oh boy.

The night after HOB told me, quite unexpectedly (to me anyway) that he was leaving our marriage, I cried myself to sleep and then awoke with a start at 3:30am. I knew, in my gut, without a doubt, that after he had driven off, he had taken off his wedding ring.

I felt it in my bones, but I prayed that this time my instincts were wrong.

I called him early the next morning.

“Please,” I said. “Please tell me you still have your ring on.”




Finally, “No, I had to take that off.”

What little hope I had left of saving our marriage died with that statement. I knew, then, that he was done. He was announcing to the world that our marriage was over, just hours after telling me that it was over. He did it with such eagerness, (maybe zeal?) Maybe not. In any case, apparently, there was no hesitation. Such a final act in so short a time--it still boggles my mind.

Tonight, more than two months later, my wedding band and engagement ring are still on my hand.

What’s wrong with me?

It’s complicated.

I totally get the fact that my marriage is over. HOB has made that very clear. There is no capitulation on his part.

This divorce will happen.


I get that. I do.

And I am beginning to be OK with that fact.

So why do I find it so hard to pull off my rings?

They are a symbol of a marriage that is, for all intents and purposes, over. The man who gave them to me does not want me anymore. I should be yanking off the rings and throwing them across the room.

And yet, these rings have been a part of me for 30 years. I have looked at them hundreds of thousands of times. They almost seem a part of my hands. I love them for the way they look and the way they feel. I like the weight of them, the softness of the gold. They have been my security. They have been my constant companions. My babies grabbed onto the finger that that supported them. When they were little, my boys loved to turn them around and around on my finger. They were on my hand the days I hugged my sons goodbye as they left home. Through all our moves, all our travels, through all the years and experiences, they have been with me. Even as my hands have changed, gotten older and a bit more wrinkled, they have stayed the same. They have gone everywhere with me. They were given to me with such love and tenderness.

And now I am just supposed to take them off?

(Shouldn’t there be some ceremony? Some solemn ritual in which the enormity of the act is recognized? Am I really just supposed to slip them off and put them in a dark drawer somewhere?)

In 1980, HOB and I skipped our college classes and went and picked out the diamond ring. We were so excited and happy. We did not buy a wedding band at that time, but planned to later. About three weeks before our wedding, my grandmother died and left my mom her wedding band. I still remember the day my mom handed it to me and said, “I think Grandma Bessie really meant this for you.” I gasped as I saw it was a perfect match to my engagement ring.

I sit and look at that wedding ring and even though this divorce was not my idea and I was against it, I feel a sense of sadness at somehow letting my grandmother down. Both HOB and I come from families in which our grandparents, our great-grandparents, our great-great grandparents and as far back as we can trace, stayed together through thick and thin. Now that braided cord of devotion has been broken. It seems a shame. I loved my grandmother and I want to wear her ring as a tribute to her, but now I see it as a symbol of my failed marriage. I don’t think I can wear it and not look at it in sadness.

My friends and my family tell me I’ll know when it’s the right time to take my rings off. They say there is no rush, but I also see their eyes flit down to my finger when I greet them. I feel like I should be ready.

I have practiced taking them off when I am in the bathtub. The very first time I did it was about a week after HOB left and my hand started to shake uncontrollably. Now, about two months later, I can take them off for longer times in the tub, but when I do, I look at the base of my finger, and it seems permanently indented my all the years of wearing my rings. My impulse to put the rings back on always wins out. I place them back on my finger and my hand looks complete and normal again. I feel complete and normal (sort of) again.

It’s strange that the jewelry we choose, or choose not, to wear sends a message to the world. For me, I loved the life they symbolized. I miss being married (probably even more than I miss HOB). It was a life I was used to. It was a lifestyle that suited me.

However, the person who gave me these rings no longer wants to share his life with me. After he made his decision, the ring I gave him immediately became a nuisance, an obstacle, an albatross. He had no trouble taking it off. And yet, tonight mine sit on my finger and the thought of taking them off still brings tears to my eyes.

So I sit and consider the matter of the rings.

The rings that matter.

The rings that don’t matter.

But they do.

But they don’t.

But…they do.

Note to my dear ones who comment: You know I love you all and so I respectfully ask that you not say anything negative about HOB in your comments here. My sons and my almost- daughter-in-law may read this blog and I want to consider their feelings and their future relationship with HOB. I hope you (and they) understand that this post is about me, my journey and my healing process and focus your comments on that aspect of this post.

Thank you so much.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finally, FUN!

My house has been pretty quiet since both boys left for college and HOB left for his new life. I am still adjusting to life alone and facing the prospect of being divorced.

All in all, it's been pretty dismal around this house and, well, lonely too.

I have burrowed away in my house and isolated myself more than I should. This whole divorce thing plays with my head A LOT and it takes courage just to do some of the things that used to be a natural part of my life.

When my sister came to town, I took a deep breath and decided to come out of my shell a little and invite some gal pals from school over for dinner. These lovely ladies (most of them, teachers) have been such a great support to me. They watch out for me at school, check in with me, and guide me back to sanity when I start to stray.

(One of these women thinks I don't know that she looks in on me in my classroom every day, just to make sure I am there, upright and doing OK. I know she does, though, and it makes me smile when I see her out of the corner of my eye.)

Can I tell you what a joy it was to have these beauties come over and have dinner with me?

It did me a world of good to entertain again. Best of all, my house was filled with laughter, and chatter, and genuine warmth.

At one point, I went to the kitchen as they all sat at the table and I listened to their voices and their laughter and my eyes filled with tears of gratitude. I felt their support and love all around me.

I felt like the luckiest person on earth.

Later on, things got a little wild when we broke out the candy cigarettes and wine.

When good teachers go bad.

I am not sure what I ever did to deserve such good friends, but I am indeed grateful for them!

I wish I could get all of you, my blogging buddies, around a big table and thank you for all of your support too. I appreciate you all more than you will ever know.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "On Punctuation" by Elizabeth Austen

On Punctuation

not for me the dogma of the period
preaching order and a sure conclusion
and no not for me the prissy
formality or tight-lipped fence
of the colon and as for the semi-
colon call it what it is
a period slumming
with the commas
a poser at the bar
feigning liberation with one hand
tightening the leash with the other
oh give me the headlong run-on
fragment dangling its feet
over the edge give me the sly
comma with its come-hither
wave teasing all the characters
on either side give me ellipses
not just a gang of periods
a trail of possibilities
or give me the sweet interrupting dash
the running leaping joining dash all the voices
gleeing out over one another
oh if I must
give me the YIPPEE
of the exclamation point
give me give me the curling
cupping curve mounting the period
with voluptuous uncertainty

--Elizabeth Austen