Friday, May 27, 2011

Betty Goes on Vacay #1 of the Summer

The Highlight of Air Travel: Reviewing the Skymall Catalog!!!
This Sly Devil has a Hearing Aide shaped like a Bluetooth!
Sexy and Stylish Too!


Betty's taking the big airplane today to go from California to Kansas. I'm going back to my home state to see my mom, my sisters, my good friend from childhood, and assorted nieces and nephews.

I may not be around the blogosphere during my vacation. I'll post if I can, but between my wild times time hanging around the nursing home, the farm, and Sonic Drive-Ins, I may just be worn to a nub from all the excitement.

I'll miss you all! I'll check in when I can!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Betty's Photo Buffet


Happy Thursday!

Here's what's been happening in Betty's world.




We are in the process of getting a new roof, so naturally the males have to take this opportunity to climb up after the crew left for the day to check things out.



Alas, the ripping off of the roof resulted in tragedy for this nest. We moved it just before the work started, but the parent birds did not like the new location and abandoned the nest. This broke Betty's bird-loving heart.



In other news, my student Josue invited me to his graduation from the university! Four years ago he took my English class and thought he would just take a couple of classes, maybe get his AA or AS and then go to work at a painting company. Instead, he discovered education was for him. He transferred and here he is receiving his degree in Business. I am so proud of him and all he has accomplished.




I was outside taking pictures and saw Evan inside at the kitchen sink. I was able to get these freaky-deaky pictures. (Those are my bangs, not his.)



"Please," I said to HOB after seeing these in the garden. "Please tell me that is not braided human hair." He assures me it is not. It is sweet grass he no longer wanted, so he put it out in the dirt. Some of my faithful readers may remember a certain dead crow I found in the deep freeze one day while looking for a pizza. These readers will understand why I might ask the question I did.


Hope all is well in your world!



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Summer. Please Report to the Appropriate Stage.

Today! Betty Provides Unprecedented Insight into the Mysteries of Summerization


The end of the school year was intense. I graded papers like a maniac, gave tests, finished up my committee work, got final reports in to the dean, submitted my grades and went to graduation.

It was a mad race to the finish.

Then it all stopped.

It came to a skidding halt.

I woke up on Monday and I didn’t need to go in.

Great! Amazing! Unbelievable!

Just really, really weird too.

I’ve been teaching for a lot of years and every year I, and many of my fellow teachers, go through certain stages during the summer months.

For your convenience, I hereby list them in a handy guide below:

(Important Note: Some people go through these stages in weeks, perhaps months. I have one very hyperactive/efficient friend who can cycle through these in a matter of hours.)

Stage One: Hibernation. After so much contact with people, dispensing information, answering questions, we are ready to be alone. Ahhh…solitude. Time and permission to be a complete hermit.

Stage Two: Gleeful Slob. Pajamas stay on into the afternoon hours. Mindless TV. Reading binges. Potato chips dipped in ranch dressing eaten in bed.

Stage Three: Sobering Realization: Passing into the kitchen to get another jumbo box of Ding Dongs, we glance at the mirror. Looking at the dried food upon our ragged sweatshirts, we decide enough is enough.

Stage Four: Epiphany /Hyperactivity: Time is slipping by. Some sort of schedule needs to be enforced. Lists must be made. Time to do all the things we’ve put off. Closets are cleaned out. Pantries sorted out. We haul carloads of stuff to the Goodwill.

Stage Five: Stirrings to Socialize with Others/Sullen Procrastinator: Realization that other people are working and unable to play with us. What’s up with that? Where is everybody? We grow restless. We could actually work on materials for next semester. Nah….

Stage Six: Reintroduction to Society: We finally score a meeting with a friend. Go out to tea. All she says is “Do you know where the packets of sugar are?” and we go into long, involved instructions concerning:

1) How to get to the area that has the sugar
2) How to reach into the bin to get packets of sugar
3) Recommendation of how many packets she should get
4) Best/most efficient route back to table.
5) Request for detailed report on her recent trip to sugar station.

Suddenly, we realize that we miss telling people what to do, when, and how to do it.

There are more stages, but I think this gives you a general idea of the process I like to call Summerization.

I won’t tell you just where I am in this progression, but I can assure you that I am more advanced than others and am not wasting any of this precious time.

I am working very hard.

Indeed, after more intense research, my report on whether ranch dressing adheres to Ruffles or Lays potato chips better should be ready very soon.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver



The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

--Mary Oliver

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers


Good Monday Morning!

How was your weekend, my darlings?

Are you ready for the week ahead?





It's the first week of summer vacation for me.

Yahoo!

My big plan? Read!

I've got the books lined up and ready to go.

Wild, right?


There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read.

~G.K. Chesterton

Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Shots

I took my camera to school the other day and had fun taking shots of scenes found in the Letters and Sciences building hallway.

Hope you enjoy!









Happy Sundays to you all!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Be Offended. It's Easy to Do.


Zelda Is Waiting For The Ego To Get Out.
It Might Be a Long Wait....


I recently read an article by Dr. Wayne Dyer in which he suggested that one way to be happier in life is to give up being offended.

What a rat.

I know he wrote that just to offend me.

I am pretty sure he remembers me from an audience of a thousand people I was in once when I heard him speak. He knew I would be reading that article and wrote that just to get me back for slurping my Diet Pepsi too loudly during one of his precious moments of silence on stage.

Oh yeah. He’s out to get me for that.


Do you happen to know someone who is easily offended?

(Calm down. Calm down. I am NOT talking about you. Don’t get all riled up.)

Dr. Wayne “Smarty Pants” Dyer suggests we make it a point to give up being offended. He states, “The behavior of others isn’t a reason to be immobilized. That which offends you only weakens you. If you’re looking for occasions to be offended, you’ll find them at every turn. This is your ego at work convincing you that the world shouldn’t be the way it is.”

Now don’t get your feathers ruffled. I think there are times when we all get our emotional ya-ya’s out by getting offended in some way.

Let’s face it: It’s like a big, warm bath for the ego.

When somebody cuts us off in traffic, we love to get all righteous about it, revving up our motors, trying to catch up with the car just so we can shoot the driver dirty looks. They did us wrong! This wrong must be addressed!

Splish Splash

When some receptionist gives us what we consider less than happy service, we feel slighted and, given the right environmental conditions in our own heads, we can give these small snub enough steroids to make it an Insult! An offense! A slur! Why, it was Abuse!!!

More bubbles! And I mean NOW!

And what real good IS an offense unless we tell others (many others) of the incident?

In this dessert portion of the event, there may (will) be embellishment each and every time we tell the story. Soon that ripped jogging suit you were wearing at the time of the slight becomes a white flowing gown and that harsh, growling voice you may have used at the time becomes a soft, polite cloud of whispers. The offender, on the other hand, becomes meaner, more ugly, and grows more unsightly facial hair with every telling.


Heat up the water just a little more, begs the ego. I’m not quite ready to get out of the tub just yet. It’s delicious here in the embryonic fluid of perceived offense.



HOB (Husband of Betty) believes in going to the grocery store a lot. He, unlike Pioneer Betty, is of the “go to the store for a few items” school of thinking. For a while every time he came home from the store, he complained about the bag boy.

“He never bags my groceries right. I’ve seen him bag other people’s right, but never mine. He also goes really slowly when it’s my stuff. He won’t even talk to me or make eye contact with me.”

I suggested he get in anther line.

“Oh, that’s just it!” he said, his eyes narrowing and taking on a manic sheen, his words heavy with suspicion. “He watches and waits to see what line I’m in and then he moves to that line, just so he can screw up my bags.”

I made the appropriate sympathetic wifely noises each and every time he complained.

Then I went to the store.

I saw the boy in question.

I came home.

“You do realize that he is developmentally disabled, don’t you?” I asked HOB.

He looked at me with a confused look. “He is?”

Cold Shower of Reality. Brrrrr…..

Most of us can keep those baths for the ego down to a few per month, but for some people, being offended is like a daily vitamin that they must have.

(No. No. Darling! Not YOU!)

No matter what how you try and reframe the situation, they are convinced the offense took place.

“I really don’t think he meant anything by dropping the pencil in front of you.”

“OH, yes he did! He knew exactly what he was doing! His message was VERY clear to me.”

After awhile, it’s no fun hanging out with such people. Their conversations consist of the litany of offenses they have had to deal with, and well, it gets boring fast.

Here is Betty’s list of nightmare companions. I think your brain can fill in the scenarios with lightning speed.

The easily offended driver

The easily offended restaurant patron

The easily offended co-worker

The easily offended family member

The easily offended spouse

The easily offended neighbor

The easily offended blog reader (Alas, there are some.)

Are you shuddering yet?

I thought so.


I believe these fine folks deserve a Crest/Coat of Arms of their very own. However, my drawing skills would offend many of you, so I teamed up with my friend Georgina at Georgina Dollface to use her fabulous drawing skills to produce one.

Click here and hop on over to see it.

If you don’t, I’ll be very offended.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Door Prize!



When you're a jazzy gal like Betty, it's imperative that you surround yourself with things that are just about as exciting as you can get.


I think you can agree that my office door at work just didn't do the trick.


Sad, right?


As with all projects wild and crazy, I enlisted the help of my friend Crafty Karen.

We spent a little quality time with some duct tape and some oilcloth and WOW!


You could do this with any oblong tablecloth.

Oh! The possibilities!


As you can imagine, it was quite a hit in the office wing.

Luckily, I have enough of the oilcloth left over to make a cute matching dress and hat.

After I get them made, I intend to stand in front of my door and jump out at people.

Big Fun!




Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Graduation!


There hasn't been much to celebrate around our college lately.

There have been budget cuts, fellow workers have been let go, and classes have been cut. Even the cafeteria has cut back on hours and services to save money.

Yesterday, however, all that faded into the background for a few hours as we celebrated graduation.

I work with some pretty amazing people who are dedicated to the art and craft of teaching. Here are just a few of them.



After the ceremony I caught up with some of my former students.


This gentleman as a student in my Intermediate Composition and is a very talented writer.
(He also has a knack for skateboarding across campus without getting caught!)



This graduate is very special to me since I have known her and her family since she was a baby. She was in my literature class and was a great Hamlet in the scenes we did in class!

Yes, our college faces tough times ahead, but today at graduation it was easy to remember why we do it all.

And why we'll return in the fall...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "What We Want" by Linda Pastan



What We Want

What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names—
now they want us.
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don't remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.


--Linda Pastan

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers


Happy Monday!

Hoping the week ahead is a good one for you!








You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

--C.S. Lewis

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thanks


Thanks, everyone for your very kind comments on my last post. We are trying to get back on track here. The house seems incredibly quiet now.

I think even these two miss their dog sister. (Maddie was always very loving towards them.) They are hanging out together much more than they used to and yesterday I witnessed this rare exchange of affection.

Naturally, once they discovered the paparazzi was around, ruining their moment of trail intimacy, their blissful expressions turned to annoyance and I was dispatched immediately to go practice what they consider to be my greatest talent: using my agile digits to open a can of Fancy Feast.



(Little do they know, since I am a teacher, I am used to seeing these sorts of facial expressions. They serve only to encourage my behavior.)

Happy Sunday to you all.

Thanks again for your support and kind words.

It meant more than you will ever know.



Friday, May 13, 2011

Maddie Update (Final)



We had to say goodbye to our Maddie today. She was part of our family for ten years. Saying farewell to her was so hard.

Just before Maddie died, I bent down and whispered a name to her. I told her to find that person when she got to where she was going.

"You tell him that you were my girl here on earth. Tell him I sent you to him. And tell him I said to take good care of you."

I whispered the name in her ear again until I was sure she had absorbed it.

"He was my daddy." I said. "He loved dogs, and I know he will love you just as much as I did."

I looked into her deep brown eyes and whispered, "Tell him I miss him too."

Goodbye, Maddie. We loved you.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Patterns



My mother was an expert at sewing and loved to shop for fabric. As a child, I spent hours and hours with her in the fabric store, leafing through pattern books, touching the bolts of cloth, and listening to the flipping of the bolt on the cutting table.

After the fabric was measured out, the snipping scissors alerted me that the magic moment was about to occur. I always watched as the clerk leaned forward and sliced cleanly through the fabric with her open scissors.

I did not inherit my mother’s talent nor her love for sewing, but still I go to the local fabric store every so often for small items. This store has been around for about twenty-five years, and is a fixture in our town. When I go, I linger there, looking at the various bolts of fabric, thinking about the possibilities within, remembering past times.

Last week as I approached the doors, I smiled, thinking about how lovely it was that specialized, locally-owned places like these still exist.

Entering the store, I stood and stared. At least fifty other women were in there, buzzing around, their arms filled with fabrics. There were long lines at the cutting table. One woman was cleaning out the Velcro supply. Had there been a sudden, urgent resurgence in sewing?

I asked one of the women in the store what was going on. “They’re going out of business,” she said. “Everything is 30 percent off. It’s the first hour of the sale. They only let their regular customers know about it.”

Now, my mother taught me about wonders of iron-on interfacing, how to open the long, smooth file drawers to find a pattern, and how to check for the bias of a fabric.

I figured out myself, not to stand between a determined woman and a bolt of $55.00-a- yard ultra-suede that had been reduced by 30 percent.

Moving deftly around the store, I avoided the women who were making a beeline for the quilting supplies. I stepped aside just in time to avoid getting wiped out by determined woman with fabrics stacked up in her arms like holy books she had to save from destruction. I moved into the upholstery fabric section to see women bobbing up and down like hulls of sailboats, grabbing at rolls above their heads, bringing them down like masts and then swinging them like booms as they went back after another.

Feeling a little seasick, I ducked down under the rolls in the women’s arms and I made it to the oilcloth section, got what I needed and then went to join the fifteen or so women in line waiting to check out.

The older woman in back of me started up a conversation. We discussed the projects we were planning and then she showed me some starch product she was buying. “When you iron your husband’s pants and shirts, this is a miracle product,” she said.

I just smiled and nodded.

(I think I have an iron around here somewhere…. I seem to remember helping one of the boys use it for a t-shirt transfer about five years ago…)

I left the store, with my purchase and a sense of sadness too. From now on I’ll have to go to one of the big chain craft stores to seek out material and other supplies.

More than that, though, the real sadness comes from the fact that when I walked in a store like that, the smells, the sights, the sounds all took me back to those times with my mom.

Life had been hard on her and normally she was somewhat guarded and pessimistic. However, in the fabric store, she changed. She saw possibilities. She felt in control. She could let the creative side of her come out to play for a little while.



As I look back on those many hours I spent in the fabric store with my mom, I realize that though I may not have learned how to sew, I did learn some things about life.

I learned that fabric, like people, can only appreciated when you see them in their fullness and consider all their possibilities.

I learned that beauty is not to be found only in the silk and taffeta moments in life, but also in the simple muslin and cotton ones as well.

I learned that one small straight pin, like one small thought or word can be a problem or a solution, depending on how you use it.

I learned that it isn't easy, but you can alter a pattern, even one that’s been around for years.


And just last week, my experience taught me that places and people we assume will be around forever can and do shut down, close up, and go away.

We can carry the treasures away in our arms or in our hearts.

What we make out of them is completely up to us.




Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "Stealing Lilacs" by Alice N. Persons



Stealing Lilacs

A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches
from my neighbor's tall old lilac—
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids' arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn't begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.

--Alice N. Persons

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers with Handy Checklist Too!

Happy Monday Morning!

It was a busy weekend. Time to get back to the weekly routine.

Here's a handy checklist for you, just in case you need it this morning.

____ Lunch packed or planned?

____Teeth brushed?

____Cat/Dog/Husband/Wife/Children all accounted for?

____Shoes Match?

____Good attitude toward all of mankind in heart?

____Plastic Sticker that says Large Large Large Large peeled off leg of new jeans?

____Picked up Monday Morning Flowers from Betty Who Adores You?







Today's Parenting Tip: Treat a difficult child the way you would your boss at work. Praise his achievements, ignore his tantrums and resist the urge to sit him down and explain to him how his brain is not yet fully developed.

~Robert Brault


Happy Mondays, Everyone!!


Happy Mother's Day

Betty's Beautiful Mom


Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there, and to all those with mothering spirits who many not necessarily have given birth, but who nurture and love nonetheless.

I am thinking of my mom today and sending her love.

I am thinking of my sons today and sending gratitude.

I am sending out this quote to my sisters who will understand it perfectly:


And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see -- or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.

--Alice Walker


Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

They're Back!


I held my breath as I drove to the back of the store where the swallow nests were last year.

Since these nests and birds are very messy, many businesses knock the nests down.

Indeed, half of the nests were gone but the others remain and are very, very busy!








I'll be checking back in on the action soon!

Hope you have a happy day!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Vintage Betty

Hello my people.

School's been keeping me busy, busy, busy and my right paw has been sore from typing so much, writing on the board, and pounding on the desk for more cookies.

Therefore, instead of my usual deep, meaningful mid-week commentary on life, love, and/or whether or not soft serve ice cream should be served in a cone or in a dish, I thought I'd show you some pictures I took for my friend Julie.

Julie has been collecting vintage clothing and jewelry for years and this past weekend she sold it all to give to a local charity that is helping her sister-in-law in her fight on cancer. I took these pictures for the website advertising the sale.

I had a good time taking the pictures and imagining a bygone era.

Hope you enjoy looking at them!







Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "Daffodils" by May Swenson



Daffodils


Yellow telephones
in a row in the garden
are ringing,
shrill with light.

Old-fashioned spring
brings earliest models out
each April the same,
naïve and classical.

Look into the yolk-
colored mouthpieces
alert with echoes.
Say hello to time.

--May Swenson



Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers with More Verbiage Than Usual


Ah, I see you there, seeking your Flower Love this morning!!

Don't be shy; come and get the good stuff.





There! Is your day starting to make sense?

Does your week look a little brighter?

Are your pants a little looser?

Are your wrinkles smoothing out?

Is your personality beginning to be more socially acceptable?

Have I gotten carried away in my questioning again?

Oh. Sorry.


Alert! The Following Short Memo is to be read ONLY by my Faithful Followers!
(All others/newbies, need to skip to the next section. You heard me! Skip down NOW! If you read the forbidden section, your eyes will burn like hot coals for the rest of the day!)

Hello, Love Buttons,

When I started this blog, I was somewhat hesitant to write in my own voice, so I decided to call myself Bossy Betty and write in the persona of a controlling, pushy person. I thought I could protect myself somewhat and have a lot of fun in the process.

Well, it IS fun to write in that persona and I still do it from time to time, but you, my dear people, know that Bossy Betty is actually a cupcake who feels deeply and who emotes on the page whenever the winds of life blow her small boat of emotions to and fro. I have, more than once, placed my pretty pink heart out there for all the world to see. I thank you for receiving it with velvet gloves.

However, when Lazarus from The LG Report asked me to do an interview at his blog, I couldn't help but slip back into my full Bossy Betty persona and I had a blast wearing those big, sassy pants again. I hope you'll head over and read my interview!

(Let's not let the newbies in my on secret soft side just yet.)


Newbies/First Time Visitors/Inattentive Blog Skimmers Start here!

Hey there, you people! Looking for a snippy, snooty, snotty blog? You've found it. Put on the tan tunics and follow Bossy Betty's every instruction. Got it? OK. Now let's get going over to The LG Report. Refreshments will be served. (You did bring some, didn't you? It was your turn!)

Betty reviews her Kansas roots and generally takes over The LG Report this morning.

Visit soon.

Visit often.

Visit only while fully clothed.

Thanks.