Saturday, May 26, 2012

Betty Checks In

Yes!  I have been checking on the swallows this year!  
They are back and very busy!
More pictures to come!

Hi Blogging Buddies!

I thought the start of summer would mean more blogging time for me, but I had an institute all last week and this week I am jetting off to Kansas to see friends and family.  I may get a chance to check in, but I may not.  Just wanted you all to know I am thinking of you and will be back when I can!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Hi everybody!

Last week was graduation!

It is always a great time to celebrate.

One thing I had to celebrate was having incredible colleagues.  

Some of these folks saw me through the toughest year of my life.  

They were so generous and supportive.   

I am so lucky to have wonderful co-workers!

The day of graduation was beautiful!  

I always love seeing all the students in their gowns and their proud families in the stands.

Here I am with my students Gairon and Moises. 

They completed my Literature class and may have even learned to like poetry (a little).

(I am not really that short.  They are both basketball players!)

Life is just a series of graduations, isn't it?  

Some we celebrate with publicly and some we celebrate privately.  

Here's to flipping that tassel to the other side and heading out into life.

Congratulations to all the graduates!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Morning Flowers and Weekend Update

Good Morning, My People!

Sorry I have been AWOL for a little bit from the Blogworld.

I have been a little preoccupied with a Certain Very Nice Man who came to see me this weekend.

Enough about me.  

Here are your weekly flowers.

OK, now back to me.

I had a great weekend!  

The major event was the repair of the ledge just outside my kitchen window.

As you can see, it needed some major work.

AH!  Who came to my rescue?

A Certain Very Nice Engineer who happens to do tile work as well.

 The (almost) finished product!

THEN, we went out for dinner and had this for dessert!

Didn't I say it was a good weekend?

The only reason why we ask other people how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our own weekend.

        --Chuck Palahniuk

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yowza, Baby!  

You know any cookie recipe that includes Heath Bars has got to be good!

I made these babies for the office wing the other day and they got excellent reviews.

Enjoy Life.

Eat More Cookies.

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

  • 1/2 cup old fashion oats
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces English toffee candy (recommended: Heath or Skor bar), finely chopped
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, and chopped
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. Finely chop the oats in a food processor. Transfer the oats to a medium bowl. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the toffee, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips.
For each cookie, drop 1 rounded tablespoonful of dough onto sheet, spacing 1-inch apart (do not flatten dough). Bake until the cookies are golden (cookies will flatten slightly), about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. (The cookies can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "Clock" by Linda Pastan


Sometimes it really upsets me—
the way the clock's hands keep moving,

even when I'm just sitting here
not doing anything at all,

not even thinking about anything
except, right now, about that clock

and how it can't keep its hands still.
Even in the dark I picture it, and all

its brother and sister clocks and watches,
even sundials, all those compulsive timepieces

whose only purpose seems to be
to hurry me out of this world.

--Linda Pastan

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Morning Flowers!

Good Monday to you all!

Hope your weekend was a great one.

Here's your Monday Morning flower delivery.

Two more days of finals, then graduation, and then summer begins!  


What are you looking forward to this week?

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the 
two most beautiful words in the English language.

--Henry James

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

Here's a special warm hug to my own mother and the two wonderful boys who gave me the honor of being a mom.  

I love you all.

Happy Mother's Day to all who are mothers and all those who have mothering spirits!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Crazy About My Cats

OK, I am a little nervous about writing this post, for I am about to declare my intense love for my cats. 

I love them. I truly do.  

Now, I joke in my blog profile about becoming the crazy neighborhood cat lady as being a goal of mine.  

I just didn’t anticipate that it would happen so soon 

I’ve always loved cats.  We had a lot of them in my childhood home.  In fact, somewhere there is picture of me at seven years of age, sitting on my bed surrounded by six cats, and I am absolutely beaming with happiness.

Except for a few years in college, I have always had cats.  I married a non-cat person, and converted him immediately.  He loved cats, especially my current cat, Zelda.  Then he left.  Hey, I can understand leaving your wife, but your cat?  Never.

Anyway, in August, when my sons left for college and HOB left for his new life, I was left alone in the house except for these two precious cats of mine.

Now, I suspect it is this way for a lot of people who find they are living alone after the kids years of after a mate leaves, but I don’t just love my cats.  I adore them.  I depend on them. 

They greet me when I get home from work.  They sit with me as I eat my dinner.  When I grade papers at the table,  Mabel lolls around on the rug near my feet and Zelda climbs on a chair across from me, occasionally coming up to check out an essay and give her feedback.  

When I climb into bed at night, they come with me. In the morning when I read my newspaper in bed, Zelda sits on my right side and Mabel sits on my left and I sit there in the middle, feeling like the Queen of Suburbia.  They balance me as they sit on either side of me, and I feel their solid weight. I stroke their soft fur and am overwhelmed with gratitude for their company.

Mabel is the more practical cat.  She enjoys affection, but I have to come to her, unless I am watching TV and then she climbs up on my lap and stays until my leg goes numb and I have to move her or risk permanent nerve damage.  (See bottom picture and you’ll understand.)

 Zelda, however, is the sweetheart who seeks out affection and returns it twofold.  Incredibly, she senses when I am having a restless night.  Even at 2:00 a.m. when I start tossing and turning, she comes up from her nest at the foot of the bed and nudges her way into my arms, until her body is snuggled against mine, her head in the crook of my arm.  She stays there and comforts me until I fall back asleep.

These cats have become so dear to me. Let’s face it:  I was not done nurturing when my house emptied out, and so I turned my attention to the remaining mammals.  

As I said before, I suspect many people find that their pets get more important as they get older.  I know it’s happening here, in a big way.  

And just as soon as I get my little darlings to stay in their “Little House on the Prairie” outfits I have carefully made for them, we will rehearse the play we have planned for the neighborhood children and then we’ll have a nice tea party together.

OK, OK, It hasn't come to that just yet.  

I was just joking.  

Did you think I was serious?

Of course we won’t have tea.  

We’ll have milk instead.  

Tea might stain the little white monogrammed bibs I’ve made for them.  

Tea instead of milk?  Now, that's just crazy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Finals Week!

Here's the reason I have not been able to post or visit blogs very much lately!

It's finals week and the papers have been coming in non-stop.
These are just some of them, waiting for my attention.

 (Let's not even talk about the online grading I need to do for two of my classes or the fact that the yellow folder will fill up tomorrow with 25 more research papers and 25 in-class essays.)

Tonight before I left campus, I put this note on top of the stack:

It was a note to remind me what I needed to do tomorrow, but then I had a thought.

Suppose someone comes to my office tonight, sees the note and grades them all?


I'll let you know if it works!

Happy Thursday, everybody!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "Not Forgotten" by Sheila Packa

Not Forgotten

I learned to ride
the two wheel bicycle
with my father.
He oiled the chain
clothes-pinned playing cards
to the spokes, put on the basket
to carry my lunch.
By his side, I learned balance
and took on speed
centered behind the wide
handlebars, my hands
on the white grips
my feet pedaling.
One moment he was
holding me up
and the next moment
although I didn't know it
he had let go.
When I wobbled, suddenly
afraid, he yelled keep going—
keep going!
Beneath the trees in the driveway
the distance increasing between us
I eventually rode until he was out of sight.
I counted on him.

That he could hold me was a given
that he could release me was a gift.

--Sheila Packa

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Morning Flowers and Weekend Update

Hi everybody!

Hope you had a great weekend and are looking forward to a wonderful week.

This past weekend I went to Descanso Gardens in La Canada, Flintridge (near Los Angeles).

It was a gorgeous day and the surroundings were magnificent.

Even the bunnies were out to greet us!

I went with a Certain Very Nice Man who was kind enough to take my picture here by a stream.

It was such a fun day!

Thanks so much to all my blogging buddies for all your support and love!  

I appreciate it so much.

Hope you have a beautiful week!

A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.

 --Arnold H. Glasow

Friday, May 4, 2012

Progress. It's Progress.

I think we all want the process of grief, either from a divorce or from a death, to follow a sort of pattern, a recognizable schedule, a decipherable calendar.

I keep learning that this is not the case.

I’ll be buzzing along, working away, doing just fine and then out of nowhere a feeling of sadness envelops me.  Who knows that brings it on?  It’s often hard to say.  It’s not so much a feeling of sadness over the loss of my marriage any longer. It’s a loneliness that falls some evenings around dusk, when I am sitting alone in my house.

I miss my kids.  I miss the life that surrounded them and made this home an interesting place to be.  I miss being an active mom. I miss another human heart beating in the house. 

Even though I am rich beyond belief with the support of friends, I sometimes feel isolated when night is coming and I walk across the floors of my house, turning off lights, looking into empty rooms. 

Those moments of sadness feel like a dip in the timeline, a sharp drop-off of the reliable graph on the neat grid, a U-turn on the road to normalcy.

Apparently, these moments are a natural part of healing, or so all the books say, but when I am in the middle of them, it feels like failure and the fact that I am surprised by the intensity of the emotion just adds to that feeling.

Tears come and even though I know I can call friends, I don’t because I am embarrassed.

I want to be as strong as they think I am.  I give them no reason to call and check on me.  Some may think if they do, or if they bring up the divorce, it will depress me or I may think they lack faith in me.

I keep reminding myself that though these feelings of loneliness still come, they do so more and more infrequently and with less intensity. I sometimes underestimate the progress I have made. And to be honest, this brand of loneliness is preferable to kind I felt in the last weeks of my marriage. Having another person in the house doesn’t mean a thing when that person is isolated and withdrawn.  In fact, that kind loneliness is even more devastating and confusing.

Through this experience, I realize I have been guilty of rushing the grieving process for others in the past.  I have not made the calls I should have made, have not checked in on people as much as I should have.  I have wanted so much to believe that “everything is fine!” and that my friends have recovered quickly and without scars.

Now I know. 

This mess of a procedure called healing in no way follows a linear pattern.  It has its own path, and its own timing and its own moments of sorrow which follow no rules at all.

Above all, I am grateful for what this experience has taught me.

In the future, I will call people who are going the same sort of experience even though time has passed, even though they seem fine.  With my close friends, I know it’s OK to bring up a sad event from time to time, to open the door to conversation and invite them to enter if they need to. 

I also have to learn to accept my own dips into sadness and not see them as setbacks, but just a part of the ride that I need to go on at this time in my life.  

After all, those dips make it possible to gain momentum so I can climb the next hill and, as always, I am eager to see what’s on the other side.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Potato Chip Cookies!


I need to you to stop whatever you are doing and make these cookies.  


They.  Are.  Good.


Potato Chip Cookies

1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. crushed potato chips

Mix all ingredients. Roll into small balls; flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Dip these suckers in chocolate or just smear some across the top.

I took these to work this week and I do believe my co-workers are now constructing a statue of me in the office wing.  

You need to make these cookies.  


Butter (Dairy)

Potato Chips (Vegetables)

Pecans (Protein)

Flour (Grains)

Sugar (for Energy)

Vanilla (better you get it here rather than chewing on a scented candle)

Really, it's a health issue if you think about it.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Itching for the Spinach

If someone would have told me a few years ago that I would be eating cooked spinach and enjoying it, I would have never believed it.

After all, this is the stuff I used to hide in my milk carton at lunch in 4th grade.  

Do you remember the cooked spinach they used to serve us at school?


All it takes is fresh spinach, garlic, olive oil, and lemon.

Chop up the spinach some.  Then heat some olive oil and a clove of garlic in a skillet. 
(As you can see, I use frozen garlic blobs.  They're great!)  

Add the spinach and saute lightly. 

Don't overdo it!  

You know how you get.

Control yourself.

Serve immediately and squeeze some fresh lemon over it.

This is yummy stuff!   Who knew?

Here's to trying new things!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "The Coming of Light" by Mark Strand

The Coming of Light

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.

--Mark Strand