Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers


 I know what you're saying.

Thanks for the flowers, Betty, but I need more.

I mean, you give me flowers, and that's real nice, but we never really talk anymore.  

You don't visit; you don't write.

Oh, Baby!  Don't be that way!  I've been so busy with school and this dog.  

You know you are important to me. 

 I'll do better, Sugar.

You know I will. 

Ah, there's that smile I love.

Forgive me?

Ahhhh, you're so sweet.

Hope you have a great week!

Happy Monday!

Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.

--Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Checking In!

Hi everyone!

Just checking in.

I am busy with my classes just getting started.  As many of you know, I have my upper-level students create and maintain blogs, so I have been overseeing the creation of 64 blogs!  Oh boy!  I put them on a central page so all the students can access them easily.

So far so good, but it has been keeping me busy.

Also, I have been having a great time with my new dog Kia!

I got her from the shelter and apparently she had not been walked before since when I put on the leash she had no idea what to do.  Now, however, she is a champion walker.  Yay!

This is the look I get in the morning when I try to visit blogs....

Now she knows what it means when I get these shoes out and she is a very happy girl!

Have I mentioned I am head-over-heels CRAZY about this dog?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Monday Everyone!

Last week was crazy so I didn't get to play in Blogland, but now I am back!

The first week of classes went well AND I had a great Birthday Weekend!

That's right!  A BIG Thanks to all my friends and family who made my weekend special.

A Certain Very Nice Man came up for the festivities too!  

Bring on the Monday!  

We can handle it!

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."

--C.S. Lewis 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Monday Morning!

It's the start of a new week and it's back to school for me.

A new semester!

Don't you just love new beginnings?

The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.

--Arnold Bennett

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

My friend K always impresses me with her energy and passion for new ideas.  

Recently, she had a stack of books about decluttering your house and simplifying your life through decorating.  

We took the books with us when we went out to have tea and read through them.  I was very inspired!  After a very large glass of a highly caffeinated black tea, I went home and cleared off my mantle, eager to make my house a haven of peace and serenity.   

When I was done,  I sent her a picture on my cell phone of the finished product.

"Congratulations," she wrote back.  “You’ve made your fireplace into Cookie Monster.”


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Year in Review: Part Four

2012 was a year of travels for me!

When I look back, I am amazed at how many opportunities I had get out and about!

I went to Virginia in January and had an absolutely wonderful time visiting my Sonny Boy and his girlfriend!

They made one of my dreams come true by taking me to Mount Airy, North Carolina--the town Mayberry was fashioned after!

OK, OK, this one probably shouldn't be in the travel pictures.  

It was taken in Santa Barbara which is only about an hour from where I live, but it was my first trip with a Certain Very Nice Man, so it was special.

In the spring I went to visit my friend Lori in the Virgin Islands.

This was truly a wonderful, healing trip!

That's me taking a break from snorkeling and being a little "shell" fish too!

This summer I flew to Kansas to reconnect with family members!  
These are some of my great-nieces and nephew.

Ten days in London this summer!!!  

What can I say?  I loved every single minute!

Overlooking the hills of Scotland!  Gorgeous!

Finally, in November, a long weekend getaway to Colorado to see more of my family.

My sisters, Marlene and Jolene and Jolene's newest grandbaby!

Thanks to everyone who hosted me, traveled with me, carted me around, fed me, and helped me find my way when I was lost!  

Wonder where I'll go in 2013?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Betty's Year in Review. Part Three.

In 2012 I started dating someone.

What?  Seriously?

I found it a little hard to believe myself.  I had never expected it to happen.    Dating? After thirty years of being married?  


The thought bounced off my brain cells.  No absorption.  None.  No admittance.  When friends would hint at the fact that I someday would once again enter the dating world, I shook my head, crossed my arms, and planted my feet firmly on the ground. Nope. Never.  That just wasn’t going to happen.  

For one thing, I was a fifty-three year old woman who had just been dumped by someone I thought would love me forever.  Who was going to want me?  

More importantly, I swore I would never put myself in such a vulnerable place ever again.  There was no way I was ever going to serve up my little pink heart on a platter again.   The pain I was feeling was nearly unbearable.  I would never put myself in a position of having it happen again.  It wouldn’t be worth it. 

One day while looking at my Facebook, I noticed a message I had inadvertently overlooked for a couple of months.  When I opened it, I found a note from a Certain Very Nice Man, expressing his condolences at the news of the death of my marriage.  It was a sincere and beautifully written note from this man who I knew through some friends.  I had met him fifteen years ago and had seen him perhaps five times over those years.  We had always enjoyed talking to one another at parties, but there was certainly no romantic spark, just the happiness at finding someone who enjoyed wordplay as much as I did and who had sense of humor much like my own.  He was, I am happy to say, one of my very first Bossy Betty readers and has remained a consistent one throughout the years.

Throughout the divorce proceedings, I found that those who had gone through the same experience were generous with their time and empathy.  So many people called me up and told me they understood what I was going through and let me talk my way through the fog that surrounded me.  I understood that he was one of those kind people.  I thanked him for his note and told him if he was ever in the area visiting our mutual friends (he lives about 50 miles away) to come by and we’d have pie together.  He wrote back that he would love to have pie with me someday.  I suggested a walk too and he agreed.  About two weeks later he came over. We were off on our walk we talked and talked and talked.  Ten miles later, (yes, ten miles) we wound up back at my house.  We indeed had pie and said our goodbyes. 

We began to write more letters on Facebook.  We took more walks.  Little by little, I found myself drawn to him, but each time I pulled myself back.  I told him there would be no relationship at this point.  We talked on the phone.  We went out to dinner.  We strolled along the beach.  We talked and talked and talked.  I was a mess at times.  I was not at other times.  I loved talking to him.  I looked forward to seeing him.  He never pushed things.  He always respected where I was in my emotional state regarding the divorce.  

One day after one of our walks, he left to go home and I realized I was falling for him.  It scared me to death.  I decided to put the brakes on.  I couldn’t handle all the emotions I was feeling.  What was I doing anyway?  Oh no.  I couldn’t let myself fall into another trap.  

And yet…being with him made me feel wonderful.  He viewed me as I wanted to be viewed.   

But it was too soon. Shouldn’t I give myself more time to mourn the death of my marriage?

It was crazy.  

Nope.  I couldn’t risk it.

And yet….

These voices in my head ran around and around.  I spent sleepless nights grappling with all I was feeling.  I decided one night that there was no way I could continue on with the relationship.  It was too soon. I went to bed, sad, a little depressed, but thought it was for the best that I call everything off.

The next morning when I woke up I actually heard a voice loud and clear.  It was like a holy Bluetooth directly in my ear.  The voice said in a clear and distinct way, “You are being given a gift and you bat it away like it means nothing. Accept it.  Embrace it.  Be grateful for it.”  I sat up, my eyes wide open. 


(Faithful Betty readers know this is not the first time I had this kind of experience.  Some may remember this post.)

As I looked back on it, I realized I had been trying to make my own timetable for when things should happen, and yet, it was happening another way.  I realized I had to stop trying to make up a schedule for something that was beyond my control.  

How many people hunger for a relationship like I was willing to pass up just because I was afraid I would get hurt?  

I relaxed and started to enjoy the relationship, started to cherish it for what it was, and decided to let it develop as it would.  Was there a chance I could get hurt?  Yes.  However, if I never gave it a chance I might miss out on something good, maybe something I was meant to have. 

Dating this man has given me so much.  It is wonderful to be seen through a clear lens.  We have so much fun together and going through what I have gone through, I am determined to show him the true Betty.  No games.  No pretending.  You get what you see.  And guess what?  He likes it all!  (Also, remember, he’s been reading Betty from the very beginning.  I’d say he knew me pretty well before we started dating.)

I am so grateful that the universe sent me the message it did.  

Because I can be a little thickheaded, I do believe that it might have sent me another the next time I was over visiting that Certain Very Nice Man.  

I walked into his bathroom to find his jeans flung over the hamper with the label clearly visible.

I smiled and looked skyward.  “OK, OK,” I said.  “I get the message.”

Relaxed AND straight?  What more could a nice heterosexual gal want anyway?

Thanks for reading!  See you tomorrow!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers and More!

Good Monday Morning!

Here are your Monday Morning Flowers!

Don't you feel special?

Sorry I have not been around to your blogs lately, but I've been a little busy welcoming a new little girl to my life!

This is Kia!  She came from the shelter just three days ago.  So far so good!  The cats are less than thrilled with their dog sister, but we are working on the transition.

I haven't had a dog since my beloved Maddie died about a year and a half ago.  I was a little concerned about taking on the responsibility of a dog on my own, but Evan, who is like my dad in many ways, convinced me I could do it.  My dad loved dogs and passed that trait on to me.  Today would have been his birthday.   Somehow, I think he would have approved of my decision to get Kia.

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. 

~Milan Kundera

Friday, January 4, 2013

Betty's Year in Review: Part Two

2012 was the year I renovated my house.

Oh. My. Gosh. 

I had not planned to do it.

It all started with what I supposed would be a small job of fixing a spot on the ceiling of one of the bedrooms.   It ended with the total gutting of the house. 

It was a massive undertaking and one that just kept growing and growing. All my earthly goods were moved to the garage.  The inside of my house was systematically destroyed. I stayed at the house as long as I could, sleeping on an old twin mattress in a small back room. Men arrived to carry out sinks, bathtubs and toilets.  During the asbestos removal, I had to move the cats and Evan into a hotel for two nights.   

Later, I had to move out completely, moving my beloved cats to the garage and leaving my door unlocked for the parade of workmen.  Every day I came to the house, crawled over the piles of things in the garage, found the small working refrigerator, made myself a sandwich and sat there, listening to the sounds of machines in the house, smelling the paint, soothing the freaked-out cats, praying that I was not making any major mistakes.

It was crazy I suppose to do all of this right after my divorce.  My world was still upside down.  My life was chaotic and now I was adding this stressful process to the mix?  Really?  There were many times when I broke down completely.  I was not used to making decisions on my own.  I doubted myself.  I kept signing scary-looking contracts with large numbers on the bottom lines.  I was scared I was making all the wrong moves, that I was getting taken advantage of.  What was I doing anyway?  

Several times, I just sank down there in the dark garage, between two dressers and under a mattress piled atop them and cried. 

Every time I thought things were hopeless though, some light shone through.  

Through all the dust and violence of the demotion I would see a glimmer of what my house would be some day.  My ceiling was swept free of the asbestos and soon a smooth surface appeared.  Before I had no ceiling lights and then one day I had them.  I remember the first time I flipped on the switch and the room was flooded with light.  New interior doors appeared, new windows, new plantation shutters.  New smooth floors were installed.  New bathtubs and new showers were installed.  It happened so slowly, but it DID happen.  

When at last the furniture was moved in and the last workman left, I did a little jig and looked around at MY house.  Yahoo!

It WAS crazy to do it when I did it, but maybe crazy was just what I needed at that time.  Maybe I needed the symbolism of the renovation more than I actually needed the renovation.  In the cleaning out of my house, I found I had to sort through endless material items that represented our marriage.  I had to decide what to get rid of and what to keep.  There was no shoving things back in a closet to sort though another day.  It was time to make decisions, time to get rid of things.  I had no room for things that didn’t work in my life anymore. 

Destruction, despair, rebuilding, catching glimpses of what life would eventually be like.  The parallels to the renovation and the process of healing from divorce are obvious and wonderful. 

During the divorce, I thought about selling this house.  Many people said I should.  It would be a new start, a chance to begin again without the memories associated.  The house is too big, I would be living alone in it, and the yard would take work.  

There were lots of sound reasons to move, to leave, cut my losses and let someone else deal with all the work that needed to be done.  However, there was something inside me that just needed to keep the house.  Even though both of my wonderful sons gave me full permission to sell the house, I knew I didn’t want to.  

You see, to me, this house is more than just real estate.  It is my home and my children’s home.  

This Christmas when they came back from their colleges, when their friends from high school dropped by, when we sat on the front porch, when we had the Christmas tree in the same place we always did, I knew I had made the right decision.   

They were not coming to Mom’s house.  They were coming home.  

The outside looked just the same.  The layout of the inside was the same dependable floor plan, but there were improvements, some predictable and some surprising throughout.  

Maybe, just maybe, they found the same was true of good ol' Mom too.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Betty's Year in Review: Part One.

It’s time for Betty’s Year in Review, presented to you in four parts, and not all harmonic as we see here in Part Number One.

2012 was the year I got divorced. 

Believe it or not, it’s still a little hard for me to write the D word.

I was sure my marriage would last forever.  After all, had we not made a promise to remain true and faithful to one another “until death do us part"?  

After he left, I discovered all the ways in which he had been preparing for his departure.   (Example: I thought he was cleaning up his home office. He had actually been packing it up.) As time went on, I discovered more things, more reasons why he left.  Pieces of the puzzle slowly revealed themselves. I felt so stupid.  I felt like the naive fourth grader who believes a cruel friend who tells her,  “I’ll be right back” and blindly waits in the classroom while the friend runs out to recess, laughing at how easy it was to dupe her. 

During this past year I have had to go back and comfort that little girl over and over.  She was blind, unquestioning, trusting and took any signs of affection and comfort (and there were many, part of the plan I suppose) as signs that all would be well.  

The face-saving part of me wishes I had been more suspicious, but I know that is just my ego trying to regain a sense of dignity. I can’t be the kind of person I want to be, I can’t be the mom, the teacher, the friend, the writer I want to be, if I let that part of the ego take over and color my world in shades of constant mistrust or suspicion. 

That kind of behavior is not in my nature nor do not want it to be.  Is it worth the chance that I’ll get duped again in my life?  I guess it has to be.  It’s a risk I’ll take to live my life the way I need to live it.

2012 was the year that one piece of paper came out of the printer, stark, black and white, with the signature of a judge who had never seen either of us, signifying that it was over.  It all came down to one piece of paper.  


The simplicity of that paper and ink is situational irony at its greatest.  

I still struggle with being divorced.  

It is a mind-boggling thing to have your world shift the way mine did in 2011 and 2012, and I wish my inner work were done. (As I am sure some of you wish the same!  Get over it, Betty!)  

Believe me, I am an impatient person and I want so badly to stride into 2013 without the baggage of 2012, but I am finally getting it through my head that it does not work that way.  Yes, I do stride at times, and then I stumble, and I fall and sometimes I still crash, but I get up again and each time it gets easier.  

The fog is starting to lift and I am starting to see how I accepted things in my life that should not have been accepted.  

I am starting to see that I was being given scraps and leftovers when I deserved a full, rich meal.  

I am starting to claim for myself those dreams and ambitions that I gave up so many years go to fulfill someone else’s definition of success.  

Can you hear Betty roar, my people?  Can you?  

Oh, I think you can.

Tomorrow:  Betty’s Year in Review, Part Two.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!!

Here's hoping 2013 brings you health and happiness!

Who knows what is around the bend?  

All we can do is take a deep breath, venture forward, and find out!

There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.

--Guy Gavriel Kay