Tuesday, April 30, 2013


It’s been a bit of a crazy time at school.  It was nice having an early Spring Break back in March, but this April brought us a solid wall of classes.  

The days have been passing pretty slowly, papers are piling up, and a kind of stress-filled monotony has taken over.  I think all of us, students and teachers alike, will breathe a sigh of relief when that that calendar flips over to May which will bring finals week, graduation, and summer break.

I had been feeling that churning malaise when I walked into my Wednesday night class last week. 

When my kids were little, I took on a night class so I could be with them during the day more. Over the years, I have enjoyed the older students that tend to take the night classes.  However, I am trying a different schedule next semester, one that will allow me to leave in the afternoons. 

The students are in the middle of writing their research papers, so we had an active class that night.  They were helpful with each other, engaged in their work, and the time went by quickly.  A few students lingered after class to ask me questions.  I stayed, chatted with them about their lives, and we shared a laugh before we said goodbye at around 8:00.  Night students are so different from day students and I will miss them next year.  I watched them to their cars, moving as a group, then spreading out, separating, each back to his or her own individual life.  

It was slightly cool as I walked out into the California evening. The campus was quiet, and there was a marine layer just settling over all the buildings, bathing everything in a misty hue. I walked down the sidewalk listening to the click of my heels on the sidewalk, past the lit classrooms full of students.

Turning the corner, I walked by the faculty office wing. Through the windows I could the see the hall lights shining on the heavy wooden doors.  I smiled to see those familiar names on the doors, but also felt a twinge as I thought about some of the names that have disappeared over the years.

I hugged my folders tightly to my chest, and suddenly knew that all of those thoughts I had been having were wrong. All that desire to see time go by quickly was wrong.  

Every single minute of life is precious. 

My mind flashed back quickly to a Sunday night dinner with friends years ago.  As we gathered our things to go home, a few of us started moaning and groaning at the thought of Monday morning coming and start of the work week.  I then looked over at our friend Raul who had stopped working due to issues surrounding his brain cancer.  I knew he would have given anything to get up the next morning, get in his car and drive to work.  

What seems like monotony to one is heaven to another. 

I am grateful for that insight I had on that foggy night.  Sometimes it is in the semi-darkness that the truths in life shine out more brightly. 

The next morning, I got up and got to campus even earlier than usual, feeling incredibly lucky to go back to my job, back to my students, back to that wonderful, stressful, life-affirming monotony. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Love Me, Love My Appliances.

This COULD be his first test....

Thanks to all of you who responded to my post, “Flood” in which I bemoaned the fact that I do not have someone in my life who lives with me and cares about my appliances as much as I do.

Relationships when we are young involve an important ritual that is, in general, lacking in relationships started later in life. 

When you are young and just starting to build a household, you most often start off with little or nothing.  Together you go in, and pick out an appliance or a piece of furniture.  Together you save your money, make those payments together, pay off the appliance or furniture and then, together, you celebrate what you have accomplished, high-fiving each other over a bag of burgers and fries shared in the front seat of a car that is yet to be paid off. 

That kind of working toward a goal is hard work and requires sacrifice, but when it’s between two people who are in love and share the same goals, it can act as a kind of super glue for the relationship.

Relationships that start in the 40’s and 50’s usually don’t entail that kind of goal setting.  In fact, there are probably duplicate appliances and furniture involved and so it comes down to winnowing away the ones that are older or less loved.

I purchased all new appliances this summer and despite my refrigerator leaking and the tube from the washing machine coming out of the wall, I am quite proud of all of them and am betting that they remain in my life for a long time.  

However, what if I get married again in the future?  My mate will have had nothing to do with the acquisition of these appliances.  He will not be invested in them.  

They will be, at best, step-appliances.  

Will that give me the kind of partnership I am looking for?  How can I be sure?

Thinking ahead for any possible hypothetical scenario, I present to you the hypothetical vows I intend to have my hypothetical beloved state during our hypothetical wedding ceremony:

I, (incredibly handsome, generous, kind, good-natured man), take your appliances, Betty, to be my very own.  

I promise to have and to hold the manuals in a file cabinet for easy access and later reference.  

I promise to clean all surfaces with Betty-approved non-abrasive cleaners. 

I hereby pledge to be concerned and ever vigilant about weak dishwasher hoses, clogged waterlines, and low water pressure.  

I promise never to place fruit pits or grease in the Badger 2000 disposal and to immediately retrieve spoons from the p-trap despite murky and gross conditions therein. 

Your lint trap is my lint trap and shall be cleaned vigorously on a regular basis.

I will cherish the little digital clock on the oven, forsaking all other digital readouts, no matter how flashy they may be.  

I will have, but never hold up the spinning glass tray in the microwave by putting too big of a plate upon it.  

I will be defend and protect the oven in both preheat mode and that crazy high degree self-cleaning mode.  

And, I solemnly promise to stand beside you and love you as you flatten your ear against the freezer door and ask over and over again, "Does that sound right to you?  Do you hear that rattling?  I hear a death rattle.  Does that sound right to you?"

I will care for and be concerned about your appliances, taking them as my own and forsaking all others.

In the name of Amana, Kenmore and Maytag, I hereby pledge my commitment to you and to your appliances.  This shall be an unlimited lifetime warranty without condition nor limitations.   

Until death us do part, Baby.  Until death us do part.  

(High Five!!!)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Mondays!

Are we ready for the week ahead?  

Here are some flowers to get you going!

These beauties were in the middle of cacti.

Purple bells ring out springtime!

I am into succulents lately.  I thought this one was particularly pretty.

Hope you all have great weeks!

--George Washington Carver

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Life has been buzzing along here.  I have been keeping busy and I am a very happy person. 

Living alone, I do get lonely from time to time, but in terms of day-to-day challenges, the most difficult thing about the post-divorce divorce life is keeping up with house repair and maintenance.  It is not so much that my ex was a handyman. (He wasn’t.)  I think it’s just knowing that there’s no one else to help me make decisions that bothers me.  Granted, I could have sold the house, but instead I stayed and renovated it and I when I have to, I can hire people to fix things for me. That part is not easy for me, but I am learning how to do it. 

What I miss the most is the partnership involved in building a life and in running a house.  For example, I was having trouble with my freezer leaking a few weeks ago.  It was driving me crazy and I was trying to detect a pattern to the madness.  It would go for a week and then leak and then leak twice in a day.  My laminate floor was taking a hit each time it happened.  

I would wake up at 3:00 a.m. and wonder if my freezer was leaking, but what I discovered was that it was not the fact of a faulty appliance that bothered me, it was the fact that there was no one else in the world who cared about my refrigerator as much as I did.  I wanted to wake up, and poke a partner and say, “Do you think our refrigerator is leaking? Do you?  What do you think we should do about it?”

In the past few months I have made a concerted effort not to talk about these feelings to anyone but my best friends.  Progress!  That’s what it’s all about and I wanted to show some, both to myself and others.  I am the can-do girl who can handle it all! Yep!

For instance, I put on my Big Girl Pants, called Sears, got the refrigerator fixed and proceeded on with life. 

Yesterday I was having a great day, running errands, and potting plants.  I put a load of laundry in my washing machine which is located in the kitchen and went out to the garage to do some straightening up. 

About 45 minutes later, I went in to find my entire kitchen floor flooded.  The water was everywhere: under the oven, under the dishwasher, under the washer and dryer.  I knew I had to get the water up fast and had to get all of it if my floor was to survive at all.  I felt a lump grow in my throat when I surveyed the mess, but I swallowed that lump.  For a second, I felt alone.  I felt overwhelmed, but I pushed down all those feelings.  No pity parties. I could handle all of this. I got busy. I used every bath towel I had in the house to mop up the mess.  I started using blankets and then kitchen towels.

I moved the washing machine out and then the dryer and found the water tube that had come loose.  Then I found I had ripped the vent out of the wall when I had moved the dryer.  I tried to get both of the tubes back in but was making a mess of things.  I called my friend, David, who does maintenance for the college to get some advice.  I tried my best to sound upbeat and confident that I could fix these things.  David is a good friend and I don’t think I fooled him for one minute.  He said he would be right over to take a look.

He arrived, climbed behind the dryer and started to work.  I was still on my hands and knees mopping up water when I decided to stand up and get some paper towels.  

WHACK!  I hit the back of my head on a drawer I had pulled out to get kitchen towels out of.

OUCH.  (Cuss words.  Cuss words.  Cuss words)   I just sat there, unable to speak.  The pain was intense. 

David called out, “What was that noise?”  I still couldn’t talk.  He stood up and looked at me, “Was that your head?” 

I nodded and rubbed my head.  I felt the tears coming.  I felt them coming fast, but I was confused about the feeling that was coming with them.

Of course I would cry after a blow like that, but these were not tears associated with pure physical pain.  

I sat there and I cried and tried to get a grip on my emotions that were going wild.  David was concerned, looking at me from behind the dryer. 

I was powerless over the emotions that flooded my brain.  It was as though the direct hit to my skull had dislodged some capsule of emotional pain that I had somehow had been keeping within in me. 

I started choking out the words, “I HATE living alone!  My kitchen is against me! I can’t handle all this!  I should have sold this house.”  I tried to stop the words, but they just kept coming.   I wailed. "He left and now,  I am all alone here in this big house and I can’t handle it!  I can’t!  I should just give up NOW! I’m going to give up, rent out a room somewhere, start wearing big dresses from K-mart and do all my laundry in a laundry mat for the rest of my life!!!” 

I was shocked by my outburst.  Where had that come from?  "I hate living alone!" I repeated.  Then I just sat there and cried.

Standing up, I held the back of my head and cried.   David had managed to wedge himself between the washer and dryer to get closer to me.  He reached out his arms.  I went to him and he hugged me and told me everything was going to be OK.  "Go sit down," he said.  

I did.

He fixed the washer and dryer and then went to my freezer and got a bag of edamame to put on the big lump on my head.   He stayed until he was sure I was going to be OK, reassuring me that what I was going through was natural, and I would bounce back, and he didn’t really expect me to start wearing the big dresses from K-Mart anytime soon.

I thought about all those feelings that had come up. Had I been unaware of their strength?  Had I been suppressing them?  Ignoring them?  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  You see, deep down, I was afraid that if I gave into them, I would sink back down into the mire in which I had spent a large part of the last year. 

However, a great and wonderful thing happened.

I expressed my pain and frustration and then I went on with my life.  I didn’t dwell on the pain.  I didn’t sink down into mourning or depression. In fact, I went out with a friend that evening and we had dinner, went shopping and had a great time.

One thing I am still learning is to get out of my own way when it comes to this mending of my life.  That jolt of physical pain somehow gave me permission to vent some emotional pain that I had been holding back, some of which I had not known was even still in there.

I didn’t really need that flood on my kitchen floor, but I did need that emotional flood to wash away some pain that I had been pushing down.

The knot on the back of my head is still tender, but so, thank goodness, is my heart. 

I now trust that both will be completely healed someday very soon.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers

Good Morning, My People!

Hope you are in the mood for a little variety today.

I have no idea what kind of flowers these are, but aren't they pretty?

Hey!  Here's some bamboo!  Just for YOU!

And of course, I have to throw in the traditional rose too!

Hope you have a great week ahead!

Be impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
--Miguel Angel Ruiz

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Monday!

Hope you had a great Easter!



We are loving Spring around here and all the beauty that it brings!

How was your weekend?

I had a busy weekend with a Certain Very Nice Man!  I want to thank him for ALL the good times!

Here is a partial list of our activities:

Four mile walk
Trip to dog park
Washing the dog
Going to movie
Many nice dinners
Going to comedy show
Coloring Easter Eggs
Trip to a museum
A romantic stroll around the harbor
Trip to the library
Singing in the car
Long, wonderful talks

Whew!  Now it is back to work.  Life is good!

Here's to a great week ahead!

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.

--John Barrymore