Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Zealand Pictures. (You Have Been Warned.)

Hey there, My People.

More Pictures.




                                         Balconies.  (This was our view first thing this morning.)


Ain't vacations great?  To my regular blog readers--enjoy these nearly text-free posts as I will certainly be back to my Chatty Betty ways when I get home.  Don't worry about commenting here.  I have found my blog to be an excellent way to foist my vacation photos off on family members and hometown friends.  This way I can quiz them when I get back and see if they were truly devoting their lives to my travels or not.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What Do You Mean You Have To Leave? I Have More Vacation Photos!

Just a quick post this morning before we set off to new adventures!

We loved our time at the B and B.

We spent a few minutes exploring the grounds before we left.  Brian is leaning over a stream that contains huge carnivorous eels!  Good idea or bad idea?

We headed up the coast where scenery like this abound!  Gorgeous, yes?

For serious photographers like us, it's a dream.

OH!  Enough with this scenery!  Kiss me you fool!!

We are leaving Auckland today, saying goodbye to David and Eileen and heading to various places around the island.  I will catch up when I can!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sister Meet-Up in New Zealand!

Hi my people!  Brian and I flew from Australia to New Zealand and guess who just happened to be vacationing there?  It's my big sister, Eileen!!!

She and her husband (my bro-in-law) are on the tail end of their NZ adventure, so we decided to fly over and spend a few days with them.

                                             Here we are lounging around on the streets.  

Tonight we are staying at a lovely bed and breakfast.  Here is the view from my sister's room.

Bonus!  A picture of my favorite bathroom so far!

More adventures are to come I am sure!  Thanks for traveling with me!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Betty and Brian at Bondi Beach

Today we headed to Bondi Beach.

Brian seems to be having a wonderful time.  You don't suppose it has anything to do with the topless sunbather in his vicinity, do you?

We loved the scenery.   Later in our visit, we sat at the bar above these pools and enjoyed fine Australian beer.

                                                                     Nice views, eh?

                                     I know we will always remember our day at Bondi Beach!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Green Sydney

After hearing about our trips to the library here in Sydney, You probably thought we coudn't get any crazier, but we pushed the envelope and went to the Botanical Gardens!

                                                    I'm not Lion!  We had a great time!

                                                               Bird Friends Galore!

I met up with this very friendly Tour Guide who offered to show me around.  Funny, he didn't have an Australian accent, but I went with him anyway.

Hummmm...I like the way he's touching Autumn.  He really seems to be going out on a limb to show me a good time.

We are off to new adventures today!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Betty Down Under

Hello My Darling Blog People!

We are still in Sydney having a ridiculously good time.

Let's have some pics, shall we?

We've been to quite a few museums since we've been here.

Today we took a boat cruise around the harbor.
Here's Brian looking cool, like he is not excited about the box of treats in front of him.

Here's Betty being just as cool, don't you think?

We have walked all around the city, so occasional stops to let the dogs breathe are necessary.

I have lots more to share, but this picture pretty much sums up how things are going!

More updates soon!  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sydney: Day Two

Hi Everybody!

It was a fun day in Sydney.  We covered a lot of ground in one day.

One of our favorite places was the library.  Can you see why?

I am making friends with a lot of unique birds.

We've done a lot of hiking and climbing too!

We made it to the opera house and the bridge too!

Sorry for the irregular formatting.  I still don't have the magic touch when it comes to getting pictures to enlarge using the I-Pad.

Hope you are all doing well!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hello From Sydney!

Hello All!

We have had a good first day in Sydney.

Jet lag caught up with us a bit, but after a short nap, we were out and about.

Our hotel is near Hyde Park.  So lovely!

We went in St. Mary's too.

We are looking forward to more fun tomorrow as we get our bearings and find our way around the city.

Back at the hotel:

This is why it's good to be engaged to a resourceful electrical engineer.  The man knew we needed an adapter AND how many electrical hair appliances it takes to get Betty ready in the morning.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Flowers and Flight!

Hello Everybody!

Happy Monday to you!

Tonight Brian and I are leaving for a long vacation to Australia and New Zealand!  I am very excited about it.  My plan is to update my blog when I can, but I am new to blogging with an I-Pad, so it may not happen.  In any case, I will be return with lots of pictures, and spouting off about my travels, so prepare yourselves!  

We are both looking forward to our trip, but will miss our critters!
That's Rupert, Brian's cat.

I certainly have happy feet these days! 
I still can't believe all the new places they are taking me.

Happy Days, My People!

P.S.  If you blog using an I-Pad, could you give me some hints about the best way to do it?  For instance how do you adjust the size of the picture?  Some (like my foot picture) just won't enlarge.  Is that because my feet are already too big?

Friday, February 7, 2014

I Fired Jesus.

I fired Jesus, but I really miss the way he arranged my patio chairs.

One duty that fell to me when my husband left was to find a gardener.  Here in Southern California, nearly everyone has someone who comes by on a weekly basis and does the yard work.  My ex-husband had done our yard work because he enjoyed aspects of it, but with him gone, my yard was growing out of control.  I was in no condition to shop for landscapers and so when my friend’s gardener offered to send his friend over, I gratefully accepted. 

I liked Jesus right away.  He was a gentle, sweet man and I was so thankful to have a gardener that I didn’t say anything when he didn’t show up for weeks at a time.  After awhile. I started to notice he shared a few attributes with the more well-known Jesus.  You never knew when he was going to show up, but when he did, it was marvelous.

I watched as each week my neighbors’ gardeners came on the same day, at the same time, week after week.  I decided I would talk to Jesus and asked him if he could come more often.  

Now, I am not very good at being the heavy.  Despite my blog name and what a few misguided souls think, I really am not very bossy.  (I’m NOT!)  I tried to put it as nicely as I could, asking him if he could come more often.  He had limited English skills, so I gestured wildly and tried to say what I meant in a variety of ways.  

He seemed to understand when I said that maybe he could make length of time between his visits shorter.  Ah!  He got it! 

Well, no, he didn’t.  Instead he just cut the grass very, very short.

I began to suspect that maybe he wasn’t a real gardener and that’s why he couldn’t keep a regular schedule.  In any event, I was in agony when I thought about firing him.  Who fires Jesus?  Part of it was my soft heart and part of it was that, well, I just hadn’t done this stuff ever before in my life.  It was something my husband would have handled.  I certainly did not like this part of single life.

In December, I decided I would do it.  By this time Jesus had been my gardener for about two and a half years.  In Betty fashion, I wrote a letter, thanking him for all his hard work and explaining that I was going to get someone else.  I included a nice fat bonus check too.  Since I never knew when he was going to show up, I just had to wait and hope I was home when he did.  

Finally, the day came.  Evan was home for college and his bedroom window had a good view of the street.  I was devastated when I saw that Jesus has brought along his teenage son to help him.  The son worked slowly in the front yard, his ear buds firmly in his ears the whole time.  I was sick to my stomach as I thought about what I was about to do.  I paced around in Evan’s room with him looking on, telling Evan how nervous I was and how bad I felt.

Finally, I got on my big girl pants and went out.  I told Jesus the news and gave him the envelope with the letter and check.  He shook my hand and said, “You are a very nice lady.”  As I turned around I thought maybe he hadn’t really gotten the news right.  

I went back inside and watched from the window as both Jesus and his son got in the truck.  Jesus handed his son the letter and I watched as his son read it to him.  Then I saw his son put the letter down and make wiping gestures near his eyes.  “Oh no!” I said, starting to tear up. “I made his son cry.  Oh no!”  Evan  said, “Calm down, Mom.  He’s just putting his ear buds back in.”

Soon after, I talked to my neighbor and hired the guy she uses.  It’s great having someone come once a week, but I do miss the personal touch Jesus put into his work.  He always made sure my patio chairs were placed nicely around the table.

Firing Jesus was tough, but I learned I could do this kind of stuff if I needed to.  

I hope he found another yard to work in because when that man did show up, he really could work miracles.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Security to (in) the Feed Department

I know better than to smell a Granny Smith apple in public. 


To me, they are not just apples, but little green bombs of emotion.  One strong whiff sends sensations of memories careening through the corridors of my brain, connecting me directly to a fall afternoon sitting with my Grandma Bessie at her kitchen table, her paring knife in her one hand, a Granny Smith in the other. 

She cuts the apple down the middle.  With one turn of the knife, she scoops out the core and then hands that half to me.  I breathe in the apple, and see her smiling face, and remember how solid I felt sitting there across from her. 

Whenever I smell a Granny Smith, I remember how much I loved her and how much I miss her and, depending on the day, I can be a mess in about two seconds.  I don’t take any chances in public.  I still buy the apples, but I judge them on sight alone and hold them at arm’s length in the store, waiting until I get home to take one, breathe in its scent and let the emotions come. 

Smells are like that, aren’t they?  They have the ability to connect so immediately to a scene, a feeling, a story.   They are so individualized.  While we all experience this connection, it is rare that we share the same reaction.  To some, the smell of vinegar means a mother’s angry cleaning rampage, to others is means standing beside a favorite aunt at pickling time, to another it smells like pastel colors, like Easter. 

I was out of the country when my father died and so I did not attend his funeral.  I cried when I heard the news, but I don’t think I grieved.  About a year after his passing, I realized I did not have any material item of his and I asked my mother to send me something.  She sent me one of his old hats.  Without thinking, I opened the package when it came and put the hat directly to my nose.  The sensation nearly knocked me to the ground.  That was him.  That was his distinct scent.  It was then I was able to truly grieve.

As a farm kid, I was able to get my driver’s license at that age fourteen.  The law was that I could only use it only for farm errands.  After a few weeks of driving with him, I begged my dad to let me go into town by myself to get some feed.  He said yes. 

Going to town I was too nervous to feel anything, but coming home, I felt more confident.  I rolled down the window, felt that wind, and the wheels beneath me, and smiled at the road ahead.  

The bag of feed bounced gently in the back seat, sending puffs of the scent that would forever connect me to that sunny day and that feeling of freedom. 

A city girl now, I am not around feed very often, but whenever I go to Costco and see bags of feed I have the irresistible urge to throw myself atop them.

Just one deep breath and forty-one years disappear.   

One breath and it’s all there—the car, the wind, the road.  I am fourteen again and feel like I can fly.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Morning Flowers

Hi All!

Happy Mondays to you.

I was down and out all weekend with a bad cold, so I am ready for a new week and some new energy too!

Here are some flowers for you.

The flowering trees are starting to bloom here too!

These white ones are always a favorite.  I like to stand under them when the wind picks up.  The petals float downward and it's like it is snowing (without the the cold.)

OK, Let's get  out there and do good things in the world!

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
 --Harriet Tubman