Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Popcorn



I realized the other day that I was completely happy when out of the blue I started thinking about popcorn.  It’s one of those foods I think you can only really think about when you are happy. 

It’s so...well... poppy and happy. 

Its whole essence is ecstatic, isn’t it? 

You can’t say that about soup or mashed potatoes or even cauliflower, which if you think about it is just aching to be a big popcorn kernel. 

I love everything about popcorn: the feel of it between the fingers, the saltiness that hits the tongue, the way it tumbles into the mouth and even then, does not settle down but instead tumbles around, finding its way between our molars. 

Maybe it’s the conditions under which we eat popcorn.  Most of the time, we save popcorn for celebrations, for times when we want to be with friends, or even by ourselves in the dark of the theater.  

Delicious.

Popcorn takes on its predestined shape when exposed to heat.  So do many people, don’t you think?

Fluffiness in a bowl. 

Popcorn is what happiness looks like to me.  Laughing with friends, treading lightly over the asphalt with Kia by my side, walking up to Brian and putting my arms around his waist and feeling him relax into me. 

It’s all popcorn, baby.

Make mine a large.





Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, Sister M!


Today is my sister Marlene's birthday!  

I send her birthday greetings today and thank her for being a great big sister to me my whole life.

Here we are this past summer as cabinmates.  


Marlene is the hub of the wheel of our family, opening her home to family reunions and always being supportive of all of us.   

Her loving personality shines through in all she does.  

She also has some great pets! 

In honor of her big day, here are some of the animals who are lucky enough to share her home.


Yuki


Koda




 Harold  

(I think you can see Harold really runs the household.)

Happy Birthday, Marlene!  

I love you, Sister!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

I had such fun going out and picking out your flowers yesterday.



Here's a yellow beauty just for you.




 I thought some of my snowbound peeps might appreciate a look at some clover that was among the grass at the park down the street.  




And here's one more.  
We are spoiled rotten with year-round flowers here.  
I am happy to share them with you!

Hope you had a great weekend and you are headed into a fantastic week! 


The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition.
                               --Balzac

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Back from Colorado!

Hi everyone!

Brian and I had a great time in Colorado! My family made sure I had a great birthday weekend.



I got a chance to catch up with many of my great-nieces and nephews.


Here's Bea, working her Kindle like a pro!



Kayli helped me blow out my many birthday candles.



Felicity stole our hearts.



Turner had a birthday just the day after mine, so we got to have another party!

I plan to catch up with you all soon!

Happy Days to you all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Betty, Buttons, and a Beau






Thank you all so much for your great comments and heartfelt messages of congratulations.  So many of you went with me on that unexpected detour my life took and were nothing but supportive throughout the whole crazy trip.

 I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope you will hold on to the Hail Mary strap located just above your heads as I gladly careen into this next exciting phase of my life.

I am writing to you from Brian's house right now.  We are leaving for a trip to Colorado tomorrow, so I came here so as not to face the Los Angeles traffic in the morning.  B is still at work.  

It is a good thing the man has pledged his undying love for me because I am currently sitting here, surrounded by his FOUR remotes, trying desperately to get the TV to work.  

Four remotes?  

Seriously?  

It's not like he has not shown me how to maneuver in this wasteland of electric totems before, but there is a stubborn streak within me that closes off my ear canals when presented with this kind of information.

Bossy Betty hereby declares that believes everyone in America should be limited to one remote per television.  Make it so, my people.

Anyway, I have been waving my arms, punching buttons, reading mysterious and perhaps slightly threatening messages on the screen of his giant TV for about thirty minutes now.  

I think I may have accidentally subscribed to several channels, including a Brazilian cooking/porn channel.  

B will be home soon and I will confess all my sins and probably have a satisfying fifteen to twenty minute rant about technology and remotes and I know he will smile and nod and then kiss me full on the lips, lowering my volume and making me forget everything else. 

 Ah, it is good to be loved completely for who I am.  

It truly is.




Monday, January 13, 2014

Betty's Big News!


This weekend, Brian, that Certain Very Nice Man asked me to marry him and I said, "Yes!"



Can you believe Betty is engaged?  

I am over-the-moon happy to be starting a new life with this wonderful person.

More details soon!




Thursday, January 9, 2014

Betty's Guide to Better Living: Closets



Oh yes, oh yes! It's time to dig into Betty's Guide to Better Living Files.

My house was built in the 1970's and has nice big closets. 
 It also has wooden closet rails that have been painted A LOT.  
Even durable high gloss paint will crack and peel under the stress of moving those hangers about.  

Enter the $1.29 shower rod cover.



I bought mine at Anna's Linens.  They come in a variety of pretty colors.  I chose brown.



I just slipped it over the rail.  It was really easy!



Now my hangers slide with ease and I don't have to worry about messing up the paint.

Betty will be back from time to time with more handy hints like this!

I'm here for you, my people!

Hope you have happy days!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Passing It Down

Just about a year ago, just before he left to back for another semester of college, Evan said, "Mom, you need a dog."

We went to the local shelter just to look around.  The cages were filled with pit bulls and Chihuahuas--two breeds in which I was not particularly interested.  We passed by one cage and saw the cowering little dog in the back.  She would not come out to see us, no matter how much we urged her.  I looked at the tag on the cage which was marked Chihuahua and kept walking.  Evan, though, insisted that we go in and ask to look at her.

When they brought this dog out into the play yard, the attendant had to carry her.  She was too scared to walk.  When he finally sat her on the ground, she just stood, shaking.  I bent down to look at her.  She didn't look like a Chihuahua to me.  She looked like a scared little girl who needed a home.  At that point in my life, after a rocky year of being newly divorced, I could kind of identify with her.

We left the shelter without her, but we paid for her tags and were told we could pick her up two days later after she had been spayed.  On the way home we talked about names, "Daisy?"  "Mildred?"  "Lilly?"  I mused to Evan.  He looked straight ahead at the car we were following,  and said, "How about Kia?"  "Short, sporty, different!  I like it!" I said.

I took Kia to the vet two days after I picked her up from the pound.  The vet confirmed she was not a Chihuahua, and suggested a combination of Border Collie and Jack Russell.  "You have a very high energy dog here," she said.  That was fine with me.

As you can guess, life around here has never been the same since her arrival.

Today would have been my father's birthday.  When I think of him, I remember how much he loved his dogs.  I think my mom could have lived without dogs, but my father loved them so much.  I have a picture in my mind of him walking down the long path by our house, his dog beside him.  He had such a tender heart and a love of animals.  He passed that on to me.

He would have loved my little Kia Louise.

She brings such joy to my life.  She greets me with enthusiasm every time I walk through the door.  She gets me up and out in the morning.  In the evening we go to the dog park to play and I meet up with a circle of friends I would have never had without her.  She has opened up Brian's heart to dogs and converted him completely to a dog person.  At night she curls under the covers with me.

She is my constant companion and it has been a privilege to see her gain confidence and strength.

She has found her forever home here at this house and in my heart.

So Happy Birthday to my daddy and Happy Anniversary to my Kia.








Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Morning Flowers



Good Monday Morning to you all!

I am thinking of all those in the cold weather today.

Wishing you all warm times inside.





It's the start of the first full week in the new year!

Are you feeling renewed and energetic?

I am!

I had a wonderful weekend with that Certain Very Nice Man, strolling the streets of Los Angeles, seeing what we could see and loving our time together.

Hope you have a happy week ahead!



We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
                                                                                  ---Frederick Keonig

Friday, January 3, 2014

Putting Up Poetry


I was throwing a little New Year's Eve gathering and thought about what to give my guests to start their New Year off right.

I considered giving them Blessing Jars--the ones you fill up through the year, but I wanted to do something a little different, so I came up with the idea of Poetry Jars.


I used wide, clear tape to affix the labels which read "Poetry: Read as Needed."


I printed out a variety of poems on colored paper and put them in large Mason jars.  I used different colors, fonts, and cut the paper to different sizes.  I tried to fold each one a little differently and if they were small, I didn't fold them at all.  There was one poem called "Elegy for the Written Letter" which I placed in an envelope before I put it in the jar.   For the poem titled,"This Paper Boat," I folded the paper like this:




I had such fun putting the jars together.  You just never know when you are going to need a poem, right?  I like the variety this affords and the feeling that you are going to pull out just the poem you need at the time.

Since these were Mason jars, I was able to decorate the top easily by just using a stamp on a post-it note and then sealing the note to the lid.




It makes me smile to think of my friends reaching into their Poetry Jars, and relaxing with a poem when they need to.

Hope this idea gives you a smile!




Thursday, January 2, 2014

Life On Shuffle

Brian's I-Pod and My I-Pod.  Together at last....  Awwww....


If you were to look at the selection of music and books on my I-Pod, you might think a pack of drunken gerbils had gotten together and started programming one night during a wild party. 

It looks like they had a fine time drinking beer and high-fiving each other as they downloaded hits of the 70’s, religious classics, corny country songs, and new age books.   Ever the organizer, I have been careful to craft playlists that group like things together.

Kia (my dog) and I take a walk every morning and most of the time I select one of my playlists or listen to the radio.  The other morning though, my I-Pod got on some weird shuffle thing and I found myself listening to computer-selected bits of the hodge-podge collection.

My first reaction was to switch it off that setting, but my hands were cold and I was in a curious mode, so I just let it go.  For the next hour I listened as songs from my past came on, interspersed with short tracks from books. 

At first it was a little jarring to hear a three minute segment from Joel Osteen reminding me that I am valued child of God, followed by a rockin’ rendition of “It’s Raining Men,” by The Weather Girls.   Then it was on to Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England,” followed by Garrison Keillor musing about the raccoons in Lake Wobegon.  Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty belted out “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” Then it was time for a little some Bach, followed by a bit of a lecture on images in Poe’s poetry.

Some selections sent me back in time.  Some propelled me forward.  Some made me smile and others made me tear up.  There were some that were more than a little embarrassing and others that completely surprised me.  (The theme song from Xanadu?  Really?)  The range of emotions and movement through time jostled my brain a little.  

Near the end of my walk, I reached into my pocket, turned my I-Pod off and just listened to the sound of my own heart, beating away, healthy and strong, as I walked up to my own front door.

The new thing for me, Betty Control, was that I just let whatever come, come.  I didn’t even try to classify, organize, or categorize.  I just let the next selection play, listened to it, and take me wherever it wanted. 

I am normally a bit believer in resolutions.  I love making that list at the first of the year, so full of hope and possibility.

But maybe that is just a playlist of sorts and maybe this year I need to live my life on shuffle, to experience it all—the trips back in time, the trips forward in time, the fun, the pain, the uncertainty, the surprises—without trying to control them.  

In this next year, experiences will come and experiences will go. My hope is to listen each one with an open mind and let it teach me what I need to learn. 

Above all else, in the midst of the busy year ahead, I must remember to periodically shut everything else out and just listen to the music of my own heartbeat. 

In the end that’s the most important song, and the one that will always lead me back home.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!!



Happy New Year!

May 2014 be a wonderful year for you all!