Monday, November 21, 2011

Contemplation on me

I was driving into work this morning and thinking about the next few days. I have a lot to get done before going to visit my Aunt, Uncle and cousins for the holiday, and yet I was very settled and okay. I thought about this and decided it is because I have taken charge of my life in a new way. I had been coasting and going day to day. Trying hard to be ready for the next crisis and never really making it. Today I finally felt like I had made it. Not sure what that means, but I felt like I was in control of things, instead of things being in control of me.

Most likely this will change by next week, but hey, it was a nice feeling for today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A three hour tour....

Not a 3 hour tour, but rather a 3 hour dinner. Just came back from this and am very full with tasty Indian food.

I took my friend and neighbor out for her birthday dinner. She is vegaterian and loves Indian food so we went to a local spot. And then ate and talked. And talked and talked and talked some more. The server finally just gave us the check and said "stay as long as you like". We got in the car and I saw that it was 9 pm. Wow. We had gotten there at 6 pm.

The talk was good, I think both of us were purging about stuff that had happened in the last month or so. She had started dating on OKcupid and was telling me some stories about that and I was talking about jobs and what I want to be when I grew up and it was fun. We jumped from trips to the north to go skiing to her upcoming trip to Delhi for christmas to her getting the roof replaced and me getting my ducts in the house cleaned to our dogs, our cats, our sex life or lack there of to how cute the server guy was and whether she may work in MD or DC next spring to what to pain the kitchen.

Yep. Fun and much needed. I am full of good food and relaxed. Friends are good for the soul.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still missing you

I’m still missing you
Still missing you

I turn to ask a question or listen for an objection
and I only hear the the emptiness of where you used to be

I’m still missing you

There seems to be no hope for me
No dreams left to achieve
No, not depressed, not angry, just feeling left behind.

Some days I smile and laugh and wonder where you are.
Some days I go thru the motions and work towards something that’s too far.

I see you in the house, a ghost of what was here. I love to see your face and know that you are near.
I can always find you, if only in my thoughts.

I am slowly emptying out the house but it’s hard to keep up the pace. I stop and look at the shirts you wore or the movies you used to watch. I don’t want to let them go just yet, but I know some times I must.

To take this home and make it mine and make that step forward, I try and try and hope you don’t mind and think you would be okay. This house was yours. You told me about that corner you had to stand it when you were bad and the games played in the kitchen.

I know what I need to do, but doing it is another story.

We gathered a lot of things in our life together. Books and toys and stuff. Boxes and boxes to go thru and decide which memories to keep.

I lay in bed last night and dreamed of dreaming of you. I thought about the last time I cried and know it has been awhile. This make me sad but also makes me think the time has formed that scar. It once was an open wound on my heart and at some point became a scab. The emptiness is still there but the world has grown past it.

I touch my heart and think of you and still wonder why you had to go.

I'm still missing you.


written at 1ish in the morning on sunday 11/13 after waking from a dream and thinking of Jim.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fears of Zero

A bit late for Halloween, but think of this as alternative to The Raven.

Late at night.
When the world sleeps.
And I am here alone.
And here I come some nights to confront my fears.
They're fears.
They are always with me.
Lurking, scurrying, hiding, and waiting.
They come!
And they go.
Though they are gone they are never far
and here alone at night I can confront them.
There they are...confronted fears!
Fears of hunger, fears of pain, fears of missing the last train.
Fears of dentists always drilling, fears that no one will be willing...
to see me as I know I really am.
Once they are counted and compelled...they can quickly be dispelled...
Like figments of my own imagination.

But always, there are other fears.
Fears of snakes, fears of cats,
fears of mańętre d's and rats.
An irrational black terror...
that someday I may get fat.
Fear of elevators falling, and the taxman someday calling
And the accidental walling of myself up inside a clammy, dank, old, dingy cellar where the spiders weave around my tummy
And the worms, and bugs and crawly things squirm and squiggle at my person. (Oh, I love it!)
Once they are counted and compelled, they can quickly be dispelled...

But then there are other fears.
Fears of bullets, there's a dread.
Fear of baldness on the head.
Fear of waking up one morning, to discover that you are dead.
Once they are counted and compelled, they can quickly be dispelled...
Like figments of my own imagination.

Then there is the last fear.
Just about the time I'm past fear.
The one that really is final.
It will come.
Yours...and mine'll.
In the darkest of the night
it will come without a fight.
It will count me and compel me.
It will casually dispel me.
For I am just a figment of its own imagination.


Fears of Zero
Written by Jerry Juhl
Preformed by Zero Mostel on The Muppet Show

This was first shared with me by a friend who did a calm, slow reading of the work. Then I went to youtube and learned just how Muppets change everthing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ouch! My poor head!

I did it again yesterday. Smacked the top of my head on something hard enough to scrape skin and hair and make it bleed. I didn't even notice the bleeding part, that was pointed out to me by a friend.

I was working in my basement which is about 5 feet high and has all kinds of ducts and pipes and such running through it. I bent down, stood back up and bam, that did it. A nice 2 inch scrape on the top of my head.

That's okay, it is not alone up there. 2 years ago I slipped in the rain and fell off my front steps and went head first into the concrete sidewalk. Big ouch. I think I may have even blacked out for a moment and when I reached up to feel my scalp, I came away with a bit of skin and hair and blood. Ick.

I think this started back when I was about ten. I had long blondish red hair and was playing in the yard with my brothers. I got up on the tire swing and stood up on the top of it. Then suddenly in the swirling around, my hair got caught in the rope and a piece got yanked out so fast I didn't have a chance to yell. I yelled a lot afterwards that's for sure.

There have been other times I have scraped or scratched or cracked my head and the top of my head bears the scars. I am glad I heal fast.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Brother from anotha' mother

Some extraordinary friends. Don't think of them as friends but as cousins. I have spent more real life time with them than my real blood cousins. Their parents and my parents were good friends and we were always at one or the other of each others houses for a holiday or summer fun. For 50 years I have been looking to my dad's friend and saying "Uncle Ed". It has been amazing to know them. We all grew up together playing in the backyard, in the pool, at the beach and sharing holidays. There were four of them and four of us and we all sort of match in ages also. Like our parents were pregnant sort of within a few months of each other. It is pretty cool.

We were not alone in this pairing either, there is a third family that was part of the gang and was friends with our parents. There are only three kids in their family, but again they were matching within a few months of us. It is sort of eerie but it makes it fun too. The three families have a yearly reunion that is always a blast and the bond is still there.

The families came together in New Jersey and lived in an apartment complex for a few years. Then when the apartments were outgrown we moved on to our own houses and backyards. Backyards with lots of cook outs and kids run hither and yon and babies on blankets gazing up at dad with the camera. I have home movies to prove this, but haven't gotten them on youtube yet.

Somewhere when I hit 4 or so the families moved onward again and further apart. We still were in touch, but not quite like it used to be. Except for Uncle Ed and his family, we saw them at various times of the year. Went to graduations, weddings and funerals thru the years. Some fun stories about things that happened when you had too much to drink at a wedding. Oh boy!

There was a time as we grew older that we got involved in spouses and in laws and such, didn't see them as much. Still there was always a kick ass Halloween party that my one cousin would host and Jim and I tried to make it to that at least every other year or so. Jim and I enjoyed hanging with my cousins and connecting in a different way then I did to my own siblings.

I enjoy the laughter that is found when spending time together. Laughter as we play cards, or pictionary or just sharing a meal. It is a sound that I miss when I am alone in my house and am glad to hear again. There is always the fun of remembering our lives and the events that we shared through the many years. In a big family there is always a variety of things that never seem to be forgotten. These are treasured.

When I lost Jim, then my Dad they opened up even more with invitations to visit and be part of their family holidays or just for a place to get away from the confines of the house and the city. Much as my brother in Ohio has done. It makes me feel good to know that there is a place I can go, even in the darkest of times and find family.

The photo at the top is me, and my older brother (far right) with my cousins. The one below was taken on my cousin's 50th birthday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Anniversary

We were married November 4th, 1989.

I remember the day. What a day. Filled to the brim with stuff to do. We had the rehearsal, rehearsal lunch, wedding and wedding dinner all in one day. What were we thinking. But that is how the relationship went. We met, fell in love, dated to make sure and then were engaged and married all in the space of 8 months.

I miss you, my husband.

I cherish the memories I have of our wedding day and wedding night. And all the days afterwards. And all the nights that we shared.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The end of the world as we know it....



Swimming? Biking? Exercising? for real?

Crazy! It's the end of the world as we know it!! Chaos in the streets!

It started from a simple conversation that I didn't know was going to lead to a 6 months gift membership at the YMCA. I am swimming twice a week and it is great. The pool is quiet - only a few people there - and I can do the laps at my speed. Slow!

My Aunt and Uncle and cousins gave me the 6 month membership as a birthday present. They did it very nonchalantly "where is the local Y?" My uncle worked for YMCA for many years so I wasn't really thinking about me when I answered, but rather about him.

I love to swim and have been swimming since I was a kid (back in Skaneateles Lake, remember?) and have not been able to afford a membership. I would join, swim a couple months then have to stop. This is great. I am going 2x a week consistently and sometimes I squeeze in a visit on the weekend. I have muscles that are pretty darn sore, but are getting better as I add laps.

Now biking? that's nuts! but a friend got a used bike fixed up for me, again, as a birthday present. Okay guys I get the hint!!! So anyway, I took a trial run on it. Oh my. Yep the expression goes you never forget, but my memory needed to be jogged into place.

I haven't done this as much as the swimming, but am not quite believing that it is me doing either one of these.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Swimming after dark

Swimming in Skaneateles lake at midnight!

My brother, niece and cousins. All jumped into the lake just after midnight. Wheee!

The water was cold...for a minute, then it was okay. It was great just to do this with family and in such a just pick up and do it kind of way. Of course, they were all toasted - beer, beer and more beer and I wasn't (I am a water drinker), but it was still a blast!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Before the end of my childhood

I am vacationing this week in a small village called Skaneateles. It is located on the end of a Finger Lake in Central NY. I grew up here. It was the time when I was still innocent and all was right with the world. My family lived here for almost ten years (though it seems like a lot longer in my mind). I was 4 when we moved here and 14 when we moved out. I think of this as where I grew up. My home town.

There is the feeling when I saw the lake for the first time at the 'overlook'. It is at the south end of the lake and you get just a glimpse of the water nestled in the hills. The feeling in my heart and head. The feeling of home. It made me drive all the faster to get to get there. To race up the lake side road and into the town.

Skaneateles is a very quiet town. One Main Street with the shops, library and post office. And the park. The lake front park where you could go swimming in the summer and ice skating in the winter. The lake is one of the purest in the country and it is drinkable unfiltered and supplies several towns and the city of Syracuse with clean fresh water.

I write this from the porch of the home I am staying at this week. Paul's Cabin. It is on the east side of the lake and it is on the edge of a cliff that drops into the lake. It is magnificent and a wonderful treat. There is no TV. No cellphone service. I can get wifi so I can use my netbook, and there is a great classical music station so I am happy. My brother and family rented it for a week and they will be joining me tomorrow. They rent it out as a vacation home. I have had three gloriously quiet and contemplative days. I woke the other morning and opened the door onto the porch. It seemed odd. There was the sound of wind rushing thru the trees and some odd noise. Oh. Birds. Birds chirping. Living in the city for so long, I had sort of forgotten that early morning sound.

See, I turn 50 tomorrow. The 22nd. It has been nagging at me for the last two years. I have stopped telling people I am 38 (which I have been told I look) and telling them I am 50. This must mean something in the timeline of life. Or in my brain that is keeping track of this stuff.

When we lived in town, it was in a nice middle class neighborhood. There also the families that lived "on the lake" on east lake or west lake road. Those were the upper class of Skaneateles. The homes with lake front property and docks for boats and such. I look at these houses now, after 30 years and am still in awe of them. Beautiful white columns, boathouses and criscraft classics in the water.

I found our old house and gazed at the changes. They cut down the tree! The huge tall pine that graced our front lawn. Branches on it didn't start until half high as our second floor. I would stand near the trunk and look up and try to see who was living there. There had to be someone up there! I recall the winters we would have here. Winters that make the stuff I see now look like a snow dusting. Winters where schools didn't close because it snowed, we just trudged on thru it. The snow would usually get to be about 4 or 5 feet high. My dad and older brother would just shovel and shovel. The snow yielded to fantastic snow igloos and winter caves dug out around the front of the house. In our snowpants and boots and caps and gloves we would play in the white snow.

The new owners (only lived there for 15 years now) added an addition to a small kitchen and reconfigured the back of the house. Other gaps - the peach tree in the backyard is gone. As such the tire swing that was attached to it. The tree was where we would set up our tents in the summer and my brothers and I would sleep out in the yard. Far enough away to be "out" and yet, close enough to the house to be able to run tumbling in when it got too scary outside.

It was fun to drive up and down the street. I think that remembering the names of my childhood friends was like opening a box that had been locked and shoved in a basement corner. I remember Mary Pat who lived across the street from us. I look at their house and the rush of memories hits. Playing Wild Wild West with her. She was always James West and I was Artemus Gordon. She was braver than I was at jumping, climbing or running, but I was better at imagining something to be something else that would work to get us away from the bad guys. Making a stick into a gun, or a bomb, or a well, whatever..and once I told her what it both our WAS that. I have always loved to think outside the box and now in reflection, maybe it started way back then.

Up and down familiar but vaguely forgotten streets. With large trees and quiet almost non existant traffic once off of main st. I checked off various houses I recognized but matching them with who I last remembered living there. The families that lived on my street and had kids that we grew up with. The best was on the one up on the hill. It was a large easygoing house at the top of our hill that had a family living in it that we were friends with. My mom and their mom were friends and us kids were all sort of the same age. That was the house that was just fun to be in. It's my dream/fantasy house. I would love to buy it from whomever is there now. It was like a magic house. There was the guinea pig room, the dance studio (a large room with hardwood floors and mirrors and an echoinglyy tall ceiling. I could imagine parties being held there with a band and men and woman dancing in the slow waltz or maybe the charleston. There is a book out called "The Catch Trap". They have a large house in that book that I imagine to be like this house.

I kept waiting for the police to nab me for stalking or such.

There are lost of snapshots in my head of my time growing up here. Walking the three blocks to the library on saturdays. It was there that I was able to find books. I loved to read, thanks to my parents who also loved to read and read to us at night. The library though, well, that was a special place. They had a section that was all for kids books. The Black Stallion and the whole series of books by Walter Farley about horses. I read every one of them. Many young adult science fiction that I was reading before I was a young adult. I discovered Heinlein there. And The Big Brain, Harriet the Spy, Mrs. Piggly Wiggly and many others. Some of these books I have found again and have my shelves to pass on to nieces and nephews and such. But it started at the Skaneateles Library.

Another snapshot is running through our backyard and the empty lot behind our house to go over to Austin Park. The empty lot behind the house now has a house in it. Sheesh. Austin park is an ice skating rink that was built in the early 70's for the kids in Skaneateles. Before this we would just skate on the lake. My older brother played hockey on the lake and it was just the town thing to do. Austin Park made hockey and figure skating a lot safer. We have a couple hours of home movies of my two brothers playing hockey. Older brother was mid teen's and younger was 6 or so. Quite a difference in playing style. Hockey to us is like football to texans.

I went by the Presbyterian Church. That was the family church and where I got my religous education. Sunday School. Both my parents were sunday school teachers at various times. One year it was the year my grade (whatever that was) got to put on the christmas pagent. I was chosen to be Mary. I distinctly remember one girl sneering at me (i didn't know it was sneering back then) about how I only got picked because my mom was the teacher. I think my mom made her a shepard or such. I am going to try and go to service on sunday morning. Not sure if any of my siblings will go, but we will see.

I know I have been writing a lot but the flood gates have opened.

There is a comforting warm happy feeling here as I sit here on the deck listening to the classical music that my father taught me to love, (thank you dad) and look over and across the lake. Now, over the years, I have been to other lakes in other states, since this one, seen them, swam in them and such, but none feel the way this one does.

I was standing in the public park in the village and knelt down to feel the stone that is the walkway at the edge of the park and meets the water and hearing the water/waves hit the stone wall and remembering that sound. I remembered that sound from 35 years ago. It calmed me. It was great.

My father always told me "don't grow up". I was Peter Pan and wanted to be a kid forever. There has been a lot that has happened in the last few years. But the kid in me is still there. It remembers.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day - Summer is over

I went to the annual Labor Picnic today. It is always held at my stepmom's (and late father's) home. They have a large farm with half of it devoted to a park like area filled with ten picnic tables, a large grill, horseshoe set up, a spring fed pond and lots of other stuff. It's a bring your own food and she supplies the place and the beer.

Not the same going by myself.

I was thinking on the drive home about how Labor Day used to mean it was time to put the sandals and white pants and shorts away. Yet just yesterday I bought a pair of capri's. They weren't white, but I had been looking for them all summer and couldn't find the right kind. These were even on sale!

Things are a little more flexible in the fashion forward world. I bet I could wear white pants on Tuesday and no one would even blink.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


First a tornado, then an earthquake and now Hurricane Irene!

All within seven days of each other.

The tornado hit on Sunday, then the earthquake on wednesday and Irene came on Saturday night.

I have never been through an earthquake before. When it hit, it felt like the subway was rushing under my floor. The floor shook, things fell off of shelves and there was a rumble like thunder.

Irene was a hurricane that hit the east coast. There was a lot of advanced warning and as such we were ready. Toilet paper, bread, etc...the shelves at grocery stores were bare. Irene was brutal to the coastal cities and dropped a lot of rain and wind on us. Trees were uprooted and homes, cars and power lines were damaged. My house decided that was the time to let me know about the leak in the roof. I noticed my office ceiling was dripping and was able to handle it before it became too big a mess. I had to have someone come out and reseal around my chimney. I am lucky in that my cousin is a roofer and he was able to do it a few days later. That was a big help!

Lots of people were without power for days. We had power companies from other parts of the country come in to help out. I saw a convoy of trucks from Indiana moving through the city. I know there were more. Our neighborhood hung out together and many of us were sharing flashlights and food if it was needed. I enjoy living in a neighborhood where we all know each other and are comfortable talking with our friends/neighbors. It is important in times like hurricanes and earthquakes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29

August 29, 2011

4 years and 3 months.

I learned of a second cousin who lost her husband of 22 years on May 22nd 2007. Just seven days before Jim died. We met at a family gathering and somehow the subject of our dogs came up and it circled around to us both being widows. I didn't know about it. We are, obviously, not close and only see each other a couple times a year. I would have thought that someone would have told me though. Well, maybe someone did and it just didn't connect.

We sat down and talked about all the things that had changed in our lives and how we handled things afterwards. I went to a grief counseling group a few months after Jim's death, but this is the first time in long time I spoke with another widow. It felt good to know that things I felt were things she felt also. It was kind of eerie to be doing this while we ate grilled chicke and had beers, but we were able to touch on several issues that had occured and the discussion will continue on another day.

I also learned that she had a good friend who lived across and down the street from me two years ago.

Life is an interesting circle.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Almost made it through the month of June as planned. Almost.

The plan was, after all the things I have done to the house, big and small projects - to have a month of do nothing.

Well, the water heater broke open and flooded the basement on June 29th. I came home from work and heard a 'whooshing' noise and opened the basement door to see water all over. I was able to turn the main line off and with a friends help we used the shop vac to suck most of it up. We filled the 20 gallon shop vac up twice and then set up fans to dry the moisture up.

The plumber came and looked at it in the morning and had a new one in that afternoon. He is a good guy and has worked on the house before.

The project I had planned for August just got done a little sooner. I was going to clean out the basement of clutter around the floor and then start going thru some of the boxes down there and reorganizing the place. Many of the 'boxes' are actually rubbermaid containers and nothing was damaged in the flood.

My neighbor offered to haul anything I had out to the dump and I took him up on his kind offer. Cleaned up alot of stuff that had been lying around waiting to get taken upstairs and trashed. Yay!!

Next week I start going thru each box. Last time I did this was about 2 years ago and I got thru about a third of the boxes. For each box I went thru I did only save about 10% of what was in there. I was very good at tossing stuff or donating clothes and such. Proud of that anyway.

It is tough to look at things that have been around you in some way for 20 or 30 or even 40 years. Some have not been out of boxes since I moved into the house because we don't have the room in this home that we had in our ones in the past. I need to let go of stuff that has been in boxes for years. It's time. I don't want you to think I am in the hoarding stage, it is all together and on shelves down there and the floors are clear. I watch those shows and cringe big time. Not for me.

I plan a couple Saturdays in August to spend a couple hours. I figure little steps and not wear myself out will get the job done. Wondering what appliance is next to go and won't be surprised if it is my 16 year old fridge.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

That place between sleeping and awake....

You know that place between sleeping and awake, that place where you can still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always think of you." — J.M. Barrie

I stumbled on this quote on a friends Facebook posting yesterday. It struck me as a perfect description of what I have felt these past four years. That place where I have put Jim in a memory that is better than a memory because it is interactive. I can talk to him, touch him and feel his arms around me. I have woken to the sound of his voice, because I heard it in my dream.

Peter Pan is special to me because I think my first ever crush was at age 3 while watching Mary Martin fly across the stage. My father told me for years afterward that night I put my hands on the tv and then clapped to try and save Tink. I have a book I "wrote" with scribbles then a pic of Croc and Hook then more scribbles and a drawing of Tink and Peter. Nice stick figures and lots of scribbles but my Dad saved it. He told me in later years that he was glad that I maintained my childhood innoncence and "never grew up" like my siblings did. Jim told me once after talking with Dad that he found that part of me very special.

I am glad we mortals dream and glad that I can find that neverland space where Jim is.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Canvas on Demand for the Win!

Groupon (or maybe LivingSocial) had a great deal a few months ago. A 16x20" stretched canvas print with a photo printed on it. It seemed like just what I wanted for a Jim pic. The company was Canvas on Demand and they did a great job. In fact, the first jpg I sent in they told me it was too small and asked me for a new one. They were wonderful in the customer service department. Visit their site!

It took me 5 months to get off my butt and find the "right one". I wanted something that really showed Jim at his most, well, comfortable. To me that meant, him happy, in comfortable clothes and having fun!

This is a picture of the print on canvas on my wall at work. I can see his smile and remember that day.

Faithful readers you will have to suffer thru this. I may even have posted this pic and talked about that day somewhere else on this blog. Oh well. Too bad.

I look at the smile on his face and remember when this happened. We were going skiing with friends in New Hampshire. I had not skied since I was a teen and I decided to take a big book and hunker down in the lodge with some hot toddies or mudslides or something like that. Jim wanted to ski. He was very excited about it.

He is so, well, Jim in this pic. It makes me both smile and cry at the same time. He has on this bright yellow jacket. Under that is a faux sheepskin pullover and his "neck warmer".

The neck warmer makes me laugh because he bought this that winter and they were not a scarf but like the top of a turtleneck that you pulled over your head and it kept the area from chin to collarbone warm. He thought these were just the neatest things and also bought one for me. Um, yeah. I could have lived without one, but he got a kick from it so I wore it. The ski goggles pushed up on his head and the grin are priceless.

Jim was an all or nothing kind of guy and he was excited about this trip and exploring a part of the snow culture that we hadn't visited before. I think he wanted to meet some snow bunnies!

These little points in the pic are just so much a part of him and just want I don't want to forget. He loved the sheepskin pullover and when it got a bit worn, he pulled the sleeves off and it became part of a Frankenstein costume for him one Halloween. The part you can't see is even better. He is wearing camo pants. He showed up in them to ski in and my friend cocked an eyebrow and wondered about it. But he was 100% comfortable in them and it worked for him. Go Jim!

Here is a shot of us both when we got to our friends house.

Anyway, I am going back to Canvas on Demand to have a pic of my Mom done up like this. They made the whole experience a pleasure. Check them out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Alas, another friend is gone

It has taken me a few days to be able to write this up. I am very sad to say my dog Tigger died on Tuesday morning.

She had been sick for about six months and in March she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and had fluid in her lungs. She never really got better. The fluid and coughing came and went. It began about a week ago and then seemed to get much better and then it hit hard on Sunday. I gave her medication but on Monday morning there was pink spots all over the floor that she had coughed up. We went to the vet and they did xrays and she said it was heavy fluid in the lungs. And actually, I had to go to work, but my wonderful friend and neighbor took her to vets. Carrying her in so she didn't have to walk.

They put her on an IV with meds and said she would stay overnight. On Tuesday morning I saw her and she couldn't walk and breathe at the same time. I held her and she snuffled her head into my chest. I cried because I knew she was doing this to get my scent. She had been in this strange place with strange stuff going on and I wasn't around. I held like that for awhile and knew I had to make that decision that no one wants to make.

The vet said that she could stay another night and maybe be able to go home, but the problem would be back in a couple weeks or a month. I decided to end the pain she was in and not keep her in pain for my selfishness of wanting her around.

It has been 5 years now with a loved one dying each year during the summer months. Jim in May 2007, my Dad in July 2008, Mercury in August 2009, Figaro in August 2010 and now Tigger in June 2011.

All my pets were old - Mercury was 10, Figaro our cat was 19 and Tigger was 13 1/2.

I am glad that I was able to give them happier lives then they had before Jim and I. All three were rescues, and all with different rescue stories.

It is very quiet in the house now. And I did that thing that happens when you lose someone. It takes a while to register. At 11pm, after sitting on the couch watching tv for a bit, my unconscious mind last night asked Tigger if she was ready to go out for a walk. I stopped and shook my head. We always went for late night walks.

I will hold the memory of one we went on just a couple weeks ago. After days and days of heat and humidity, it suddenly cooled down for a couple days. We went out for our midnight walk and there was a bright moon in the sky and I lay down in the park grass and she lay down beside me and escaped the city life for a moment and pretended we were back in our large yard all those years ago when we first got her.

Rest in Peace Tigger my friend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Helping others by what you have gone through

I was sent back down memory lane last night at the grocery store. I was cruising the cereal aisle and saw this woman standing there and crying. I looked around and didn't see any small kids or any real reason and then I saw her clutching the box of Cheerios. I knew. I went over to her and asked if I could give her a hug. Not "what was wrong" but just "hi, can I give you a hug" and she look startled and I opened my arms and gave her a hug. She cried some more and I patted her on the back.

She told me what I had suspected. The Cheerios were her son's favorite breakfast food and he was killed three weeks ago. She said she was okay at the store till she hit this aisle and knew she would never buy them for him again. Her son was in the military and killed overseas.

I told her about my experience with the ice cream aisle and my husband's passing. How I stood there with my head leaning against the cold glass and crying because I knew I could never eat this certain kind again without thinking of Jim. And how all I wanted to do was eat it with him.

She told me thank you and gave me a hug back. We went out seperate ways and I never did learn her name or her mine. But, for one moment, I was able to give her a little comfort and understanding in the walk thru the grief process.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The new Patio

I have this pretty small yard. It is about 13 x 16 feet. A sidewalk runs along the right side of it and the yard is elevated from that.

Concrete up against the house, then some dirt, then more concrete. It's an odd patchwork. I think the concrete further away from the house was put there by Jim's dad when they had hunting dogs. Now it is just a concrete flat area.

The dirt/grass area used to have huge bushes that took up the whole area. When we moved in, Jim tore them all out and laid down fresh dirt and turf. For a couple months we had a really swell plot of grass.

I remember one night after he just did that we were out back and we lay down in the grass to feel the fresh sprouts and we looked up in the sky and saw the stars. I can still remember the feeling of the grass thru my fingertips.

That all died out and it has been a fight with weeds and grass and other stuff until finally I decided enough was enough. I was going to put in pavers and make it into a patio area.

I started digging the dirt up and didn't know quite what to do with it. My neighbors helped. They took buckets and buckets for their gardens. Then came the stone, sand and setting the pavers in. Two friends came over to help me out with this project and it was a project. A shout out to them for helping...I couldn't have done it without them. We started at 7am and ended at 8pm. There was a short break in the hot afternoon, but it was pretty solid work.

It is done, but I am still doing some cleaning and decluttering of things that are in the yard, so it is not "finished". I was able to cook some hot dogs out there yesterday though. I want to clean it up and add a couple movable garden pots to spice it up with some color. It will be nice with some lights and such. I am enjoying the spot.

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 29 2011

I had the whole weekend planned out and it seemed to work.

Sunday May 29th. Four years since we lost Jim. Four years.

I spent saturday with some friends at our local cinema club annual cookout. I hadn't gone in awhile but decided to go and be around friends. No one really remembered which made me sad, but instead, I remembered how much Jim always enjoyed going to the meetings and hanging out with our friends.

Most of sunday the 29th was spent in bed reading, napping, playing with the new kitty and watching tv on the couch with the dog. I can't believe I slept as much as I did, but my body must have needed it. I was a bit sad and very lonely and feeling lost in my own house.

Today was hot. I don't do well with heat and I get exhausted very quickly. When I say hot, I am talking 96 degrees. Nope. I didn't go out until about 7pm and then got so sweaty it wasn't even funny. Today was more a clean up around the house and relax some more. I was relaxing in a different way.

Widows have been calling the anniversary of a death, a demarc day. I think I was stressed this week before Jim's demarc day and now that it is past, I am feeling a bit better. At least not so stressed.

I received a nice note from a friend telling me that he was remembering Jim but couldn't remember the exact date and he was sorry for that. He talked about how he had a keen way of making folks laugh. I like that. He did have a way of making people laugh and a sense of humor that was quite unique.

Jim I am not looking forward to starting year four without you. I have tried these long years and longer nights to keep going, to make new dreams and to see life in a way that would allow me to know you are with me, even though you are gone. Strength is really tough sometimes and this roller coaster ride that is called life throws loops and turns and makes me scream and laugh and it was a lot more fun when you were in the seat beside me. You know how I hate those rides.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Digging, digging and finding

Last week I started a project I had been planning for several months. Digging up my yard and putting in a patio.

For months I have been measuring, reviewing, reading how to articles and researching prices at retail stores, concrete/stone sellers and online.

I have a space that is about 8' x 9'. It is bordered on three sides by concrete. I decided that I didn't want to fight weeds and grass cutting anymore. I would put some pavers down and make it into a backyard patio.

I talked to several relatives that thought it was a great idea and several contractors, all of them asked "why not just concrete it also". Well, because that is not the look I am looking for. I may even stain the back area of concrete to match the pavers. I laughed when my neighbor Rebecca came to help me a couple days ago. I was explaining it to her and she said "oh, they are just saying that because they are men(and they were!) she said that women want something pretty - not something like a parking lot.

That's it exactly.

Mother Nature is not helping much. I thought I could get it done this week but it looks like the thunderstorms will keep me from it.

Pictures to follow!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


10 years ago I lost my Mom. It was on May 8th. It wasn't Mother's Day, but today, May 8th the 10 years after she died it is.

I miss my Mom. I talk to her sometimes and hope that she is still guiding me as she did so well. She was a good Mom and I didn't appreciate her half as much as I should have.

She was a stay at home mom (as they are called today). She had four children and all were four years apart. There is a fifth that was still born. A brother that was never named and I am not even sure when he was born. I need to ask my sister about that.

My mom was great with us as kids and should have been a teacher. Instead she just taught us. Arts and crafts, cooking, sewing, gardening, the joy of reading and how to be strong. That was most important. She was a stay at home mom but she was not a woman that let my dad make all the calls. That is another thing she taught me. To stand equal with my husband, to communicate and to live and love together.

She didn't work at a job - but she was involved in many groups and events in our community. The Garden Club, the after school program, the swim club, the women's club at church, Sunday school and others. I remember her as a strong leader in all of those groups and she was a role model for us children when we went out into the world. I didn't join the garden club, but when I worked I worked well and my employers saw that. I quickly became a manager and the person in charge. I attribute that to my mom as role model.

Mom was very creative. She helped us kids with school projects but then she got into it herself. For Halloween she loved to dress up. I remember one year she had our front porch done up and she was dressed like a witch. She opened the door to this very small girl (maybe 4?)in angel wings and didn't even say anything. The girl took one look at mom and screamed (that high pitch that only little girls can reach) and ran back down the stairs to her parents.

One Halloween when my brother was in kindergarten my mom built the Great pumpkin. She used chicken wire and paper mache' and had it on our front porch. My brother's kindergarten class walked down the street to see it. The teacher loved it and brought other classes down. We lived in a small town and school was just two blocks up the hill. Oh, and yes, we walked there up the hill in the snow.

As mothers do, mom used to tell us "listen to me, I know what I am talking about and I don't want you to make the mistakes I did". When I went thru my twenties, I laughed at that and went on doing what I thought was right and making mistakes. When I was 28, I had an ephiany and called her. I said "Mom, you were right. I should have listened to you." She loved that and told it was okay, I could start listening now.

Mom was a good cook but for some reason it is not her good cooking it is remembered but my dad's cooking and my mom's bad cooking. I don't like that. At family gatherings now people talk about how mom burned this and burned that while my dad cooked a leg of lamb to perfection. Well, I speak up and tell them I remember the awesome turkey my mom would cook on Thanksgiving and her meatball recipe that is perfect and I use today. She had German and Pennsylvanian Dutch cooking from her grandmother. Good food. I remember my mom using the crockpot a lot. When she passed, it was one thing of hers that I got and it makes me comforted to use it now.

Mom wrote something once, in her later years, that was for us four kids. It was a few lines about each of us. About me she wrote -
Betts -
Third child.
Born natural childbirth
When she was born I thought no one else had ever had a child.
Was creative, artistic and a writer, drawing and won prize in NY State for a sculpture for school.
When she was six she wrote and illustrated a book about horses.
Became First Class in Girl Scouts
Loved dogs and taught our dog Prince lots of tricks when she was just 13. She had patience with him.
Hotwalked polo ponies at the polo games. Did it for weeks out of love of horses before she realized others were and she could get paid for it.
Attended college and wrote for newspaper. Became Editor.
In her career she is managing people.

She wrote in a similar fashion about my siblings also, tracing her thoughts about us from their birth (my sister - born while father was in college, a great joy to us and my brother - He came early, only weighed 4lbs 10oz)

The top of the page said "The Joys of my Life" It still makes me cry when I read it and I have read it many times.

I miss you Mom. And I thank you for all that you taught me in so many things and in so many ways.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

3.11 on 4.28.11

1431 days.

Tomorrow will be year 3 and 11 months. Talking to a friend the other day and she couldn't believe it had been that long. Me either.

Years, months, days, hours, minutes. How to measure, to mark, how long it has been since Jim died.

Still missed, every day. Every single day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tell me it's okay!

I really want to get rid of some of the big furniture I have in the house. Mostly the big dresser that we never could get upstairs and has been in my living room for 10 years. It is gorgeous heavy solid wood and not a cheap piece. It's family is upstairs - an amoire, a bed, and 2 night stands. I think I have holes in my wall on the stairs from the amoire going up there when we moved in.

More and more I want to clear the house of stuff. Old stuff. I don't want to get rid of everything Jim and I owned, but some of it just isn't right for the house anymore. This makes me confused and sad.

I was at a friends house this past weekend and was loving how things were just so nicely put together. I mean, the house wasn't pin perfect neat, and it had lots of stuff that had been collected over the years, but it all sort of worked together. We had that in our house up north and it was great. I miss that. Now I feel very squashed and mishmashed. It is a lot of the same stuff, it's just not fitting into this house very well.

My dream. I have said it over and over and just can't find a way out. I wish, my ultimate dream, would be to sell this and get a place with a yard and just one story. A trailer, a ranch house, a shack. Just something other than this place. I just can't make the numbers crunch enough to do it.

So until then, I will continue to reshape the house I am in. Sometimes, for just a moment it feels like it is almost, trying hard to be, home.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Too long

My friend told me she couldn't believe it has been almost 4 years since Jim died. Four years. Well, 3 years and 10 months and 348 days actually. But who is counting. Oh, I guess I am.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Clutter busters!

Today was Clutterbusters day!

I had a coupon from Groupon where this organizational company sends someone out to the house and they help me with an area that needs decluttering and such.

It was fun. My friend Elaine (who is really good at this stuff anyway) came out to help. It got me motivated and seeing one area that was clean, clear and crisp has made me want more. I went thru the worst area - the office. I had years of old papers, bills, things saved because of one reason or another. I tossed lots and lots of stuff. Some went right into a bag for shredding. That bag became three bags.
I found a community run free shredding event and took the bags to them. And it felt good!

Next up is the clothing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Names on an Index card

One of my jobs here at work is to assist when people come in to find family in the cemetery. See, our offices are in a building that is attached to an old church. Very old. Next to the church is a large cemetery. In my office has a large fireproof file cabinet that weighs 1/2 ton or so. In that are all the index cards of the people that are buried there. So people doing their genealogy research come to me first to find out where in the cemetery they need to go. I got this honor by being the one to take over this room in our office. The person that has this room after me will have that honor.

I enjoy helping people in their search and we have a large map of the cemetery with names in the spots so it is easy to find. At least in theory. I even used technology and google mapped it and got a satelitte view to show people.

Speaking of technology...index cards? I mean really, we are in the 21st century. So for the past year I have been slowly moving the information from index cards into an Excel program so it would be easy to find names and areas.

This has been interesting even though I am not related to anyone buried here. To see the dates going back to the mid 1800's. To see family history - one last name and the number of people buried here from that lineage. Sometimes as many as 6 in one grave area.

Today I was inputting and ran into a card that had 3 boys names. They were infants buried at the foot of their fathers grave. They died all the same day and he died almost 40 years later. I imagine they were stillborn or something like that. They were buried in a spot and Dad joined them. No mention of Mom being buried there so who knows?

Some of it has been multi-generational. You can follow the family and see the different generations of great grandparents down to most recent family members. I look at them and wonder about things like "did she like that her name was Myrtle?" or "this family had 5 deaths all in the month of July and all in different years. July was not a good month for the Georgia family."

It is interesting how sometimes a whole life can come down to an index card, or a line in a bible or just...well...just a memory.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I was doing some gardening and wanted some background music. I struggled with trying to get the boom box to work. It needed C batteries. Oh well. Trying to figure something else out to use...what else did I have. I thought about the cd player/alarm/digital clock that was upstairs. I hadn't thought about it in a long while. Didn't know if I even could. It was the one that Jim and I used for years as our alarm clock. We would start the morning with Enya singing to us. It was too painful to listen to when he first passed away. I just unplugged it and moved it a couple feet over and boughta $12 alarm from Wal-mart.

I found it and dusted it off. A lot of dust had accumulated over the years. I saw under the dust was the label I made and stuck to it. Betsy loves Jim xoxoxo. I put that on it when I gave it to him. Touching that made me sad, yet I didn't want to be sad, I wanted to sit in the sun and plant flowers. Well, I couldn't get the radio to work but it would still play cd's. I couldn't bear Enya, however I did pull some Croce, Huey and Blues Brothers. An odd mix, but it was what I grabbed first. I was doing good singing along until BAMM Croce started singing "Photographs and Memories". A song about a love lost and what was left behind. His voice just rolled the lyrics out and his guitar melded it into a song that touched me in a deep place.

Yep, I lost it. I mean, with Jim gone that is basically what I have. Photographs of our life together. Memories of the times we shared. I sat in the backyard and cried for a bit as I listened to the song. I got up at the end and put Huey Lewis back in and started singing again.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trying to get into the habit

I have been doing this really odd thing. Exercising. Thanks to the LivingSocial daily deals I am a member of an Athletic Swim club. I love to swim and never seem to have been able to do it often enough in the last few years. I used to be on a syncronized swim team when I was in my teens.

So I go and do some laps. Ha. I look around me and feel very intimidated. But I raise my chin and carry on. My progress is sort of - swim half way up the lane, stop, tread water and float on my back to practice synchro moves and then swim the rest of the way, and about half way back again, then swim on my back the rest of the way, then rest for a few minute practising kicking. Not near the relentless lap swimming that I saw myself doing when I joined, but it works.

My arms are very sore, but that is just unused muscles, suddenly being used! I went tonight and didn't swim but walked on the treadmill. I have never exercised on real equipment before so this is kinda cool. I set up my Kindle and was able to read as I walk. Awesome. My legs are protesting a bit, but again, they will get used to it.

I hope to keep my resolve up and have this become a habit, not a happenstance. I forced myself to go tonight...I was all set to relax in front of the tv. Well, I came home and did that. I know habits are hard to break, but they are also hard to form, but I am trying.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I told myself....

I told myself that March was going to be my rest and relaxation month. It seems I have had some big event or project each month for the last few months. A couple weeks ago I bought in on one of the daily special offers and got a pass to the local swimclub for $20 for 6 weeks. Normally around $150. So I am relaxing and swimming this month and into April.

I have though, already been planning the next two big projects. One is painting the living room and the other is the reworking the backyard. My neighbor has offered to assist in both these so that will be a big help. The yard was going to be the project last year but I got sidetracked with a knee injury. Now I am back up and things are planned out in my head.

Speaking of projects, I was going thru some old family pictures and sorting them out to give to my siblings. Somewhere in a pile was a bunch of pics I took of the house before Jim renovated it. It is in a half state of all the furniture out but nothing done yet. The pepto bismal pink walls were there and the nicotine stained window and door frames can be seen. It is nice to look around and see the changes that have been made and how far we have come and how much further I have been able to take it on my own - well - with my brothers and others help!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

white hawaiian shirts

Jim Dream - haven't had one in awhile, but woke up this morning on the way to our wedding.

Well, it was a renewal wedding. The dream started the day before the actual wedding and my family was there, even people that are no longer with us. Trying to get the food organized and the wedding dress to fit. It was chaotic. The wedding was planned for the next day in the late afternoon. I snuggled up to Jim that night and we talked about our renewal vows. I told him how the dress wasn't fitting right. He said let's scrap all that. We talked about not going on a long second honeymoon but rather holing up in a local hotel just north of us, because they had an indoor/outdoor pool and a lot of good memories with us over the years from when we went to science fiction conventions.

Then we were waking up in the morning and going out shopping for Hawaiian shirts. White ones. We decided that we would both wear them. I am not a traditional gal anyway so this would be fun. We walked down the aisle hand in hand with these white hawaiian patterned shirts and smiling at each other.

The dream was happy and a good way to wake up.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Tigger!

Tigger, my Dalmatian, turns 13 today. In Human years that is 65 years old.

I will recant the story of how Tigger came to be in my life. She came as a rescue and she was almost one year old. Actually, 11 months, 28 days, when we got her. Jim and I were running a Dalmatian rescue service for dogs in need of placement. Usually that was dogs from a kill shelter, but we took on all needs.

We got a call in early February. A woman telling us about her dalmatian that got hit by a car and can we help? I spoke to her and learned it was just a female puppy and she was holding her leg up but not in pain. I tried to get them to bring the dog to me and then in learning where they lived, it was a 3 hour drive. A little out of the normal range for our rescues. I gave her some suggestions and told her to go to the vet to have the leg looked at and then get back to us.

A few days go by and she calls back. She said they can't afford to go to the vet and they have to get rid of the dog because " the smell is horrendous". I will never ever forget that phrase and how she said it. We talked some more and she said that the dog was a pure breed from her brother and she was born on valentines day the year before. They said she was outside most of the time and got loose and got hit by a car. Jim and I agreed to go see her. We contacted a local vet ER surgery office and let them know she would be coming in later that day.

Her name then was Digger and they brought her inside (she had been living outside in a kennel) and hooked her up in the basement. Apparently she got bored and chewed a couple toes off - not feeling them because of the nerve damage. The husband wrapped them in gauze and then in duct tape to keep her from chewing the gauze. She had 3 layers of duct tape wrapped around her leg when we got there. We met her and she was happy, jumping around and licking our faces. She was craving attention. Jim got to work and cut the duct tape off and yep, the smell was bad. Her leg was gangerous and these people didn't even know it.

We got them to sign release papers and we got her out of there. At the hospital the doc said it would have to be an amputation. He would perform the surgery and see how she did. He said she had a great attitude and was already used to walking on just the three legs for the last couple weeks so he was hopeful. I had posted on a dalmatian message board about this and members there sent in donations. Ove the next week they sent them directly to the doctor with her name attached. It was amazing to get that help from people I had only known via online. See, the internet was all very new back then, but the friendship you could find was real.

When we were driving her to the vets her name got changed. It went from Digger to TIGGER. She was a bouncy bouncy bouncy gal. Her happiness just made me think of the real Tigger and how he was always happy no matter what happened.

Tigger came to live with Jim and I and our other new rescue adoption - Mercury. At first we had to keep them seperated because of her stitches and drains and such. They touched noses through the baby gates and got used to each other. We kept her in a room designed just for her. A big old couch, food bowls and toys. Jim would go in there in the evenings and just sit with her. He would have some comics and read and snuggle with her. She had no problems with the collar she had to wear to keep her from scratching. It is called the cone of shame, but she had no shame, for her it was just one more thing to deal with and she dealt.

She has been a strong dog even with having just 3 legs. She will pull you down the street on the leash or push you out of the way when she wants outside. She is a wonderful couch snuggle dog friend and loves to play tug of war with the rope.

I can't imagine the last 12 years without having her and Mercury around. They were a great dynamic duo.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Me, myself and I

To be totally narcissistic today.

I have a new smart phone. A Mytouch that has a camera and it has a FRONT facing camera. So I can take pics of myself without holding my arm way out and not knowing what I am going to get. I started taking a picture a day of myself. Just for fun. I am sharing them so they can be saved somewhere and you all can have a good chuckle.

This may be the first pic with the camera on the phone. I love my expression here. I was just learning how to look at the camera and not at the phone itself. There must have been 15 pics taken before I got to this one. It took some practice.

At home, after taking a dozen pics of Tigger. Those will come in a later post. She is a very good dog model.

Haha! I got this hat when the snow it. I love it but it is not very flattering for me. It is great however when walking the dog late at night in the 19 degree weather.
I look at this picture and I see my mom. Never noticed it before, but I have had others tell me that. I think my hair always thru me off because we did not have the same hair styles.

Me at work. It was a good day. I like this pic. I wish we could take our favorites in to the DMV for use on our license.

Me at home, about to walk the dog. Notice the Super bowl champs THE PATRIOTS!!! hat. This pic is one that I see me as being very comfortable and relaxed.

At work again. This was one of the first pics with the camera. I can see the screen shot of my great nephew in the background and it was a few days after that they I changed it to one of the dogs in the snow. Our computer backgrounds and our phone wallpaper all tell a tale about us.

At work again. I think this was on 2.7.11. I got my hair cut over the weekend and it was still in shock. It is better today.

An interesting two weeks of Betsy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hello, is it me you're looking for....

Heard this while playing "Glee" cd. Sometimes this stuff just happens. A trigger or a door opening to feelings and thoughts. Their presentation of the song is very nice, but it's the first few lines that get me.

I've been alone with you
Inside my mind
And in my dreams I've kissed your lips
A thousand times
I sometimes see you
Pass outside my door

Is it me you're looking for?
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You're all I've ever wanted
And my arms are open wide
'cause you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much
I love you

I long to see the sunlight in your hair
And tell you time and time again
How much I care
Sometimes I feel my heart will overflow
I've just got to let you know
'cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely?
Or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven't got a clue
But let me start by saying I love you

Is it me you're looking for?
'cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely?
Or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven't got a clue
But let me start by saying I love you

Sunday = Good day

Don't you love these days when things flow together nicely. I wanted to get some chores done, and yet was faced with this gorgeous blue sky and sunny 45 degree day. I decided to rearrange my chores and I went out in the sun, walked the dog, got the car washed and my hair cut. This gave me some outside time and now I am devoting time to cleaning up a room in bad need of it. Mostly putting stuff away that has been sitting patiently waiting.

I like it when things turn out like this.

It started with my neighbor knocking on my door. He handed me my lost glove. It was great. I lost one of my favorite gloves last week in the big storm while I was walking Tigger. And, I have a neighbor that loves to walk, and well, finds stuff. He is always bringing home something that he found on the ground - dog balls, scarfs, odd stuff. Anyway, last week I told him that I lost my glove and he if saw it in his wanders to grab it. I never thought he would find it. What a great gift this was. Okay, so it was just a $5.00 pair from Walmart, but they were my favorites and it was odd to only have one. Not like when you lose a sock in the dryer. I hadn't gotten to the point of getting another set of gloves, but now I don't need to! Yay for good neighbors!

Well, it's only 5pm here so I don't want to jinx the rest of my day up, but so far so good. We all need these once in awhile.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Maybe this will work after all

I may have figured out how to figure it out. Not exactly, but fudging it. I would still like to have it all coming from one source, but now I have learned how to transfer the pics into another picasa account and move them around that way. Those of you that follow the blog may have to resubscribe to follow it with the betts 4 name along with the betts4 one. Maybe.

Completely off the subject of that - I was looking my 2009 tax forms to help me fill out 2010's. I found a folder that had some things in it from a few years and then many many years ago. A photo of me as a newborn baby. And on the back of the pic was a little slip of paper with some times written down and a "start" and "finish" near them. I think it was my mom's contractions while she was in labor with me. It was definately my Dad's handwriting.

Then I found two sheets of paper that had both computer and hand written text on it, from my Mom. She wrote a few lines about each of us 4 children. My older sister, older brother, me and my younger brother. I remember her sending this to us all, but not exactly when. Well it must have been more than 11 years ago because it mentions my older siblings children but not my younger brothers boys. I read what she wrote about me and started crying. The second line - "When Betsy was born, I thought no one else had ever had a child, she was beautiful".

I was born natural childbirth and I was the only one of her children that was, she tried with my brother but he came early and had to be ceserean.

Interestingly enough, the last line my mom wrote on each of our info was "In her/his career she/he has managed people". And it is true, we all have/are. I cried a little when I read "they are all the joys of my life" in her own handwriting. I miss my mom. I wish I could call her on the phone to tell her how good a mom she was for us. This blog is the closest I can do.

She wrote about my artistic ability and things I did when I was younger with my drawing and photography. Reading it made me sad and feel bad that I never really got going with that and was stronger about doing it.

I am not sure if they still have their original copies or not, but I am going to copy and send this out to my siblings.

Google, Blogger and Aol!!

You may see a change around here. Or maybe not. I am trying to change my username from the one I had with aol to this new one with gmail. However, it won't let me without losing out. We will see.

See, I have this blog set up with my aol account as a primary username and I want to switch it to a special gmail account I set up. I want to just close out the aol account completely. I get nothing but spam and emails from places with special offers. No real email anymore. I have closed out the other two aol accounts.

I can blog on here using the new gmail account but it changes things a bit and it is not the primary administrator so I can't do everything that I can do with this username - the original one. Are you confused yet? I sure am.

Taxes are done and with the return I am getting I want to do them all again to see where I made the mistake. Haha. Money back? I never get money back. Well, I guess I do this year. Oh, don't worry, I will take it and run. I am going to a Star Trek Media Convention in a few weeks and some of the refund will go towards some fun there. Some will go towards finishing my backyard off and some will the bank!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 years ago

A moment of silence. We lost something 25 years ago.


Dick Scobee. Michael Smith. Ellison Onizuka. Judith Resnik. Ronald McNair. Christa McAuliffe. Gregory Jarvis. The first of the shuttle astronauts to die on the job.

The images of the exploding space shuttle still signify all that can go wrong with technology and the sharpest minds. The accident on Jan. 28, 1986 — a scant 73 seconds into flight, nine miles above the Atlantic for all to see — remains NASA's most visible failure.

I was at work that day, a new job doing some graphic art work and we had the radio playing. My coworker was very interested in this launch. As we listened and couldn't believe what we heard, he reached his hand out to grab mine. Today I would not be able to tell you his name, but I remember that death grip. We left work and went a half a block up to the local pub that had a tv. We watched the replay of the explosion.

One thing that was pointed out today that I hadn't thought of before, it was the world's first high-tech catastrophe to unfold on live TV. It was a new age for television.

Adding to the anguish was the young audience: School children everywhere tuned in that morning to watch the launch of the first schoolteacher and ordinary citizen bound for space, Christa McAuliffe.

She never made it.

McAuliffe and six others on board perished as the cameras rolled, victims of stiff O-ring seals and feeble bureaucratic decisions.

It was, as one grief and trauma expert recalls, "the beginning of the age when the whole world knew what happened as it happened."

Then came others, Waco, Oklahoma City, 9/11, Katrina, The DC killer, Virginia Tech. They are now all part of daily life on the tv news. We can get it as it happens.

Shuttle Columbia. I was watching a History channel show about the Challenger and the Columbia. It was seventeen years later, almost to the day, that seven more astronauts were killed, this time at the end of their mission. The similarities between Challenger and Columbia, are haunting. I can remember hearing about the Columbia explosion and not really believing that it could happen again.

Christa McAuliffe is personal to me in a unique way. I belong to a group made up of Star Trek fans, that formed a "ship". The ship is basically a club that meets and is part of a larger whole called Starfleet that has chapters across America. Our group named the ship the USS McAuliffe, in honor of Christa and her dream. The members have been together and been friends for more than 25 years.

25 years and I can still remember that hand reaching out to mine as we wondered if what had happened had really happened.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I miss you.

Note- I stumbled across a folder of Jim pics while searching for a photo of Tigger. This one picture hit me hard tonight. Hard because of the look on Jim's face. Just very unposed and natural, like he really was in the next room. Some of it is because he is wearing the House of Blues shirt that I sleep in now, the sheets and comforter cover are still around and some because it was taken when we lived in MA and it was a happy time for us.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

That darn winter cold

The weather has been a bit colder than normal this winter. Somewhere along the way I picked up a head cold. That runny nose and coughing kind. Not a lot of sneezing but maybe a slight fever.


It was me vs the cold. The cold won. I was cooped up in bed for all of MLK weekend. I stayed home from work the day after MLK day and tried to recover enough to go in the next day. On tuesday I got myself up and actually did this thing called a shower, and clean clothes were put on and I ventured out for a few minutes to get food. I went to work on wednesday, had a coughing fit about once every half hour - that was about as fast as I could suck down the throat longezes. My boss finally poked his head in and said "go home". So I did.

I picked up some cool stuff at the store. A smoothie from the juice section with all natural stuff and it claimed to be an "immunity booster" w/1000% vitamin C in it. I grabbed two and sucked one down right away.

I think it helped, or else the amoxicillin finally kicked in, or maybe it was just time for the darn cold to be gone, or a combination of all three plus the stars lining up right.

I hope as I write this that I am finally past it. It has been hours and hours since I last coughed. My nose is aching from the tissues and cream has been applied. I think I may be on the tail end of this beast.

It is interesting to reflect back and see how little it took for my body to give in. I always thought of myself as a strong person and a healthy person. I don't get normal colds like other people. I mean, I will get sick once and then it will be gone till next year. This cold wiped me out. I was just laying in bed or laying on the couch wrapped in blankets.

I am thankful for a couple neighbors that would text me and ask if I was okay or needed anything. One was also nice enough to take the dog out for a walk a couple times to let her stretch her legs. Yep, you can still find some nice people in the world.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year - 2011 starts

I stayed home this New Year's Eve.

I learned from the past two years and stayed home. Two years ago I went to a big party in another state and was okay until midnight. Then I stood among many people - some friends, some I just met, and I watched them kiss each other. I had no one to kiss to welcome in the new year. I freaked out and ran into the bathroom and turned the lights off and locked the door. And cried. I wanted Jim to kiss a welcome to the new year.

Well, last year I thought, okay, no big party, just a small gathering with some good good friends. Friends that knew Jim. Um. No. There I was at midnight looking around for Jim to hug and kiss and whoop and holler with. I went into another room and sat on the sofa alone and quiet while they all celebrated. One friend then another came in and sat with me and held my hand. That was nice.

However, this year I was smart and stayed home. I went to the store in the afternoon and bought some total junk food. I got chips and two kinds of dip - you know the regular ranch style and then that horseradish and bacon flavored. That is good...clears your sinuses. I bought some root beer, some veggies for the dip and some ice cream to make a root beer float later. I had a fun evening. It was me, the couch, the dog and Friday Night Lights. That tv show is my new addiction and I can't stop watching it. I have it on my netflix streaming and also bought myself the dvd's for christmas. Oh my I love it.

And when midnight came I didn't feel so alone. Strangely, I was alone in my house, but I wasn't alone in the crowd.