Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Author: Betsy (page 2 of 12)

Adventures in Parking

I got a parking ticket today.

It was tucked into the driver door of the 4Runner when I came out of the coffee shop, having spent a fruitful hour and a half sipping at a truly lovely iced cold-pressed-coffee with cream and sugar and all sorts of loveliness while I worked on organizing some of the genealogical research I’ve been perpetrating recently. But more on the genealogy later.

At any rate, I found the envelope containing my parking ticket (Anything that comes in a yellow envelope is never good, just like nothing written on a pink slip of paper is ever good) and I frowned, because I had checked thoroughly to be sure that my chosen parking spot was not included in any of the nearby signage indicating time limits for legal parking or handicapped requirements and suchlike.

So I pulled the little slip of paper from its ominous yellow envelope to see that I’d been cited for an expired license plate. Le sigh.

You see, the car’s registration is not, in fact, expired. It’s good all the way through December of this year. The trouble is that when we got the new stickers to put on the car, it was in the middle of a snowstorm, so we decided to wait until the entire world wasn’t covered in wet to try to stick something to our car. The stickers went INTO the car so that we would a) not forget to apply them and b) know where they were.

And now, four months later, the stickers are still not on the plates. Rather alarmingly, a cursory search of the car’s interior did not produce the stickers, although it did lead to the discovery that the little bottle of lotion we keep in the car has sprung a leak. I managed to hold it over the cup holders as it squirted orange-ginger goodness in distressing volume from its overheated (or over-pressurized? or simply faulty?) bottle. I also discovered that the napkins we usually keep in the center console have mysteriously disappeared, leaving me to try to mop up the lotion with a paper pastry bag that’s been in the passenger footwell for at least two months. It did not go well.

Giving up the Search for the Stickers, I returned my attention to the ticket. The municipality’s headquarters was located about two blocks from my parking spot (note to self: don’t park near a city building with expired tags, even if they’re not really expired) so I decided to go tell them that my vehicle is, in fact, legal to drive–or park!–and that I’d appreciate not having to pay the $50 ticket.

I tried to go in the wrong door to reach the Violations Bureau (Could they name it something that sounds worse? I don’t think so…), but it’s not my fault that they printed the office hours on the “Exit Only” door. And then my shoes kept setting off the metal detector from three feet away. This caused the lone security guard to wand me to be sure I wasn’t packing heat, even though I took my shoe off and waved it at the detector in proof that it was my shoes. But at least he was nice about it.

Upon reaching the appropriate window, I was informed that I would have to present a copy of my current registration to be photocopied and sent to Someone Or Other with my request that the ticket be discarded. Silly me had thought they would be able to pull up my DMV records on their little computers, but no. That would have made sense. So I trekked out past Mr. Security Guard, down two flights of stairs, two blocks back to my car, and wrestled the registration out of the glove box, which decided that its contents were suddenly so confidential that even I with my key could not be allowed access to the owners’ manuals and random pair of eyeglasses we found in the car about a year ago and have never gotten rid of.

Having vanquished the glove box, I reminded myself that it was a lovely day and I needed a bit of exercise, so I should not be disgruntled about the extra walking as I returned to the Violations Bureau.

Mr. Security Guard let me pass the second time without a wanding, which was lovely of him, and I presented my registration to be copied, took my duplicates of the petition to discard the ticket from the rather sour-faced Violations Bureau Lady (and wouldn’t you be sour-faced if you had to tell people you worked at the Violations Bureau?) and told Mr. Security Guard that with any luck I would NOT be seeing him again soon.

Now we just need to find the stickers, and probably I should clean the lotion out of the cup holders before tomorrow, or it will turn into a greasy mess that no one will ever want to deal with.

Not that I want to deal with it now, but there’s no sense in letting things escalate. On the other hand, it looks like it’s about to rain, and I don’t want to get wet. Probably the lotion clean-up can wait.


I Did Intend To Keep Updating…

One could surmise, from the silence following my previous post, that I dipped my toes back in and then ran away to hide. That is only partially true. It turns out that life is really busy, and still not very balanced, and I’m still feeling a bit odd about writing in full sentences instead of 140-character blips.

I ran over a lady with my bicycle last week. That’s always a great way to start a paragraph. I suppose in the interest of accuracy I should say that I ran inTO a lady with my bike, as no part of my bike actually squashed any of her body parts. However, we both ended up on the pavement with various scrapes and bruises, and she was definitely on the bottom of the pile. It’s one of those situations where any number of things could have gone better, including me calling out my presence earlier, but despite that I feel very strongly that when one maneuvers into faster-moving traffic of any kind one ought to look to be sure one is not about to be run over first. This applies to a person stepping out to cross a road, a car changing lanes, or a person walking along a paved multi-use path which has a speed limit and people on bikes, horses, roller blades, and regular old feet all using it at the same time. But apparently not everyone sees the value in this. And they get run into with bikes. Let that be a lesson to you.

And now I don’t know what to talk about next. Odd, how the ability to create a segue between written segments deteriorates when one does not practice it, but my ability to spell and punctuate doesn’t seem to have suffered much. I feel like I should just develop typing Tourette’s and randomly shout out updatey things:

I killed two cacti this year!
All three of our printers are broken!
I’ve been scrapbooking!
My stove and microwave are so advanced they probably combine to make a spaceship!
Yay spring is on its way!
I quit my chauffeuring job!
We get our milk delivered to our house!

Yeah, that’s pretty much all I’ve got for now. Fingers crossed that the next update comes less than seven weeks from now!


Dipping My Toe In

It’s been so long since I wrote anything of substance–not just here on the blog, but almost anywhere. Yeah, I’ve written a couple of good emails here and there, but my letter writing has fallen into a black pit of nothingness, and even my private journaling has been spotty at best. It feels very strange to string words into sentences in order to send out to the world at large again. I feel a bit out of my depth.

To tell the truth, I’ve been feeling a bit out of my depth about a lot of things lately. The last 12-15 months have been consumed by The House: buying it, moving into it, painting over the ugly, renovating the bits that were falling apart. It ate my life. When I wasn’t at work driving, I was at home painting or running electrical or laying tile or mudding drywall.

I’ve hardly read anything in the past year. At least the few books I did make my way through were worthwhile ones, but with so little writing going in, it’s not too surprising that there hasn’t been writing coming out. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve gotten a lot done–it hasn’t been a bad year. It’s just been a skewed one.

Now that we’ve reached a major resting point with the house work, I find myself staring at the prospect of having quite a lot of time on my hands that hasn’t been available. There are many things I want to do–many things I’ve had to stop doing and want to return to doing. There are several new things I’d like to do.

It’s hard to know where to start. How do I get back on track after such a long and thorough derailment? Which track should I even be on?

I’ve been so focused in one direction for so long that I’m not sure how to balance my time lately. I’m so used to being unbalanced that anything else seems foreign.

So I’m back. We’ll see where things go.


Tonight’s view from “my office”

downtown Denver

Hey look! I figured out how to reset my blog password! Now I can blog again!




Well we’re here, and we’ve been here for a few days. We’re trying to balalnce between being tourists and being people relaxing in a great rental condo. Mom brought her sewing machine, and I brought all that fabric I bought last week (well, most of it) and I’ve been working on the quilt top while she puts together photo albums from our childhood. I think she’s caught up to about 15 years ago now. Still a little ways to go, but it’s been fun to look through old photos as she puts the pages together. Man, I had some really appalling fashion tastes.

We’ve explored the area we’re staying in (near Opryland, for any who are familiar with Nashville) and avoided real super-touristy things over the weekend. This morning we visited The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s plantation, and had a very nice time all together. I don’t know that I would have chosen there to live, personally, but it’s very nice, all things considered. Remarkable that six of the rooms have original wallpaper – 170 years old now – and the house has been a museum for over 120 years. It’s rather rare to see things like that here in the States.

Tomorrow we’ve got tickets to the Grand Ole Opry show, which we’re properly excited about. Later this week we’re also going to take ourselves on a tour around downtown, visit the reproduction of the Parthenon, and take ourselves down to the Belle Meade Plantation where several of America’s premiere Thoroughbred lines began. Those are the high points, but we’ll probably fit in a few other things here and there.

If you want to tune in with us at the Opry show, it’ll be broadcast on 650 AM WSM Nashville — also streaming live at their website at 7:00 pm central time. Tuesday night.

That’s about all. Matt tells me he’s been feeding the dog and he sent me photos of the pot rack he built and installed to hang out pots and pans in the kitchen, which are the two things I assigned to him before I left. It seems all is well.

Woohoo Nashville!!


Laptop Concession

The Apple Store guy called this morning, and I’ve officially decided not to ream them out about the problem because, as some of you know, I talk a great game when I’m annoyed about something but when it really comes down to it I’m far too laid-back to get really upset about much of anything. I mean, really, in the grand scheme of things, it’s okay for me to be without my laptop for a week. It’s better than being without food for a week or being in a car crash or any number of other things I would care about a great deal more. This is the problem with having a well-balanced perspective of the world and realizing your life is pretty darn good, even with its annoyances: you never quite get worked up enough to twist someone’s arm, even when they might deserve it.

Anyway, they’ll call me when it’s ready and I assume Matt will pick it up while I’m in Nashville. They’ll have to wait for the fan to come in, and all in all it’s just so much easier to leave it with them that I’m not going to worry about it.

I’ll be plenty entertained in the meanwhile.

I need to be intentional about packing my luggage tonight; I did put together a packing list yesterday (as opposed to opening my standard list, which is on my laptop, of course) and most of the laundry is done, so things are in fair shape.

It seems like I had something else to say, and it must have been at least moderately interesting, but I haven’t a clue what it is now.

Ah, well. Have a nice week while I’m gone.


Laptop Woes and Fabric Balm

You might remember my description of the alarming noise my MacBook was making last week, and how they said they fixed it but, in fact, did NOT.

Well, I caved and turned it back in to the repair folks, on the off chance that they can fix the whole thing by 8:45pm tomorrow, because otherwise I will have to refrain from using it in the airport or on the plane or any other place where people might be disturbed by the sound of a turbine engine preparing for takeoff. It is possible for me to survive for an entire week without the internet; it is even possible for me to survive without my laptop (though admittedly harder). But it is not preferable, given the state of my various projects and the fact that I assume I’ll be doing a fair amount of research online about the various nearby things to do in Nashville. Or maybe I’ll just take the AlphaSmart and let Mom be all retro with her printed tour books and maps on folding paper that are kept in the car. We shall see.

At any rate, I was rather thoroughly annoyed at the Mac repair schedule and myself (for not caving earlier, when it would have been less of a problem to get things fixed before I leave) and generally disgruntled at the whole situation, but fortune is on my side once again, because one of the things I’ll be doing in Nashville is making a quilt, which means I got to buy fabric. One forgets, when it’s been this long between buying project fabric, how very nice it is to go into a quilting shop and have all these beautiful, lovely choices, and be able to think of zillions of ways to put them all together into something fantastic. Some people, when they’re upset, go clothes shopping. Me? Books and fabric. Yes sirree. That’s all I need.

And this evening is now devoted to laundry; first, the new fabric I bought, and then the regular laundry so Matt doesn’t end up walking around in dirty clothes by the end of next week. I’ll also be ironing the new fabric, which means the dog will be in a state of anxious near-panic for the entire evening. She is NOT a fan of the ironing board, but we do not know why. So it goes.

If I get my laptop back tomorrow, I’ll blog from Nashville. If not, I’ll catch you all in a week.


Hiatus of Undetermined Length

This morning, as I was working, my laptop started emitting a loud and rather alarming noise. It was quite clearly produced by the cooling fan, and although I’d heard a slight noise now and again in the last few weeks, this was worse by far. When it didn’t stop after five minutes, I took it out to Matt (who was reading in the next room, which is, conveniently enough, the Vernon C. Grounds Reading Room) and he said his laptop had been making exactly the same noise, and he’d taken it in and they’d given him a new fan.

He assured me that although the noise sounded like my laptop might either lift off of my desk and go flying around the library ALL BY ITSELF or else explode into a thousand tiny bits, neither of these scenarios was likely, since if the machine overheated it would simply shut off. Apparently Apple is smart like that, making their machines power down before exploding. Go figure.

At any rate, I made an appointment with the lovely Geniuses at our local Apple Store (conveniently located between work and home–have I mentioned how much I like living here?) and took it in this evening. They didn’t even make me wait for diagnostics, since they believed me about the fan and the machine is under warranty. But they have taken my poor MacBook into custody for extended diagnostics to be sure the fan is the only problem, and they will allegedly call me in the next 24-48 hours to let me know what needs to be done. Hopefully, if they have a fan in stock and that’s all that’s wrong, they will call me to tell me I can pick up my laptop and go home happy, but we won’t hold our breaths, will we? We will not.

All of this goes to say that if I am online in the next few days, it will be via Matt’s computer. You should not expect to hear from me often. If you have something you need very urgently to tell me, please give me a call. If you don’t have my phone number, I suppose you might send an email to . I’m fairly sure that one’s still set up to check automatically on Matt’s computer, but be aware that you will be addressing my husband, and at times he is less than stellar at passing along correspondence. It really depends on his schedule, and whether I’m nearby when he gets the message. I just want you to have a realistic view of things if you do feel the need to contact me in that fashion. We good? Good.

I even had an update to write about Bob2 and his glued rocks and watering him and I even took a photo. *sigh* Maybe I’ll be able to steal the computer again tomorrow for long enough to make that happen.

So there you have it. I’ll be carrying my AlphaSmart for the next few days and doing other things that don’t need typing or computers. It will be strange, yes, but undoubtedly worthwhile.

I’ll see you on the other side.


Residency Update

I have, as usual, completely failed in my goal to take more pictures at this residency. 

But I presented my thesis Saturday night and did my teaching module this morning, and both went very well.  Tonight my two critique partners defend their theses (Matt has already done his; Sherry still to come) and then we’ll all have two more modules, one more workshop session, and the graduation ceremony.  Yay! 

I need to burn my thesis onto a cd and turn it in to the library, and at some point I need to swing by the campus bookstore and pick up my graduation robe, but that’s about all. 

My brain has been set to “coast”, at least until the end of this week, when I’ll start up on revisions again. 


God is Good

The quilt is done, except for the tag. I still don’t know what to call it, but it looks great. Tag info will include the quilt’s name (whenever I decide what that will be), who made it (that’s me), who it’s for and why (that’s a secret), and when it was made. I make the tags both for posterity and because otherwise I have no idea when I made which quilt. We have three or four of my quilts in our house, and two each at my parents’ and my brother’s houses, aside from the ones I’ve given away. I’ve only been quilting for six years, but I have no trouble imagining myself in 30 years trying to remember when the heck I made Matt’s Doubting Thomas quilt (I couldn’t even tell you now off the top of my head but it was. . . 5ish years ago??? Four? This is why I make tags.)

Anyway, so finishing a quilt, even a rather small quilt like this one, makes it a nice day to start off.

But Matt called me a little while ago to read me the email reply from the owner of the condo we’re going to be renting – and to make a rather long story short, we’re going to be able to move into the new place almost right away and stay there for free through the end of the year. Whee! This will make almost everything leading up to residency and graduation easier, and it might turn January into a very pleasant month instead of a terribly hectic one.

I feel like dancing.

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