Betsy Whitt

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

Category: Bob the Cactus (page 1 of 2)

Funny How Time Flies….

I can hardly believe that it’s been three months since I posted here, although I suppose from the other side of things, it’s pretty much expected at this point. Poor regular readers with no regular posts to read. I apologize, and am happy to announce that I’ve been having bloggerish thoughts again lately, and will be setting aside time to indulge them once again, which translates to mean I expect to be posting far more often.

Hmm… updates from last post….

It took four months, in the end, before the storm door’s hardware was replaced. It looks great, but the paint I used is already chipping off a bit in places, so it seems my brilliant DIY idea is more of a temporary fix than a permanent solution.

I’ve managed NOT to travel any more since May, and it’s been lovely to be near home consistently. The one exception was for about four days before the local schools resumed classes, which is also when Matt’s fall schedule kicks back into full gear. We took a few days and headed down to Manitou Springs to rest, relax, and be tourists–but being less than 90 minutes from home isn’t really traveling, so I don’t count it in that category. It was lovely to take a rest from our normal routine, though, and great to get that time together before fall’s craziness kicked in full-throttle.

I mentioned a new job in passing last time–it was truly a job in passing, as before I’d been there for three months they had to let me go. A bit of a bummer, as the extra money would have been nice for a few more months at least, but in the end we’ll be fine and it’s been quite a blessing to not have a day job to work around in recent weeks.

I’ve played plenty of Diablo 3, and I could probably talk for a while about its pros and cons, and why I’m okay at this point with just the occasional opportunities I get to play it these days. But I won’t, because this is not a gamer blog, nor is it likely ever to be such a thing, and because I don’t have the patience to put all my thoughts in a coherent form, which pretty much negates the whole “writing a blog post” idea. I will say, since I specifically mentioned it in the last post, that eventually the wizard’s crystal skin ability is far less effective, because its capacity to absorb damage doesn’t increase as your health does, nor does it increase as your opponents begin to deal significantly more damage–so in early levels it was brilliant, but later on it’s less awesome. Sorry, for anybody who googled “wizard crystal skin” and got my last update without the tempering information I have just disclosed. Hopefully you figured it out for yourself, but if not, I have now covered my proverbial backend and cannot be held responsible for wizards going up against Belial in Hell thinking crystal skin is going to materially help them. Sorry, it won’t. Not even a little bit.

And now we get to that amorphous “other things are brewing” bit at the end of my last post. Those of you who follow me on twitter or Facebook, or who know me in real life (what?? who knows anyone that way any more these days?) have likely surmised that this was primarily a veiled reference to the fact that Matt and I are expecting our first baby in January. We didn’t tell most people until almost July, so only our immediate family and our closest friends caught the sideways reference, but it was definitely in my mind when I wrote it.

Everything’s been going smoothly thus far with the baby-growing, and we’re not finding out whether it’s a boy or a girl, and several of the things that have been brewing in my blogging-mind are pregnancy related, so I’m not going to say much more for now. Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and I will feel free to answer only the ones I feel you have a right to know the answer to. :) But yes, we’re thrilled and excited and all the positive things one can be about preparing for a new baby.

So yes, the baby-brewing was foremost in my mind when I wrote about things in the works that were not being worth talking about yet, but there are other things we’ve been working on as well. Things like figuring out what to do with the retaining wall that’s collapsing in our back yard, and my slowly developing plans for remodeling the guest bathroom–the last bastion of pure ugly in the house. Things like wading back into the world of writing and how I’ve been catching up on my scrapbooking, and posting photos of the progress in the house (the kitchen is done!).

And since then, I’ve been saving up all kinds of things to say about topics like ridiculous “must have” baby registry checklists, finding decent pregnancy clothes (using “decent” on so many levels…), depression and pregnancy, how annoying car repairs can be, and my ongoing inability to keep plants alive: alas, Bob2 finally met his doom; Mr. Prickles didn’t survive the winter (even though he lived indoors); Bob3 is already struggling; my three porch plants died within a month of buying them this spring; basil and sage plants both died; and the two indoor potted plants are struggling valiantly, but one is clearly losing.

In other daily-life news, I’m still almost always behind on laundry and cleaning the kitchen, but I’ve managed to restrict the piles-of-junk to one table and my office. Although clearly not optimal, this is a significant improvement over previous norms.

And now it’s time to sign off and make a list of all the things that need doing to finish all the partially-finished home-improvement projects in the house, with priority listings for those things that ought to be accomplished before my parents visit in a month.

What’s up with you?


Come On, Don’t Try To Tell Me You Weren’t Expecting This

I have been lax in my bloggelation duties.

Yes, I totally made up that word.

No, I have not been lax in everything in my life.  In fact, I have gotten quite a lot of writing done and read several books and played quite a bit of Diablo 2 and rearranged the office and done other worthwhile things, I’m sure.  You should know by now that I can never remember many specifics very long after the fact.  I can hardly remember our wedding date (no, seriously, I had to think really really hard about it just the other day).

Suffice to say that I have been busy.

Also, I have not been very good at getting to bed when I really should, which means I wake up a bit later than I really should and don’t have time to blog before I start the day’s writing.  And I have finally placed working on the novel above blogging in the priorities.  That’s good, yes?  Yay noveling!  But it does mean the blogging has suffered.  Next goal: Getting to bed on time so I can do EVERYTHING!

But I digress.

The real reason for this post is to fill time before I have to pick Matt up from class and we go to a meeting at church tonight.  No, wait.  That wasn’t supposed to be the real reason.  I mean, it’s part of the reason, but. . . . I should stop babbling and wander around to my point.

My point is, where has been a recent addition to the Whitt Household!  That’s right, folks, something else for me to kill!

She’s a very pretty flower plant in a pot, and I’ve named her Georgette.  Here’s a picture of her (with Shiloh, who looks slightly annoyed because I made her sit there and stay while I took a photo and she can’t imagine why):

Georgette and Shiloh

Yes, those are Matt’s psychoanalysis textbooks on the table.  No, as far as I know he is not psychoanalyzing me (we can all hope).

At any rate, Georgette was gifted to me with the instructions that I was not to intentionally kill her.  My friends know my track record with plants.  I did not feel it was appropriate to point out that I never intend to kill any of my plants.  She’s lasted out her first week and a half, though, which is pretty good in terms of flower-plant lifespans in this household.  I have no idea what to expect in terms of her annual life-cycle, though.  Will she bloom all the time?  How much water is too much?  Her blooms get wilty when I don’t water her every day, but are some of those yellowy brown leaves a result of too much water?  I just don’t know.

Georgette sits on the TV table near the porch windows because she seems to do better with a bit of light, and that’s the most consistent place for her to get it without being frozen on the porch.  I will keep you updated on her progress or decline, as the case may be.

Bob2, for those who are concerned, seems to be doing fine.  He’s still a bit sunburned from where I left him out on the porch this summer, and I’m not certain he’ll ever recover, but he seems to be plugging along just fine.

And now I will think about cleaning the kitchen, which is a mess.  Or maybe I’ll read a bit more. . . . Decisions, decisions.



It seems that every so often–sometimes longer, sometimes shorter–I find it necessary to step back and refocus. People who don’t know me very well laugh when I give them my standard self-description: tall, blonde, and easily distracted. “Easily distracted?” they say, “You read huge books in one sitting!” As if that’s the pinnacle of focus and attention. Seriously, people, I read books in one sitting (or as close as I can get) because if I don’t, I’ll get distracted, put it down and more than likely forget I ever intended to finish it. And because it’s a convenient way to be distracted from other things I’m supposed to be doing.

Sometimes I’m conscious of allowing distractions to edge their way in, and other times I look up and realize I have no idea how I got so far off track.

So I’m refocusing. Matt’s out of town again this week on a nice long wilderness backpacking trip courtesy of Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries, so I’ve got plenty of time and space to clear out the mental cobwebs.

Family: Happily, one of the aspects of my life that hasn’t slipped much lately. Goal is to maintain and deepen time/interaction with family.

Career: Two aspects of this, the writing and the day job. As the day job looks much different now than it did 6 weeks ago, and looks more and more likely to disappear sooner rather than later, I can dedicate more time to the writing. In the current job market, I’m leaning toward investing myself in writing rather than wasting time and energy trying to find a nonexistent position. Regardless, I need to set short and long-term goals for my writing, and I need to find someone to crack the whip and make me stick to them once I set them.

Finance: We spend more money than we ought. We have a peculiar financial situation, and it often results in a rather lax view toward budgeting and savings. I’m taking steps to adjust our mentality on that, beginning with trying out the service.

Health and Wellbeing: I caught up on sleep last week, and it’s a wonderful thing. I’ve also gotten myself swimming semi-regularly at the apartment complex pool. I’m working on setting up a regular time to take Shiloh to the dog park, which gives us both exercise, and I’m really really (really) going to recommit to my WiiFit schedule.

Recreation: Much of this also falls under exercise, since much of our recreation is active, but I’m making sure I block out time for reading. We also got an XBOX 360 recently, and Fable 2 allows us to log into the same game together and kill bad guys. I’ve STILL got a big unfinished quilt that needs to be completed. And I do very much like meeting people for coffee.

Personal: I am learning about the care and keeping of cacti (turns out they do best in steady, diffused light, not direct sunlight, so Bob2 is back in the office) and I am contemplating installing a window-box-style herb garden on the porch railing, if I can be reasonably assured I won’t kill them all. My writing definitely counts in this category, too, for a variety of reasons.

Friendship: I generally operate with a bit more distance than some people in terms of friendships, so once I plug back into my “usual” sources of information and communication, there’s not much of a course correction that’s going to happen here. There are a few people, though, who I want to be better friends with, and I’ll be intentional about getting together with them.

Community: For all intents and purposes, the church congregation serves as our community. I’d love to get more connected in the neighborhood and the town eventually, but right now it’s just not possible. I’ll be keeping an eye out, though, and laying the foundation to move on that when the time is right. Meanwhile, maintaining relationships with people in the church, our small group, etc., are the standard.

Household: Goal is to do a general sweep of the house every night to tidy up – clean the kitchen, run the dishwasher if necessary, put the stuff that always lands on the dining room table away, corral the dog toys, find the remotes, etc. Once a week laundry and vacuum, and we’ll be cutting back drastically on eating out.

Spiritual: This one’s between me and God, but it’s definitely part of my consideration in refocusing and being deliberate about how I spend my time.


Just Keep Swimming. . . .

Maybe I should just rename my blog. Something like “One Million Reasons Betsy Doesn’t Blog Regularly”. That would be appropriate.

Since my last set of excuses, work stuff has gotten sorted out (which required quite a few hours of meetings to finally settle on, and will probably be completely reworked again this week), but it made this a rather stressful week. Add some . . . hmm. We’ll call it “excitement”. That’s a nice word that can encompass both good and stressful things . . . from Matt’s half of our world, meetings, a dinner with friends, two barbeques, and the usual church obligations, and I’ve felt a bit stretched this week.

This week looks much the same; dinner tomorrow night with folks who are becoming good friends, band rehearsal Tuesday, going-away shindig for friends on Wednesday, and preparation for a weekend retreat from Friday midday through Sunday. Plus my usual work stuff, a resolution to get my tush back in gear on the manuscript work, and putting together the kernels of ideas that will grow into the sermon I’m preaching in late August at church.

Bob2 was looking rather sickly after several weeks out on the porch railing, so we brought him back inside, since he seemed to thrive there. Fingers crossed that I haven’t killed another one.

Speaking of being busy, I should get ready for dinner tonight with our small group so when dessert comes out of the oven I’ll be ready to get in the car and head over.


Bob2 Update

Bob2 is still alive.

I moved him out onto the porch this morning. I realize that I probably should have done this a week or more ago, but I’ve been a little slow on the uptake in general lately. But this morning I came into the office to clean off my desk so I can pay the bills so our electricity stays on and our phones stay connected, and I saw Bob sitting there, indoors, not getting as much sun as he would like. So he’s outside now. The porch is shady in the mornings, but catches sun from about noon until sunset, which is about 9pm these days, so he should be happy.

Now I should go back to cleaning the desk, so I can proceed to paying the bills. And then writing. Because there is always writing to be done.



Okay, folks, it’s update time.

I’ve spent most of the day cleaning my desk, which might sound to some people like the job of an hour or so, but those people have not witnessed my desk. When I’m done entirely, I’ll take a photo and you can all ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at how lovely and clean it is.

In the meanwhile, Bob2 seems to be faring well. I’d post a photo, but it would look pretty much like all the other ones you’ve seen of Bob2 thus far, so that seems silly.

Shiloh has been a bit neglected lately, in the sense that Matt and I have both been either too busy or too disinclined to brave the cold temperatures in order to take her out for a proper walk or run around the park. But she makes do with running around the house like a demon with one or the other of her toys in her mouth. She also spends a great deal of time looking out the window, now that she can both see out a window and look at something (the parking lot) which is interesting at least some of the time.

Notice that the ledge is at just the right height for her to rest her chin there while she watches. Very convenient.

I took this one this morning when she was playing with her squeaky bowling pin. The body has a nice duck-call noise when you squeeze it, and the rubber’s tough enough to take her chewing for more than five minutes without falling apart.

So that’s what’s going on in the Whitt home today.


Bob2, Shiloh, my boss, and Nashville

Bob2’s soil was very dry this morning, and his little cactus-buds were looking particularly dehydrated. After consulting with Matt, I watered him thoroughly (I watered Bob2, not Matt, you silly people). He just kept soaking up water, so I kept pouring it in until he didn’t soak up any more. I didn’t leave any standing at his base, but I got about a cup and a quarter and his soil was 100% saturated. Now, according to Matt, I am not allowed to water him for a month. Matt has never killed a cactus, so I am inclined to take his advice.

Ironically, I realized on the drive to work today that although I remembered to water my cactus this morning, I forgot to water the dog. Er… to refill the dog’s water dish. You might think that’s horribly neglectful of me, but I’m not too worried. First of all, the toilet’s open if she gets really desperate (not that I hope she will take advantage of that option, but it’s there in an emergency, and she’s been known to do it before) and second of all, I seriously doubt it will get warm enough to dehydrate her any further today.

We have an informal temperature scale in our household, in which the person who takes the dog out in the morning gauges the weather for the benefit of the other person’s clothing and/or jacket choice for the day. The terms vary somewhat, but in general there’s super hot, hot, warm, no temperature (also called “perfect”), chilly, cold, and freakin’ freezing. It was freakin’ freezing this morning. Thus, little danger of overheated, dehydrated dog in the house today.

Furthermore, I purposefully did not fill the dog’s water dish before I fed her. This is because recently she has had the most amazingly foul breath. (No, seriously. Foul. FOUL.) It got bad enough that we went to the pet store for bad-dog-breath remedies and came back with some minty stuff that goes into her water dish and does seem to have worked, more or less. At any rate, Shiloh LOVES her new minty water, and she tends to drink rather a lot of it, especially right when we put down a new, full bowl. After three days of unfortunate experience, we ascertained that Shiloh drinking a lot of her minty water + a full belly of food = vomit on the carpet. Depending on whether the water was consumed before or after the food was added, the vomit is either plain liquid or sprinkled with entirely undigested bits of kibble. We may be headed into the realm of too much information here, so I’ll wrap up by saying that we’ve decided a fresh bowl of minty water at the same time as a bowl of food is a supremely bad idea. So I fed the dog this morning and intended to put the water down about a half hour later, after her belly had some time to settle with the food, and then we got into a rush to leave the house and I plum forgot. (Plumb? I don’t think I’ve ever typed that phrase before, so I never had to know how to spell it.)

So that’s how the cactus got watered and the dog didn’t.

Also worth noting this morning, my boss is in a musical mood. Between appointments he was rather lustily singing lyrics I’ve never heard to a rather well-known melody from The Pirates of Penzance, but of course I can’t remember the name or the correct lyrics for the life of me now. I don’t know if he made up the lyrics or if they’re simply a version I’ve never heard before, but they were highly enjoyable (about how some people think it best to be melancholy but he prefers cheerful melody or something like that). When he got tired of singing, I still caught bits and pieces of the melody as he whistled to himself.

Mornings like this remind me of how much I really do like my job.

I’m headed to Nashville in two days–if all works out, I’m going to take some fabric with me to make into a quilt top since Mom can bring a sewing machine. So this morning’s agenda is to finalize my math on how many fabrics I need and how much of them, and put together a list so I can go shopping this evening.

Aside from being crafty, Mom and I will be exploring the city in a leisurely fashion while we’re there. Neither of us have been before, so if you’ve got suggestions on fun things to do, leave me a comment!


Wasting Time–And Bob2

I got up this morning thinking it was a fine day for writing. Consequently, I haven’t written a thing.

I did make myself file our taxes, though, so at least that’s done. We get a refund–yay!–and it’s bigger than last year’s, which isn’t saying much, since we only got $7 last year. But I think that doing my taxes might have eaten my brain, because although I can think of three or four things off the top of my head that I could do (ranging from things I really ought to do all the way through things I really shouldn’t waste time on but that are usually fun), I have no desire to do anything. Nothing at all. No ambition, no drive. I could just sit here clicking “refresh” on my FaceBook homepage. Wait, that’s what I HAVE been doing for the last half hour.

So I thought as long as I was wasting my own time, I might as well waste yours, too. Generous, aren’t I?

Earlier this week, in the flurry of melodrama surrounding my laptop, I mentioned that I had an update about Bob2. Here it is:

I finally caved and dug out all the little glued-in rocks around Bob2’s base. I did this mostly with a rather long pencil, and even then Bob2 viciously attacked my fingers once or twice. His soil is now open to the air, and I added 1/4 cup of water right away, because he was very dry. I have a feeling that wasn’t enough water, but as we have established, I know nothing.

Anyway, there were a lot of rocks. I’ve kept them, at least for the time being, in case they come in handy for something. Here’s the photo of Bob2, freed of his gluey rocks, and the dish of rocks from which he has been freed. Beneath them is a page I pulled out of the newspaper with muffin recipes I thought looked tasty, and which served to keep my desk more or less un-dirt-ified while the glued-rock excavation took place.

So there you have it. Bob2 is, at least, not dead within his first month.

I’m headed to Nashville next week–any suggestions on activities I shouldn’t miss while I’m there? We’re pretty flexible on schedule.

And now I’m going to go be boring somewhere else, because you fine folks surely have better things to do. Have a good one!


The Next Great Update

Okay, so that might be false advertising, because I’m not at all certain this will be a great update. But it will be an update, so it’s only 50% potentially false.

I’ve been reading a lot lately. I realize that some of you may laugh at such a statement, but I mean that I have been reading even more than usual lately, mostly because I haven’t been able to get my poor brain to focus on spitting out its own original material, so I’ve been inundating it with other people’s stories. I have no idea what I hope to accomplish in so doing, but that seems to be what’s happening.

In positive news, just in case you were wondering, Matt loves me. Do you want to know how I know? Of course you do! And even if you don’t, I’m going to tell you, because it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to. Oh, wait. Sorry. I had a Leslie Gore moment, but I think it’s done now. . . . Yeah. We’re clear.

But back to the issue at hand. How do I know Matt loves me, you ask? Because he cleaned the house today AND he made me gravy. That’s right, folks. Gravy. Chicken gravy especially for me to have to biscuits for dinner tonight, and enough to take care of dinner for both of us tomorrow night.

“But Betsy,” you say, “you don’t strike me as a biscuits and gravy kind of girl.”

Ah, and you’d be right. I don’t like just any biscuits and gravy. Well, chances are that I like almost any kind of biscuits. But gravy? I’m picky about my gravy.

That’s right.

And with that, I’m going to try to write a few more pages tonight. Because, you know, this manuscript has to get finished sometime.

Oh, and Bob2 is still alive, as far as I can tell.


Bob2 and Other Things

Thanks for the well-wishes for Bob2. He’s survived the week, at least, despite the fact that the little rocks around his base? Yeah, they’re glued in. But never fear. I will find a way to water him. But not too much.

We hope.

I got more done last month than I thought I did, looking at numbers instead of feelings of moving forward, but that just goes to show that if I could actually get my brain to turn on every day, I’d get TONS done. So I feel less bad about completely wasting a month, because I didn’t, but I didn’t use the time all that well, either.

Today is a day for crossing things off my to-do list.

Good quote from Howard Thurman, American theologian, clergyman, and activist:

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

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