Betsy Whitt

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

Category: Family

The Ohio Chronicles

I mentioned briefly at some point that I was headed to Ohio to visit family, and that is where I’ve been.  Aren’t you glad I’m not a liar?

The flight and everything surrounding it went well on Thursday, and we (my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew) spent Friday morning at the doctor’s and then the zoo, the latter of which was lots of fun for everyone.  Friday evening and most of Saturday, the lovely, brilliant theologian Marva Dawn was a guest speaker at a conference hosted by my brother’s church.  That was a great deal of fun as well as being educational and though-provoking, AND my high school English teacher was there, so I got to chat with her for a few minutes.

As if that weren’t enough excitement, on Saturday morning we were all woken by the beeps, clangs, and rumbles of heavy machinery–William is firmly in the phase of fascination with all kinds of trucks, and he stood transfixed for several hours as the men ripped out the old, ugly cement stairs in front of the house.  I say “stood,” but there was also a fair amount of dancing, wiggling, and jumping up and down in excitement.  I took pictures, but they really don’t compare.

Sunday morning and half the afternoon was church, as usual, and then I ran to the grocery store while the house turned into The Napping House, and I made a giant cookie for a dessert pizza that they took to a picnic in the evening.  I, on the other hand, drove up to my parents’ house and had dinner with my parents, grandfather, and aunt and uncle.

Returning to Saturday night, I babysat for William while Nathan and Johanna went out to dinner, and after a screaming bedtime routine, William went to sleep within minutes of my turning out the light.

And then I embarked on the Horrific Computer Transfer.  I didn’t know that’s what it would be when I started.  If I had, I might have made more demands.  You see, I helped my mother switch from Windows to Mac about a year and a half ago, and she’s never been entirely happy with it.  That’s okay–I’ve always acknowledged that there are some people for whom Windows works just fine, and my mom is one of them.

So, since I was planning on being in the area for a while, I offered to help her buy a new PC and switch her files back over while I’m here.

Because I like sticking forks in my eyeballs for fun.

Also, Matt and I get the old MacMini when I go home.  (Yay more computers!)

At any rate, after I put William to bed Saturday night I went about setting up both computers so that I could get down to the work of the switcheroo.  It went well for a while, and then I ran into trouble with transferring files, since I couldn’t get both machines online at the same time with any kind of ease.  So I found a blank cd, burned the files I needed to transfer, and loaded most of them on the new computer.  I knew the email files weren’t going to be very nice, so I saved them for last.

Suffice to say that I am having problems.  There’s not a lot of documentation online about switching from Mac back to PC, and the vast majority of THAT is from OS 10.3 or earlier, which is just ridiculous since we’re on 10.6 now.  Mail files look like mboxes, but aren’t any more; the emlx-to-mbox converter I tried to use didn’t work; and before I even got to that point there were several hours in which I was moderately concerned that I might have lost all my mother’s emails entirely.  That is significant both because she does a lot with email and keeps a lot of things saved there, and also because it would have been an idiotic thing for me, of all people, to do.  I was going to try to convert using Thunderbird as a “translator” since it runs on both platforms, but I have been thwarted at every turn there, too.

I am beginning to seriously consider more drastic (and seriously annoying) actions.  Also, as a pre-emptive strike here, in this entry I have not even begun to give details either on the situation or on what I’ve tried to do (literally just about everything.  I’m more thorough than most people.), so general “have you tried this?” comments probably won’t be greeted with much grace at this point.  If you have extensive experience specifically with moving obstinate Mac Mail version 3.6 files into Windows Mail, feel free to send me a private email.  Otherwise, commiseration and rantings about how idiotic the technology world can be are most welcome from everyone.

That about sums up my visit so far: good times with family, lots of fun, and ongoing desires to scream at computers.

I’ll try to post some photos tomorrow.  In the meantime, look out for an Exciting Announcement!  (Don’t get too excited, though.)

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Remembrance

Today is April 6th. I always notice when this date comes around, though I haven’t mentioned it to many people.

Four years ago, my grandmother died. She was terribly special to me, and I still miss her. In the months following her death, I often found myself thinking I ought to call and tell her this or that, or that I would put it in my next letter, and it always came as a shock that I couldn’t. It still happens from time to time, but nowhere near as often.

There have been a lot of changes in the family in the last four years–marriages, babies, cross-country moves. Life moves forward and takes us with it. The missing is no longer sharp and sudden, but gentle, savored because it also brings memories of traveling and sitting up close at the opera and her exclamations when I described a teammate’s injuries while playing Ultimate frisbee, and the day when she wouldn’t hug me because my dyed hair and painted face alarmed her.

Yes, that really is me.

I don’t think I’ve posted a picture of her before, so here’s one I’ve always liked. I was showing her plans for a quilt.

Three years ago, I wrote a piece in memory of her life, and I read it again every year. In case you’re interested, here it is:

In memoriam

My grandmother died a year ago today. I have not yet attempted to put my thoughts and feelings into words, though the pen or the computer is my preferred method of expression in most cases. At times I question whether I have truly grieved for her, but more often there is a quiet acceptance of her absence. I miss her painfully, at times. I miss her interest and her wisdom. I miss being able to write her letters. I miss sharing my life with her, and hearing her excitement about my crazy ideas. But I also know that she is in a much better place, and I will see her again. I know that she knows about my crazy ideas and is still excited about them.

Let me tell you about her.
Continue reading

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Turkey Day

I’ve hardly even thought about anything internet-related for two days, and I have to say it’s pretty darn nice in a lot of ways.

We had a lovely turkey dinner with all the fixins this afternoon, complete with entertainment by my nephew and my grandfather’s new dog Molly, who is almost as cute as Shiloh. Yum yum. (The turkey is yum, not the dogs.)

But I’m also pretty tired, because we’ve been helping my brother and sister-in-law settle into their new house, which needs both unpacking and repair/remodeling work rightnow. It’s a lot of fun, but also involves more brainpower and physical effort than, say, lying on the couch all weekend.

I’ve also made very good progress on the second quilt project, but I had a minor disaster earlier tonight when I, through sheer carelessness, cut myself with the rotary blade. Imagine a pizza slicer with a precision razor-blade for an edge and you’ll get the picture of the weapon I was wielding. Luckily, it was a glancing blow and only lifted open about 1/2-inch of flesh (1/4-inch deep) on my left thumb. It’s even on a section of thumb that is both easily bandaged AND not very bendy, which means there’s a decent chance it will heal quickly. But blood has been shed. And then, being the go-get-’em gal that I am, I continued working on the quilt and executed three (count ’em) three rather major mistakes. Luckily, they all have to do with the binding, which I wasn’t terribly happy with anyway. I have plenty of extra fabric for binding, and this gives me a very valid reason to pull it all off and start over on it. So it’s sort of good, except that I feel very silly.

And now, since it’s past my bedtime in Colorado and I’m currently in the land that lives two hours ahead of Colorado, I think it’s time I turned in for the night.

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mai wizdum – it iz going!

So I finished the edits on the paper and sent it off yesterday. Picked up a new batch of books at the library, and my momma flew in to baby me after I get my teeth ripped out this morning. Matt will be helping, but he has a full load of work and school this week, and it seemed unfair to make him get behind on all that especially when Mom was willing to come and help.

Plus, now I have an entourage to care for my pitifulness, because believe me, I intend to be quite pitiful.We are about one hour from DOOM. And by DOOM I mean, of course, the pulling of wisdom teeth.

My plan for the day beyond that is to sleep and watch Pride and Prejudice and then maybe sleep some more. If I get really ambitious, I might read. And that’s about it.

See you on the other side of wisdom.

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Checking In

Just popping in to say that Ohio is humid. Really, really humid. Like, we tell people in Colorado about Real Humidity, but after a while of living without it, you lose the visceral understanding that comes with living in it. For the record, I much prefer Colorado when Ohio has this kind of weather. On the other hand, there is a deep, pervasive green smell here that Colorado never quite produces, and that’s quite nice.

In the “Fun Things We’ve Done In Ohio” category, we’ve had a very nice time visiting with family in from all over the country, and tonight I got to talk with what seems like a Who’s Who from my formative years. My brother is now officially the Reverend Nathan Wright (woohoo!), and my nephew is still the cutest little boy ever. Also, I’ve slept more than I thought possible, and eaten an impressive amount of food as well.

Oh yeah, and Friday night we spent 11pm-1am up in the rafters above the garage, drilling holes in the plasterboard ceiling and shoveling soaked insulation into buckets so the whole ceiling wouldn’t collapse. It seems water froze in one of the air conditioner’s condensation drainage pipes there and a big section of PVC pipe exploded and had probably been leaking for several weeks. Fun times, that. At least we were here to do the climbing around in the crawlspace – I don’t particularly want to think about Mom and Dad trying that on their own.

The lesson? Always support the full length of PVC pipes when they’re exposed to heat and cold. Good to know.

One more day here, and then we’re back to Colorado. It’ll be good to be home.

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Randomania

I’ve been quiet this week – that’s in part because my brain got just a bit fried on Saturday when I finished the novel’s rough draft, and I’ve been doing as little as possible since then in an effort to let it recuperate. 

Yesterday was our three year wedding anniversary. (Woohoo! Go us!) I spent most of it cleaning and doing laundry, and packing for our trip to Ohio this weekend. Model wife, eh? If only. 

At any rate, I’m working half a day today and then going home for last-minute packing and heading out to the airport. I hate taking evening flights headed east, but flying when we are saved us $200 each, so that’s the trade-off. At least it’s a direct flight today.

We’ll be in Ohio over the weekend – on Sunday my brother will be ordained and installed as the associate pastor of a church in Cincinnati, so it’s turned into something of a whole-family event. Speaking of Nathan’s new church, the senior pastor there keeps a great blog, so head on over and say ‘Hi’ to Russell Smith if you’re so inclined. 

And for those of you who miss Shiloh’s antics, here’s another of her favorite activities:

Notice that she uses the laser dot to get going and stay motivated, but once she’s running, she doesn’t bother with trying to catch it. She’s too smart for that. Or so she’d like us to think.

I’ll try to post over the weekend, but if I don’t, have a lovely couple of days without me! 

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The Next Big Thing

“So Betsy,” you say (come on, play along, it’s fun!). “Now that you’ve finished your novel’s rough draft, what’s next?”

Well, dear readers, I would love to go to Disney World! Please contact me for information on the Betsy Goes To Disney Fund and the many convenient ways you can donate.

In the meantime, I’ve kept a lot of projects on the proverbial back burner for far too long. Speaking of the back burner, has anyone else ever wondered how big a stove would have to be to contain all of their metaphorically postponed projects? Mine would be, like, three miles long, with one front burner and all the rest in the back. These are the sorts of things I think about.

There are several stories I’d like to twiddle with, and I’ve neglected practicing my writing lately (for an explanation far more coherent than mine would be, go here), so there will be some “play” writing happening, just to see what develops.

Also, I’ve had a hankering to do some quilting, which is my most neglected hobby as of late. I spent this afternoon twiddling with designs for two projects I’ve been mulling over for a while in spare moments, then pulled out the boxes that currently house my fabric stash and actually found almost everything I need for one of the projects right there in my closet. I’m not sure if I’ll post pictures of my progress on the quilts, since I’m pretty sure their recipients drop in and read the blog on occasion, and I’d rather have them be surprised. But those are in the works, and I’ll probably mention them from time to time.

I’ve still got books for my fantasy challenge to read before I go out to residency, and I’ve gotten behind on the reading journals again as of late, so that’s on the list. Oh, and I should read all the books I’ve borrowed from friends, so they can have their books back and I look less like a slacker reader.

Otherwise, we’re flying to Ohio this weekend for my big brother’s ordination and installation at a church in Cincinnati, and I’ll be enjoying a few weeks in which I’m not allowed to think about the novel. When the school term picks up at the end of this month, I’ll head into full-on revisions and edits.

Finally, I intend to admire my new suitcase, which is bright red (my grandmother would be proud), hard-sided, and destined to serve me for at least the next 20 years. I’m thinking of putting stickers on it as a sort of mobile travel-log of the places I’ve visited.

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My Man William

For those of you who were wishing I’d post a picture from my recent trip to Ohio, here’s one of my favorites, with my nephew William:

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Please Ignore the Smoke Pouring From My Ears

I have officially hit the pre-travel AAAAAH! phase.

Astute observers of my last week’s activities might put forward the idea that I hit the AAAAAH! phase quite a while ago, but a girl’s allowed to live in denial now and again, and apparently last week was a denial week. On the up side (humor me here) I have made lists. One is a list of Things I Need To Remember To Take To Ohio On Thursday. There are 12 items listed, none of which are things I would normally pack (there’s another list for that). These items are things like gifts and books I’ve borrowed and books I’m taking to let my parents borrow and all the info for me to file our taxes (who? me? procrastinate? never!).

The other major list is the list of Things I Need To Do Before I Leave. This includes “RSVP to everything” (two weddings and a baby shower so far, unless I’ve lost something) and “do the laundry”, which has officially moved to high priority since Matt informed me that he only has one pair of clean underwear left. I was hoping I could hold out on laundry until Wednesday night, giving me the greatest range of clean clothing to pack, but alas and alack, I will have to dress strategically for the next three days instead.

I also need to write the whole month’s worth of pages for the novel, but who’s counting? There’s something to be said for a time crunch… we’ll just hope that this time around, that something is positive rather than negative.

On the up side, Thursday is both my nephew William’s 6-month birthday AND the day I will meet him for the first time. Happy happy! I’m looking forward to the chance to spend time with family in the next week, even if there will be less down time than I originally expected. It will be worth it.

Even if there is a lot of AAAAAH! beforehand.

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I’m an Aunt!

William Zeriah Wright was born this afternoon at 3:54PM (EST).  He weighed in at 9 lbs. 8 oz. and 22 inches long.  Rumor has it that he has lots of dark hair, dark blue eyes, and big hands – so maybe my grandmother will get a pianist out of her offspring after all.

Many congrats to Nathan and Johanna – and thanks for the birthday present, even if it is a day early!

I have yet to see a picture, but I’m sure it won’t be long.  He can’t be anything but beautiful.

I’m an Aunt!  I’m an Aunt!

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