Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013 - Good-Bye, My Friend


Jimmy was more than a friend.  For many years he was my father-in-law.  Married and divorced twice from their younger son, Jimmy and Dot have remained very dear friends over the years and miles.  I think that’s pretty damn cool for ex in-laws, and I am blessed by their presence in my life.  Following the first divorce, they said to just consider them an aunt and uncle and, indeed, I hold them in my heart as family.

With Jimmy & Dot in Pasadena October 2005

With Jimmy and Dot at their home in Texas, October 2005.  My first wedding took place in their backyard.

Jimmy had a wonderful sense of humor and I have so many treasured memories of time spent together.  Christmas Eve at their home was a tradition for many years.

May 1985

May 1985 poolside at a hotel in Austin, Texas

March 1985

March 1985 at my home in Houston – Don’t remember the moment, but look at that mischievous grin on his face!

September 1990 New Braunfels

September 1990 - A couple of years the four of us rented a condo near New Braunfels, TX and went tubing and rafting on the river

September 1991 After Rafting the Guadalupe River

September 1991 after rafting the Guadalupe


November 1986

November 1986 - Lots of good times with Dot, too!

Jimmy retired from NASA after many years of service.  You know, he never talked about his work there; however, when attending an open house for families with him and Dot one year, it was impressive to hear other employees address him as “Mr. Moore” and with “Yes, sir” and “No, sir.”  He certainly was treated with respectful deference. 

Although a nonsmoker, Jimmy underwent treatment for lung cancer several years ago with surgery and chemo.  He beat the cancer, but never really bounced back physically.  Following a recent illness, he departed this world on May 29, 2013.

I am personally saddened by this loss and feel deeply for Dot.  She and Jimmy were married quite young and have many, many decades of life together.

Dot and Jimmy February 1993

Jimmy and Dot – February 1993

So, my friend, well done for a good life lived.  Thank you for so many special memories and for your continued friendship all these years.  You are greatly missed.  May you rest in peace.

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max creation.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26, 2013 - My Cousin, My Sister


Today it has been four years since my beloved cousin Karen passed away.  The only thing that makes life bearable without her is knowing I will be with her again some day.  The remembrances below were originally posted in 2012, but you are invited to share this celebration of her with me again today.


Karen was my cousin by blood; we were sisters and soul mates by heart. Indeed, she often referred to me as her “baby sister.”  She was so full of life, always managing to stay upbeat during difficult times.  She always had a hug for folks.  Dave remembers the first time he met her; the first thing she said to him was “Sorry, I have a broken hugger.”  She had injured her shoulder and could not give a proper hug.

What can I tell you about Karen and I?


Camping back in “the day” - Karen on the right, me on the left - Don't ask why we were grinning . . . it was the 70’s, okay?

Although seven years older than me, she always had time for me when we were kids.  She put me on a see-saw for the first time.  I got to go barefoot for the first time because she was.  We had a connection . . . inexplicable, deep, straight, true and everlasting.  We had such escapades as kids which carried over into adulthood.  We were both kids at heart . . . kids who knew what hard blows life can deal one and what joys were to be found in simple things.

During more recent years, starting when we were both single in 2002, we would say when we would get together we were just going to "be."  Our lives were hectic enough, so we were just going to enjoy "be-ing" together, enjoying the moment, chilling out, enjoying each other.

She was with me at my home in Brenham that Christmas Eve in 2004 when Dave called me for the first time.  That evening we watched a James Bond movie marathon, waiting for the rare Texas snowfall, and played Christmas carols on kazoos we had found at a local wee old-fashioned toy store earlier in the day.

Karen was diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer in December 2008.  She underwent three chemo sessions and then testing to see if the chemo had any effect on the tumor.  During that time, Dave was so understanding and supported my decision to take our travel trailer and go visit her for a long weekend, my first solo trip with the rig Dave and I had back then.


Karen and I spent one day together during that time, our final “be-ing” time together.  We laughed until we cried and cried until there was nothing left to do but laugh.  We talked about Life, Death and silly, trivial things.  We talked Truth.  At times, she talked and I listened.  We had always made a point of saying, “I love you,” but this time was special; this was it.  There was nothing left unsaid between us, no “I wish I told them . . .” I am so, so very grateful for that time.

On the eighth anniversary of my surgery for breast cancer, she called me to tell me the chemo was not working and hospice was recommended.  Karen went camping with friends that weekend, determined to LiveStrong her remaining days.

Karen left this Earth on May 26, 2009, six months from diagnosis to passing.  She was 57 years old.

She loved her motorcycles (she had two) and her biker friends, and derived such pleasure from riding and her involvement in the Christian Motorcyclists Association and East Texas Motorcycle Enthusiasts.  Having this “thing” about frogs all her life, her biker name was “Tree Frog.”


Much of who I am is because of Karen’s love and presence in my life.  She surely helped shape me into the woman I am today.

Karen literally died with a smile on her face.  I find that comforting . . . knowing that she was peaceful as she left.  It’s also comforting to know that one really can leave with peace and joy . . . it really does happen.

It is hard to believe it has been almost three years; I am still blindsided at times with missing her.  A piece of me is gone, yet still here, for I carry her love with me and feel her presence often.


Me and the Cuz – Pink Ribbon and  Tree Frog – I did not know about these two pins on her motorcycle vest until I saw them at the visitation on the eve of her life celebration service.  I confess I had to leave the building to compose myself.  As always, Tree Frog had a protective, loving placement over me, the Pink Ribbon.

Like she did so often in our lives, Karen is now blazing the path for me yet once again.  I am comforted to know she will be waiting for me when my time comes.  I look forward to seeing her again in a brighter place.



Miss you, love you, see you again!

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior, much of which is attributable to Karen’s influence throughout my life.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013 - Insecure Writer’s Support Group - Final Post, For Now




This will be my last post as part of the IWSG, at least for now. 

With each new month, I have no progress to report on my project.  I am finding that in itself to be counter-productive.

There has been no discernible progress on my WIP, just fits and spurts here and there.

I have not given up on the idea but need to do it on my own terms, which means cubby-holed away from external “noise” and pressures; i.e., distancing myself from so much social media, including this mandatory every first Wednesday blog posting.

In all honesty, since my cancer experience last summer, my creativity has been elusive, my inner “little voice” has been uncharacteristically quiet.  My focus has been more on “real-time” enjoyment – time spent with my husband and dog, my walking routine, listening to music, reading, adjusting to my body’s “new normal,” meditating and, of course, the everyday routines of life.

I’m in a sort of minimalistic phase, reducing clutter in my life.  That has taken the form of everything from cleaning out closets to decreasing the number of blogs on my reading list to bowing out of some social media sites.  There have been simply too many demands on my attention, and I am working to reduce that with hopes that I will have more inner “me” time and that my Muse will once again become a frequent companion whispering in my ear.

At this point, I intend to continue this blog for now with occasional wee stories unrelated to my WIP and other reflections on my path as a writer.

You all are such a wonderful group and I sincerely appreciate your support and kind comments over the past months. 

Thanks for stopping by!


The above bracelet is a Toby and Max creation.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February 6, 2013 - Insecure Writer’s Support Group



Good grief, Charlie Brown, has it been another month already?

I’m feeling very insecure this month. 

I can blog; when I’m on a roll with a thought, I’m good.  I can take a writing prompt from The Writer’s Retreat Kit and run with it.  I’ve done ad copywriting.  I have chapters of my WIP in my head.

I am, as my husband has said, quite capable of writing a book. 

Problem is – and it’s my problem, my hang-up – when I have a couple of hours here and there for myself – quiet time – I sit down to “work on my book” and my words seem to dry up.  What I put down feels awkward.   I think, “I’ll curl up in bed tonight with my netbook and do some writing when it’s quiet.”  Forget that.  I’m ready for lights out by the time I hit the blankies.

Give me a month alone, two weeks alone even, and I bet I could crank out what I want to say.  Quiet time with no outside influences to let my inner “little voice” emerge again.

That’s not gonna happen.

So I’m plotting against myself, or with myself, to get over this hurdle, this self-imposed handicap.  I’ll retreat to my writing neuk here in my office, put music in my ears and pretend I’m sharing my story with one person, not a faceless multitude.  Make it an intimate environment.

Think it’ll work?  We’ll see.

How do you carve time out for yourself away from spouse, partner, job, everyday routines to allow time and space for your muse to be entertained?

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max creation.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013 - Winter Views



The Musconetcong River is frozen


IMG_5040 (2)

The Canada Geese are not impressed . . .



The Musconetcong above the “big” dam on the property



Much of the “big” dam is frozen


Downstream of the dam



I’m wearing a sheep these days and staying cozy.  This sweater was purchased in Edinburgh, Scotland a few years ago.

Silly Solar Flower

A wee bit of silliness in my office window – a solar-powered sunflower that bobs back and forth, promising Spring will be here soon!

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max creation.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20, 2013 - Open Letter to Lance Armstrong Post Oprah Winfrey Interview



Remember the CD “Driven” from the Ride for the Roses weekend in Austin several years back?  One of the tracks was I Won’t Go Hollywood.  Heading to the staging area for the ride at oh-dark-thirty that weekend, attempting to blow out the windows of my truck with that CD, never did I expect you to “ go Hollywood.” 

As a two-time cancer survivor (most recently in the summer of 2012) who was active in the LAF since 2002 and then LiveStrong, native Texan and decent cyclist back in my day, I have struggled with a myriad of emotions during and following your Oprah interview.

Anger, betrayal, forgiveness, doubting your sincerity, relief that you finally admitted to doping, gratitude for the inspiration I received during my darkest hours.


If you had looked into the camera, looked at us, and simply said, “I’m sorry,” I and so many others may have taken that first step on the path towards forgiving, believing and supporting you once again.

It’s unfortunate that you did not take the opportunity to make connection with all of us who supported you over the years.  I’m not talking about just your brothers and sisters in survivorship, but all the others who wore yellow, cyclists of all levels who cheered you through the Tours, your family, your friends and so many others whose names one would recognize.  All you had to do was look into the camera and talk to us.

The most unfortunate aspect of this entire mess is that it appears you still just don’t “get it.”  What saddens me even more is the possibility that you have not learned to open yourself to feel true empathy, respect, compassion and, yes, even unconditional love, for others – and to be open to receiving the same.

My hope for you is that this process may take you to a place where you will be able to do this. My hope is that you will emerge from this ordeal not completely broken in spirit, but with a cleansing that takes you to your knees and a return to that place where your heart’s vision sees what  is truly to be valued.  It’s not the “stuff” in our lives; it’s the people – our friends and family and the love, laughter and respect we share with one another.

Lance, you still have the opportunity to turn your life around and do an enormous amount of good.  I encourage you to take the time to listen to a few, just a few, of the stories of how you inspired others to keep going through the darkness of despair and back into the light of Life.  In doing so, I hope you would realize and be moved by how much help you have already given others when they so needed a reason to keep going one more day.

I am one of those people.

You have been, and still can, be an inspiration to your brothers and sisters in survivorship.  It won’t be easy.  Your credibility is shot.  You have betrayed our trust.  Overall it will not be a pleasant road back and it will be a long one.  You just thought those cobblestones in Belgium were rough.  You haven’t seen anything yet.

If you make the choice to dedicate yourself to doing the work, we’re waiting. 

We’re waiting for you to reach out to us (the cancer community), and to see you reaching out to those you have wronged even more severely.  Show us your defenses have cracked, that you are truly sorry for the pain and chaos you have inflicted and that you are ready to do the work that can change lives, including yours,  for the better.  Come clean without reservation to whatever governing bodies request your attendance.  Take your punishment with grace and humility.

Not everyone will forgive you; however, there will be some of us who will hold out a hand and help you stand tall again.

It’s up to  you.  Are you ready to cowboy up and get to work? 


Betty B.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 9, 2013 - Beginnings Blogfest


Beginnings Blogfest 2013

Reading blogs on my list this morning, I found out about the Beginnings Blogfest which happens today!  Yikes!

Any beginning is fair game, but I think I’ll share with you how I entered the realm of blogging.  This is also a tale of the beginnings of a new life with my beloved Scotsman and how I came to call Scotland my second country.  It is also a tale of self-discovery as a Writer.  So cozy up, and I’ll tell you a story, albeit a wee bit over the length of a typical blog entry.  I apologize for that, but hope you’ll walk with me a while.  Apparently this is what I do; I tell stories.


Back in November 2005, I accompanied my then fiancĂ© (now husband) Dave to his homeland of Scotland.  He had proposed over the phone in April of that year, again in person in June (in Washington, D.C. where we met for the first time, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story)  and was back in the States for a visit in October.  We had started the paperwork process to acquire a FiancĂ© Visa for his immigration to the States, and the plan was for me to travel to Scotland to be with him during the interviews for said visa.  Things were moving along more swiftly in that regard than we had anticipated; therefore, we decided that I would travel back with him instead of waiting and going over on my own.

I had other reasons for making a prolonged trip to Scotland.  I wanted to meet Dave’s two grown sons and hopefully get to know them and they know me.  I wanted to see what makes Dave, Dave . . . his homeland, his culture, his life.  I also wanted to see if I could live in Scotland should, heaven forbid, his visa be denied.

I stayed with Dave at his flat in Dunfermline (near Edinburgh) from November 2005 until our return to the States together in February 2006.

So there I was, about to travel 4000 miles on my first trip abroad after spending just shy of three weeks with this man to whom I was engaged.  Although well-traveled in the USA, I was a virgin at traveling abroad.  “Will my ATM card work there?”  “Yes, darlin’, we even have indoor plumbing and electricity!”  Ha!

My family and friends (as they had done when I announced our engagement) were saying, or at least thinking, “You’re going to do what??”  Needless to say, I know they had concerns even though they had met Dave during his visit.  “What if things don’t work out?” they might ask.  “Well, I have a return ticket.  I’ll just change the date and come home.  I’m a big girl.”

(Many months later after we had returned to the States, I learned from my aunt that during a farewell hug at the airport, Dave whispered in her ear, “Don’t worry.  I’ll take care of her.”)

Taking a leave of absence from my job as a home-based medical transcriptionist, for the first time in my adult life I was not working.  Dave resumed his work routine as a pipefitter for the Royal Navy at the Rosyth Dockyard.  Although we took long-weekend trips around Scotland to Loch Ness, Glencoe in The Highlands and other amazing places, I had time on my hands to do as I pleased.  I kept up the house, laundry and marketing.  (It’s amazing how many groceries you can put in a backpack!)  I hopped a double-decker bus and went “up town” into Dunfermline and prowled shops, the library, the Glen (a park) and just soaked up the atmosphere by walking, walking, walking.  I took thousands of photographs with a new camera purchased for this adventure.

There were many hours, however, when I was cozied up in Dave’s flat (condo) with time on my hands.  For the first time, I could allow my creativity to emerge, and I met my Muse. 

What better way to let family and friends know that I was okay and to share my experiences than to blog?  Not only could I  share my thoughts, feelings, photographs and experiences at the time, but would have a record of this adventure for myself in days and years to come.

So I set up a blog on MSN Spaces and began documenting my Scotland experience.  That site no longer exists, but I did migrate it to Wordpress prior to the demise of the MSN blog hosting venue.  I maintained that blog until we began transitioning to our lives as full-time RVers, at which time I began Phoenix Once Again

The text of my Scotland blog is still available at Journeys Through Scotland and Beyond, sans the photos that were part of the original site.  My Scotland chronicles begin in November 2005.

Free of job and many everyday responsibilities, I was essentially on a three-month vacation or, as it turns out, somewhat of a writer’s retreat.  I discovered the joy and release of putting my internal thoughts and emotions into an external form and sharing that with others. 

I became a Writer, although I really did not acknowledge that at the time. 


Thank you for taking the time to listen to my tale.  I have a dream of putting together a compilation of such stories of self-discovery, lessons and insights gained from Life as a Reiki Master/Teacher, a two-time cancer survivor, full-time RVer and survivor of Life.  This project is currently in development; however, if you found pleasure or interest in the above tale and would like to hear more, I sure could use your encouragement with my WIP (work in progress). 



I am a Warrior.

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max creation.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 2, 2013 - Insecure Writer’s Support Group



This entry is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Isn’t there an old saying that whatever you do on the first day of the year is what you will be doing the rest of the year?  If so, I’ve made a decent beginning of it, as my activities have been varied today and have included some writing.

It is not yet midnight, I wrote a letter to an old friend and this is my second blog post of the evening.  I also had a short talk with my hubby about my want and need to spend more time devoted to writing this year.  That means me spending some “weird time alone,” as we call it. 

When I get in the writing groove, I’m just “gone.”  Music in my ear buds, I am sequestered in my own wee world, oblivious to all else. 

Let’s face it, I lost six months of WIP-related productivity in 2012 due to a cancer diagnosis and related treatment followed by a visit from a hurricane named Sandy. 

I did, however, come up with a format and have an outline just about done.  In December I spent a few bucks on a basic, no-frills netbook which is devoted to this project.  Right now I’m curled up on the daybed, dog at my feet and netbook running off its battery.  Cool beans!

Now I just have to write the book, take these chapters and pages in my head and transform them into an organized form – gosh, I was about to say, “on paper,” – on disk? on stick?  on screen?  Whatever.

Do I still believe I have things to say folks will want to hear?  I don’t know.  I have had some doubts the last couple of months; however, if no one does, at least I will have told the tale for my own sake.

Isn’t that part of the reason we write?  Because we have stories in us which we need to set free?

Happy writing, ya’ll!

Thanks for stopping by!

Warrior bracelet

I am a Warrior.

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max creation.