Monthly Archives: April 2015

Arrived in Sydney

The flight from San Fran to Sydney was uneventful.  The #1 recommendation from everyone I spoke to about a long flight was to stay hydrated. I have to say it was great advice and per instruction, I took a personal water bottle and filled it before I got onto the plane and had the staff fill it for me a few times throughout the flight.  

It is a strange thing to leave in the dark of night and stay under that blanket for the next fifteen hours as we raced toward our destination keeping hidden from any sun until we were approaching landing in Sydney.


It did make for easy sleeping as they kept the cabin lights off for nearly the entire journey and when I would awake and look out my window for possible bearings, the only light to be seen was the flash on the tip of the wing.

There was a vacant seat between me and the gal in the aisle seat so there was room to spread out a bit.  I ended up sleeping way more than I thought I would and arrived more refreshed than I could have hoped – save for my knees hurting for being bent for too long.

I managed to get a customs clerk with a dry sense of humor and soon there was loud laughter coming from our station which drew the familiar stares of folks wanting to know why we were having fun and they were not.  I guess guffawing at 6:30 am in customs is not the norm.

Wilma walked right by me when she came to pick me up.  I suppose I should have mentioned that my hair has grown.

Wilma lives in a suburb of Sydney inhabited with a large Vietnamese population.  As such, there are many acclaimed pho and small shops to eat all kinds of wares within walking distance.   A bonus if I stay home one day by myself.

I freshened and we headed into another part of town to the children’s hospital where Wilma’s daughter had a series of specialist appointments.  I roamed the halls checking out artwork and photos noticing that sometimes people seemed to be giving me perturbed looks. 


It wasn’t until walking with Wilma    from the parking garage down the ramp-ways after lunch that I realized that it was expected that you walk on the left and not on the right as we do and that is why people in the hallways were giving me the looks.

There was a bank within walking distance so after lunch I headed off alone to locate it and get some Australian cash.  Next big lesson on a busy street is to remember to look right first and then to the left as the traffic nearest you is coming from the right side. Nearly getting run over will drill that one in your head pretty fast.

There are so many species of trees that I have never seen that a simple walk down the street has me grabbing at leaves, needles, berries and pods to feel the textures and see if they have fragrant oils about them.  Wilma says that they have many many different types of eucalyptus trees similar to how we have a plethora of pine varieties.


Now I really can’t wait to go to the botanical gardens.

Love Betty 

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree…Part One

04/29/15 Guest Post from Bethkookaburra

I became profoundly aware that Betty has wicked research skills as she walked me around the island last year pointing out unique and interesting things that even residents didn’t know. However, I believe it would be remiss of me not to share with Betty the 52 years of knowledge that I have accumulated about Australia prior to her departure. The fact that I have both a daughter AND a dog named Sydney uniquely qualify me for this task, and I hope that Betty will find the depth of my knowledge of benefit as she travels down under.


  • Should you encounter a Water Buffalo along the obstacle course, take these simple steps: Look the beast in the eye while humming deep in your throat like a chanting monk. Reach out with the hand-sign of the Texas Longhorns toward the buffalo’s forehead. This will subdue the beast into slumber, and you can continue the course without incident. (The classic “Rock and Roll” hand-sign will also work in a pinch.)


  • Kookaburras sit in gum trees. They fancy themselves royalty, and laugh a lot. Kookaburras are gay.


  • If you should find yourself glowing at any point during your trip, do not be alarmed. It is typical in the land down under for women to glow, and men plunder.


  • If you should find time to refresh yourself along the banks of a large river while wearing a one-piece body thong, remember to remove your canteen! Crocodiles are forever snatching canteens from about sexy women’s necks!


  • Occasionally, a man may smile and give you a Vegemite sandwich. I highly recommend that you eat it.


  • Dingos eat babies.


To be continued….

woman on croc

Last Minute things to do and first flight

04/28/15all my bags packed

I awoke this morning and  said a little prayer that I would be guided to remember what was needed throughout the day.

The bags are packed, but all of a sudden I start thinking of the little things that should probably be checked, done, or calls made before I go.

There are the checks that need to be mailed – I know, no one mails a check these days, but that rent check for the kid in Ohio still has to go out.

Not wanting to leave anything in the fridge at work that would be left to grow for two weeks, I heated up the ham and bean soup that I still had in there.  That is when the celestial guidance kicked in and reminded me that maybe that wasn’t the wise choice to have on the same day that I would be spending 18 hours in an enclosed space.

I might have made a page in a 4-H manual though.  I gave it to my boss to eat.  I should be leaving before that makes it through his system.

4-h air quality booklet

I set Beth’s guest blog to post the night of 04/29 since I will still be on the plane.  I won’t be able to put the link on my Facebook page, so a couple of you might need to do that so it gets distributed.

Someone please check on Karen P.  as her comments in the blog yesterday suggests she might have had a stroke or needs someone to guide her through her channeling of Sven and Olga, or it’s just a cry for help.  We’ll have a Mom’s night when I get back to really make fun of that one.

Wilma phoned me this morning warning me for the nth time to not bring any food into the country with me.  What’s a bag of jerky? Fine, Fine, I will leave any uneaten snacks or portions thereof on the plane.  It’s not like it won’t be cleaned and still be in the country for Pete’s sake.      

I’ve made it to my gate in plenty of time. Barney and Bam Bam drove me here and came in for one more meal together.  It was adequate–nothing to blog about.

Say prayers and keep good thoughts for pleasant plane rides.

Wilma, see you soon!

Okay. Adding a bit from the first flight: just because I can.


 The flight to San Francisco gets off quickly.  I love the feel of the jet engines as they roar into full power and you feel the G forces as if to leave the last remnants of where your leaving behind and forces you to feel the propelled momentum of the destination your suddenly hurling towards. 

I don’t think that I have flown westward in almost eighteen years. We went to San Diego over Barney’s 40th birthday.  Of course I completely forgot it was his birthday until we returned – but that is just a chapter in a whole book of stories where I mess up a birthday.  We’ll save those for another time.

I am totally engrossed in the landscape below me – window seat- as the plains give way to the mountains with still fresh snow.  We get to the Divide and the setting sun is lighting the majestic peaks that are so rugged and glorious right there that I nearly get teary eyed at the shear beauty of them.

I try to figure out the landscape as we fly over mountain ranges and bodies of water and can guess a few times where it is that I’m viewing but am never quite sure.

I have resolved that I am to stay awake on this flight so that my body is more willing to succumb to  sleeping on the long leg to Sydney.  I start the audio book that the library sent to me just before I left.

My seat is just behind the wing and so the drone of the engines is loud.  With the volume turned up and clouds gathering beneath us obscuring my view, I decide to close my eyes so that I may concentrate on just the words of the narrator.

Soon I become aware that there is another voice outside of the deep rich baritone of my reader.  I open my eyes to see the stewardess stopped just a row away with the snack cart.

I straighten up and realize that I have a huge kink in my neck and perchance I  might have missed a few minutes of story.  A quick check of the time and Dang it if an hour hasn’t gone by!

We chase the setting sun all the way to the west coast


Love Betty

Words from Wilma


stepping upSo after some encouragement/indirect pressure from Betty, I am submitting a post. I am not a writer by nature, I tend to get a bit wordy, let’s hope this isn’t one of those times.

The Raw Challenge – wow, it’s almost here, and Betty along with it. I am looking forward to many laughs with Betty, a bit apprehensive about the obstacle course. I initially heard about the course from Jane (you’ve heard about her from Betty), and casually considered joining her team. She assured me that I would be fine with it – guess we’ll see on Saturday. So I signed up, and dropped a status update on FB. Betty became involved, initial to support long distance, then upgraded to full participation in Sydney. Too cool, right? What a pal – now there’s no way I can back out.

But I wouldn’t back out anyway. After all, what’s the worse that could happen? Yes, serious injury is possible, but I’m planning on surviving with maybe a few bumps and bruises. After all, I have a rowing class early Sunday morning.

I think Betty has put a great deal more thought into the challenge, looking at the obstacles, calculating her chances on each one, considering the consequences. I’m more of a don’t think about it too much, just do it kind of gal. That often gets me into a bit of trouble, but it also allows me to have experiences that may have passed me by, if I thought about them.So – Raw Challenge – I will have experienced that by the end of the weekend, as well as fencing, squash and learning to row, plus many others over the past years. I will keep my eyes and ears open, hoping to find another new challenge as I move forward, and I’ll just do it.

Cheers, Betty, wishing you safe and enjoyable travels, I’ll see you at the airport on Thursday – let the laughing begin!


Packing for the changing Seasons


Heading out for the Sunday walk today only served to remind me that I am leaving the season transitioning between winter and summer to go to the one transitioning between summer and winter.

Today started with rain and turned into big and beautiful snow flakes.

New snow

new snow 2







It will be 70 degrees by midweek.

I’m thinking that Sydney won’t be quite as volatile or have the same temperature fluctuation that we have here at elevation, but it is still a changing season and as such makes me wonder how hot or cold to pack for.  From the 10 day forecast it looks to be uppers in the 70’s and lowers in the 50’s and kinda rainy lately.

Currently the Raw Challenge race on Saturday has a 90 percent chance of rain.  Expecting to be coated in mud anyway, so I’ll just consider it a shower between obstacles.

Who knows, on those tall wall climbs, maybe we can feign a middle age girls mud wrestling fight, roll to the other side and pop up like we made it over and onto the next obstacle.

Holy cow.  Being use to googling images for sections of my blog, I made the mistake of checking out the photos that came up for women’s mud wrestling.  Yikes, some things can’t be unseen.

Back to checking the packing lists and bags.  Tomorrow is my last night at home for a while. I did manage to get two audio books on my Iphone. Thanks BA and N of the recommendations.

Oh, and I suppose I could do the squats, planks and hang on the pull up bar for a bit.

Love Betty








Mary wrote some very kind words about me on a post the other day.  Some of it is very true. I did introduce myself to her the when our children were in kindergarten.   My thought was to get to know a mom more my age since most of the others standing out there were probably in kindergarten when I graduated from high school.  Purely a strategic move that has paid off in spades.

It was in first grade that the boys started Cub Scouts and we went to the “join” meeting and were put into a group of six or seven and told to find a den leader.  It was Mary who stepped up.  The curious thing about our den is that it was the mom’s that brought their boys to scout meetings and events as our husbands couldn’t/didn’t/or whatever. We did have one dad that put up with our gaggle for the entire time and he was a great trooper.

While Mary conducted the meetings with our young lads, the rest of us were getting to know one another in the back of the room.  Mary soon let us know that if we wanted a social time that we should all perhaps get together at a different venue that wasn’t disruptive to the meetings – and that she could join in.

Thus the Mom’s Group was formed.  To this day, we still have the same core group that all started as Cub Scout Moms – with a few additions along the way. We owe Mary for starting our wonderful group.

We started meeting at restaurants for a night out but that didn’t always work out the best. We’ve been asked to leave establishments due to the excessive laughter as we share stories that are personal, embarrassing and when you tell them to your most loved friends, it is realized just how absurd and gut busting funny they are.

pick you up after laughing

Mary got her alter ego name not from replying to my blogs, but from a day skiing in which she rented skis that had the name Mary written on them.  All day long when she would do something daffy, I would say that must be Mary coming out.  It is just one of those things that stuck with us.

Mary is also one of those friends that has a built-in decoder devise that gives her the powers to understand what I am meaning even when it doesn’t correspond to what I am saying.  I can say I’m thinking of a person/band/movie/etc. and with little or incoherent information she can know who or what I am talking about.  On the times that I am so disjointed in my information that she can’t figure out what I am saying or texting, she doesn’t even pause to hound me or give me a ‘what for’, she just moves on and knows we will figure it out eventually.

I am truly blessed for the friends that I have.  Some have been there sharing their lives with me for decades and some are newer, but all are valued.

once in a lifetime friends

Half of any experience is in the sharing of it at the time or later with those who will understand and enjoy the stories.  Thanks to all for sharing this adventure with me through this new medium.

Love Betty



Looking for a good Listen


not as plannedAfter posting Mary’s guest post last night I had full intention of posting my response to it today.  After a not so good day, I have opted to give it another day so that I approach it with a better mood and mindset.  The generosity of her post deserves a reply set from the same attitude.

Instead I am taking my thoughts from the days events to thinking of transporting my mind while the rest of me is transporting on a 15 hour flight.  I’m looking into what audio books are available to download from our library that I can just put my headphones on and close my eyes and listen away the hours.



I’m sure there will be movies on the plane, but I was reminded recently that a really great narrative read aloud is a wonderful thing and I’m out to find a few to download.

If you have any suggestions please pass them along.

Love betty


Thoughts from Mary

I remember the first time I met Betty like it was yesterday, when in fact it was about 15 years ago.  It was outside our sons' elementary school when we were picking them up from Kindergarten.  Betty came right over to me and introduced herself.  

I must admit, I was taken aback because that was something I would never have done and wasn't expecting.  But, that's the way Betty is.  I don't think she's "ever met a stranger" as my grandma would've said. 

Now, don't get me wrong, Betty doesn't like everyone she meets but she's so open to meeting people that I believe her life, and mine by knowing her, is better for it.  

If Betty had never introduced herself, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to take fencing lessons, laugh the whole time I was skiing (yes, the whole mountain heard us), or take part in a sweat lodge.  I wouldn't have had the opportunity to know the people I have met through Betty.  

Betty doesn't have a best friend -- she has best friends!  Her generosity of spirit and wanting to know people is what draws us all to her.  I have no doubt she will have a great adventure in Australia and come back with many stories of people she met over there.  And I know she'll make new friends in Australia which will give her (and the rest of us) more adventures in the future.  I'm hoping I can get in on the next one.  

Thanks Betty for your friendship, your laughter, and your love.
I love you and wish you safe travels,

Doing the Math


raw challenge days remaining


Nine days to the challenge!

I slept horribly last night and so when it was time to get up and I had just gotten back to sleep, there was no chance of me getting up and working out this morning.

awake in someone else's dream

I had to drive Barney from the auto repair back to his office at lunch, so no time to walk or do extra exercises then.  Okay, if I hadn’t gone to the plant nursery across from Barney’s office to make my list of tomatoes and flowers that I want him to pickup for me I might have had some time, but it hadn’t been the best of days at work and something about planning the gardens seems to set the world right.

I left work almost on time – sometimes getting out the door takes and hour or so by the time I get the day’s loose ends all caught up.  On the way home I resolved myself to the thought that today is the day I see if I can actually run a 5K.  I talk to myself and say that it is a good day to try.

The closer I get to home, the more dark the skies become and it is starting to rain a bit.  I’m still resolved to try until I get almost home and realize that hey, there are 20 or so obstacles on this 5k course.  I don’t have to run 3 miles, I just might have to jog in between the obstacles!

Suddenly since it is raining (sure it’s only sprinkling, but it’s all perception), it is way easier to think about calculating the distance I might need to run between obstacles than how far I can run all at once.

BamBam is home and wants something to eat before he goes to youth group so I send him out with the dogs instead of me and make him something to chow on before he leaves.

My friend Trixie came over and had dinner with us and it was then that I remembered that I was wanting to figure out the distance between the obstacles.  Turns out I only need to run about 264 yards between each obstacle if evenly spaced.  I can do that.  I’m not giving up on training and all, but lets be realistic.

I’m thinking I will take a Dramamine tonight to see if it makes me drowsy and how I sleep as it has been recommended for the flight. Not having taken it before, I want to test it before being stuck on a plane and finding out it has an opposite effect or make me sing Broadway tunes in my sleep or something.

Wilma sent me a photo of gumboots – wellies I think they call them down under.  I hope that was a joke.

Love Betty


Thinking of someone to find out they have been thinking of you


Today I called an old friend from back home that I have been thinking of this week.  As happens many times with us, she was also thinking of me this week.  It was good that I called.

I guess I haven’t spoken to her in longer than I had thought as there was much to catch up on.

I didn’t meet her until I was in high school.  She was a city girl who had been living with her Dad and siblings in the city but got a little too ornery and was banished to live in the country with her Mom who had married our widowed neighbor.  Neighbor on our street was about a 1/4 mile away.

She joined the country crew of her new family that had two boys and a girl, but she was older than the others – and wilder – so she wasn’t much for hanging out with her new found family.  Instead she opted to come to the farm quite often and hang with me mostly. (we can all admit to a crush she had on my brother though)

The thing about hanging out on the farm is that if there is something that needed to be done and you were there, you were expected to help out.

She was a trooper and a little intimidated by my Dad so she would attempt anything we asked of her. Problem was, she didn’t have the vocabulary of farm knowledge to know what we were talking about sometimes.

I remember telling her to go up in the haymow and throw down 4 slices of hay for the calves.  After a few minutes of seeing no hay coming down, I climbed the ladder to see her standing in front of a bale of hay just looking at it.  I’m sure I asked what she was waiting on to which she replied “I don’t know how to slice hay!”   Of course in instances such as that, she received only laughter in response to her lack of knowledge.  It still makes me giggle just thinking of it.


At any age, we didn’t attract alot of friends who wanted to spend time at the farm – that ‘you have to work if your here’ thing kinda puts a damper on people coming over too much.  She definitely spent the most time at the farm with our family of anyone I can remember.

As we were catching up on my drive home, the conversation came around to my current adventure.  I let her know there was a blog involved and said when I got home I would send a link.  I told her that my Raw Challenge friend and I were Wilma and Betty and she was somewhere between surprised and not.  Turns out as  she informed me that she and her sister are Wilma and Betty in their alter egos. She is also the Betty character.

I sent the link and the site views started clicking away showing that she was indeed going through the pages.  I messaged her that it wasn’t recommended to read all the posts in one sitting as it hasn’t been tested and could cause mental damage!  Read on she did anyway.  She loved the one about the Robin’s Return and Mom as she had heard that one while her time at the farm.

The actual messages were:

“I love it! All of them. I like the memories of your mom…and when you reflect on your past and bring that into your present.
 It’s really good.
 It makes me miss you..”
What a great statement to hear.  It affirms that my personal tone is actually coming through and still recognizable to someone from my youth.
I haven't changed

KB, It was great to catch up with you and  since you have read the blogs, you know that I write about what is on my mind at the time of the post and tonight you’re it.  Lets plan on you coming out this summer.

Wilma, keep sending me what I need to pack.  My co-worker checked the weather and it looks like rain is in the  forecast for a while still.  No problem.  What is a mud challenge without the mud?

To my guest Bloggers who have already sent in your submissions, I will definitely post them sometime soon in between some of my own.  Thank you and keep them coming if you feel obliged.

Love Betty