I’m Feeling a Little…

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Okay, a) lookit my cute boy!

b) I’m feeling a little Sporty Spice in this outfit

c) A little spunky

d) A little…NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER-Y!!!! Yup. Got my scan results back and finally heard the words “no evidence of cancer,” which is what you want to hear at this point. That’s not the same as “cancer free,” they can’t say that yet. Once you’ve gone five years with no evidence of cancer THEN they can declare you cancer free.

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So, yeah. Good news. Funny thing though, I don’t feel like I’m as excited about the news as other people! Honestly, I never felt that this cancer at this time was going to be the end of me. Not in a “I’m such a positive person” way, just in a “in my bones” way. Like when I knew I was going to have a girl when I was pregnant with my daughter. I just KNEW.

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So, the chemo stuff hasn’t worked its way out of my system yet, my blood cell counts are still low so I still don’t have much energy and they have me going back weekly to monitor my bloodwork…but I’M ON WAY TO FEELING BETTER. And I don’t have to have anymore *(*%&(*!! treatments, YAY.

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So Caleb and I are getting out a little more.

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The one-eyed kitty was distracting him.

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And perfect for a little stroll around the neighborhood is this Junarose dress from Alexis Krase at plusBKLYN. I love pairing the blue tie-died dress with the grey thermal knit cardi from Avenue and sneakers.

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Thanks everyone for all your thoughts, prayers and good wishes throughout this year – I appreciate every one of you. And now I just want life to go back to NORMAL!!!

Pictures by my friend Karen.

Til next time….

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Well, THIS happened…

So… I apologize for my diversion from fashion and plus-size life posts, but this is what’s in the forefront of my life, time, head and heart these days. Last week I posted about the anger and heartbreak of starting to lose my hair. This weekend it *really* started to come out fast. In the shower it would just all mat up into a solid bird’s nest around my head. Trying to untangle it just made giant clumps come out. THAT was an emotional day and many tears were shed over the sinkful of hair. So I went ahead and scheduled a head shaving at a salon in my new town.

What was left before I went. Not much in the front, some length still in the back. Sort of a Friar Tuck look. Not really good.

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And here we go. Morgan the stylist was so sweet and gentle and patient with my papparazzi 🙂 taking tons of pictures. She started with a #1 blade and finished up with a 0 (zero).

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It was WEIRD. It is still WEIRD. But this was the worst part…and it will just get better from here.

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Friends came with me for support (thanks, guys!) and brought me scarves and hats and Fireball 🙂

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Getting there. I had moments of trembling and sadness, but mostly I was okay. I knew this would be better than the blotchy hair loss of the past few days, with hair coming out in the shower every day and on my pillow every night. I’ve been wearing scarves on my head each day to cover up and I was so afraid of them slipping off and revealing my monstrous looking head.

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I *really* hope I don’t also lose my eyebrows. They’re naturally a little sparse but they’re generally not visible under my bangs, which I usually like hanging in my eyes a little bit. No hiding anything now!

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Almost done. Heads are weird.

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Afterwards, a rinse and scalp massage while sitting in a lovely massage chair!

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Bye-bye, hair. See you again soon. I hear such different accounts of how people’s hair grows back after chemo. Sometimes totally silvery grey, sometimes the color of their youth, sometimes curly, sometimes soft. I guess it will be a surprise.

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All done! In my mind I sort of thought I’d end up smooth-headed but it’s actually very stubbly. Apparently if I want a smooth dome I need to shave with a hand-held razor and shaving cream. Not sure I’m up to that…but the stubble is a little annoying as it catches on scarves and feels weird when I move my head on my pillow. But I’ll give it a few days to see if I adjust. I guess I could go to a barber and have them clean shave me…or the hair might continue falling out. I’ve got three more treatments.

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Part of the gang, minus my two photographers. POSH salon in Northport was lovely. They do free head shaving for cancer patients and Morgan was so nice and made it all as pleasant as it could be.

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And I decided to walk out into the world with my bare head. I felt like no one knows me there yet so seeing me sans hair would not be a shock, plus I don’t know them either, so who cares what they think.

We crossed the street for ice cream then went to look at the new house and apartment which is less than half a mile from this nice main street. I did try on my hat gift for ice cream.

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Thank you to my dear friends for coming with me and hugging me and taking pictures, thank you Morgan and Posh for making a not-so-pleasant event as painless and pleasant as possible, thank you Universe for keeping me around 🙂

Don’t worry, I have more fun content planned for the weeks ahead!

Thanks, followers & friends, for sticking with me through this,

Bettye xoxo

OH! I am trying to be part of a link-up from fakefabulous.com – I’m a spazz at this stuff so I may not be doing it right, but I’m giving it a go!

This is the description of the Fake It Until You Make It link-up:
This link up is for anyone (of any age) to share their fabulous blog posts.
The main aim of the game is to share those posts that will help us all to fake our own fabulousness.
Whether it’s outfit inspiration, and style tips.
Beauty secrets.
Homemaking hacks.
Cooking tit-bits.
Parenting know-how.
Or, general life-enhancing wisdom.

It’s Not All Good

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So. I have to talk about The Cancer today. Through most of this time I think I’ve been pretty good at keeping my Game Face on. I am not by nature a perky, positive person. I consider myself more of a realist and prefer to face *all* things, good and bad, and not pretend bad things don’t exist. But I *have* really tried to find the good in the situation…to find some beauty along the way…small joys, blah blah blah.

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But yesterday I hit a brick wall. With all the rashes and diarrhea and queasiness and infections and sores and exhaustion and other joys that I have mostly kept to myself…the thing that I’m having the hardest time with is…losing my hair. I knew it was going to happen. I knew the particular chemo drugs I’m getting have that as a side effect. But I still hoped I would somehow escape it.

Nope.

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You know how a little hair always comes out in the shower? That’s normal. But yesterday…it just wouldn’t stop coming out. Big clumps and handfuls. And tears. Then when I tried brushing it out…it wouldn’t stop coming out. My brush was full of hair, my hands were full of hair…if I touched hair, it was coming out. I finally just wrangled it all into a messy bun and called it a day.

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I don’t know if it’s really noticeable yet because pulling hair back into a bun is sort of like a glorified combover (ha ha) but I’m sure in bright light it’s visible. And is only going to get worse.

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I’m afraid to take a shower this morning because so much more is going to come out. I’ll just wash my bangs in the sink. And hope for the best.

So I’m seriously stressing out about what I’m going to put on my head. I KNOW there are 12,000,000 options…but I don’t really see anything that looks like ME to me. I don’t feel sick, I don’t want to LOOK sick. I don’t want to look like someone ELSE. I’m not a hat person EVER – not in the winter to keep warm and not in the summer to shade my face…so this concept of having to put something on my head in the morning and leave it on All Day Long – at work, shopping, etc, just feels so awkward and foreign to me and I DON’T LIKE IT. I DON’T WANNA. WHAAAA.

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There. This is my time I’m allowed to be mad and sad and bitchy and complainy. I’M ALLOWED. I don’t want anyone trying to cheer me up, cuz you CAN’T. No one’s words can change the way I’m feeling. I’m terrified and angry. And I’m just gonna roll around in that for awhile.

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So, now that I’ve alienated half of you (ha ha), I can proceed with my outfit. I LOVE this dress. It’s by Rachel Roy via Gwynnie Bee. It’s dark dark grey and feels like velvety slinky silk. And it has this cool drapey effect on the front that hides EVERYTHING. It’s light and flowy. It’s EASY. Which is exactly what I needed yesterday.

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And we found the perfect location to shoot – this abandoned movie theater. Crumbly and littered…and yet even it had a little spot of wild flowers still growing. Even when I only WANT to focus on the ugly, I find some beauty. Damn it! Ha.

Weeks in Review: 68-74

Week by week it doesn’t feel like I do much…in fact, I’m doing a whole lot of Not Much. But when I looked back at the past 6 weeks since I last posted a Week in Review…yeah, there’s some stuff. So I’ll share.

I finished radiation. 28 treatments. That really felt like an accomplishment. I hope to never be back for more.

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I got my appetite back.

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I was so sure this baseball tee dress was going to be a win. But it wasn’t. I thought it would be cottony but it was more polyestery. And too long.

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This floral silk Lucky Brand top from Gwynnie Bee was a win.

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Nope.

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Got my blood clot filter taken out.

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I left on a jet plane. I did come back again.

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Florida! I stayed overnight with my daughter in her cute Tampa apartment.

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Cool bathroom where we had brunch.

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Katie found Tommy.

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I found the ocean. I floated and bobbed for hours. A manatee swam right past us!

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There was a beautiful sunset every night.

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My fambly ❤

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My grand-niece Annabelle is the sweetest.

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My boy was happy I finally came home.

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I got a present!

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And started real chemo.

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Meet Bruce: IV site gone wrong. One of several unpleasant issues. 9 days out from Treatment #1 I’m back to feeling almost normal. Just tired.

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Caleb got some new meds and feels good.

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Janey had a bath.

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And today I will be…PACKING…because my exciting news is I’M MOVING!!! More details and pictures to come….

Week in Review: Week 59

It is a sunny but still windy and cool day here on Long Island. I have a day filled with running errands, cleaning out my disgusting car, taking the dog (and me) somewhere for a walk and change of scenery, then a quiet evening with a movie and early to bed. The best news this week, I doubt I’ve ever mentioned my ^&%#! insomnia here, but it’s been EVEN worse since the surgery – as though things have shifted around and when I lay down something presses on my bladder and makes the worst ache if I do not wake up immediately to get up and pee. And getting in and out of bed is still enough of a process that it wakes me up even more, UGH. But the GOOD NEWS part is that just two nights ago I was actually able to lay for a little bit on my side again! I’m a side sleeper, but I’ve only been able to be on my back since the surgery 3½ weeks ago, so WHAT a relief to finally have a little bit of normalcy and comfort. In Medical-Land, so many things seem to take so much longer to return to normal than you think they should. So Yay.

I went back to work this week for a full week. My wonderful officemates Tori and Jen had decorated my desk with balloons and banners and there was a little “nest” of goodies on my desk – they are just the sweetest. I’m so fortunate to get to spend my work days with them.

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While I’m not feeling especially energetic, I’m powering through and trying to walk every other day. My baby step regimen is:

Week 1: Walk 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back for a total of 10 minutes

Week 2: Walk 6 minutes out and 6 minutes back for a total of 12 minutes

Week 3: Walk 7 minutes out and 7 minutes back for a total of 14 minutes

You get the picture. Monday will start Week 3. I’m very slowly working up to walks of 20 then 30 minutes. I may back-slide during chemo, I’ll just have to wait and see how I feel then. But at least it’s a schedule that I’m adhering to. And I am walking S-L-O-O-O-W. My heel still hurts and that keeps me slowed down as well. Caleb likes the walks when we’re somewhere he can be offlead and sniff around at his leisure. In his old age he’s gone pretty deaf so I can’t let him offlead when we’re anywhere near anything, like a road or people or other dogs, cuz he just doesn’t hear me calling him. And I think there’s a little senility as he just sort of wanders off and then loses track of where I am. Because it doesn’t seem to occur to him to turn his head to the right or left to look for me. It’s sad to watch someone you love get old.

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A dear friend did this cross-stitch for me, “What Cancer Cannot Do.” That was a lovely surprise to get in the mail this week.

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Caleb: Master of His Domain. He needs a good bath and haircut. But he loves the big tuffet that his Uncle Russell got for him.

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And just to keep this at least a LITTLE fashiony…here is a try-on of an outfit I ordered from Old Navy…that sadly will be going back. Old Navy plus size sizing is so all-over-the-place. Sometimes things are ginormous on me and sometimes they’re way too snug. These are really soft rayon blush cropped pants in a 3x and I couldn’t even zip them up. Part of that could be a little vestigial swelling still left around my abdomen and hips, though they’re feeling pretty normal again. And the top was also snug around the same area, while too loose in the bust. I’m really short on warm weather outfits and the flurry of ordering and returning continues until I hit on a couple wins.

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My niece sent me this book by Sarah Addison Allen – has anyone read it?

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This is a pic my daughter just sent me from while she was here and walked down a bit of beach to see the sunset. It’s just a nice memory of being with her and being OUTSIDE after being cooped up in the hospital for so long.

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So, in other news, I have had both the radiation and chemo consults with my “original” team – the doctors associated with my surgeon’s office. On Monday I have a consult scheduled with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to see what, if anything, they would do differently…and then I have to make the decision of who to go with so we can get this show on the road. It’s hard to make the decision because I can already see that I will not necessarily be comparing apples to apples. So wish me luck!

And Great News – I’m actually doing a photoshoot tomorrow! Yippee. Will feel good to be “blog productive” again. So you can look forward to a springy outfit post later this week.

Thanks for all your comments, emails, and kind words – I really appreciate them.

Weeks in Review: 54-58

Yeah, one of these days I’ll get back on track with regular weekly Week in Reviews. This year continues to just be Crazytown. I can’t believe it is April 1…and yet it is. February and March are dead to me. But let’s get caught up and hope for a better week!

I spent 15 days in the hospital between February & March. This was surreal and not so much fun…

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Except for…gifties and flowers and balloons and visits…

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…and a daughter who snuck in special treats…

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so we could have a little St. Patrick’s Day fun.

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When I was FINALLY released I discovered she (daughter) had gotten me a nice new bed set…what a pleasure to sleep in after the scratchy hospital sheets.

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I had some packages waiting at home for me – things I’d ordered before all this nonsense began. I’d been excited for this cute grey and white striped tee dress from Lane Bryant but it was kind of gigundo and I’ve returned it. Still on the lookout for soft comfy clothes for spring and summer.

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As soon as I was up to a little outing we drove to a nearby beach for a short sunset stroll. I’d missed seeing this.

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Janey has been thoroughly enjoying my surgery recovery time. For many days in a row I was just horizontal on the sofa from morning til night. Having sofa company pleased her no end.

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I had some more unpleasant news from the doctor this past week when they got the pathology report from my surgery. In a nutshell, they did *not* get all the cancer out with the hysterectomy. I have now been diagnosed with Stage 3 Uterine cancer and they’re recommending radiation and then chemotherapy. I’m getting a second opinion but I’m not expecting to hear anything radically different from the original recommendation. This doesn’t feel like my life. And yet….

Work sent me these flowers that day. And yes, Work Family, I COULD use a drink.

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The doctor cleared me for work and driving so I went and got a haircut. I went to a nutritionist to hear about things to eat and/or avoid during chemo.

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And yesterday I had the nicest day I’ve had in ages…just being NORMAL…a wonderful friend picked me up for a drive to the ocean…and in spite of the wind and rain, it was just so nice to be out of the apartment, not doing anything health related. I really value a day like that.

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So. I go back to work Monday. I think I worked 9 days in February (between snow days, the Maine adventure, winter break and being in the hospital) and like 2 days in March. I’ll have a couple normalish weeks now and then I start my treatments. So I’ll be here when I can. I miss the blog. I miss planning outfit posts. But against my will (ha) other things are pushing their way to the top of the list.

Hope you all have a great week.

PS – I just realized it’s April Fool’s Day. I wish this post was an April Fool’s joke…but it’s not.

xoxo Bettye

You Deserve the Very Best…

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I look at these pictures taken 3 weeks ago and it seems like a lifetime ago. All I see when I look at them is TIRED. A TIRED woman. And I *was* tired. I’d been tired for some time, but always attributed it to my weight or my age or just generally being out of shape. And I pushed through…because that’s what you do. It’s what we all do. We just keep going, pushing ourselves, til we can’t go no mo.

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It was the day after this shoot that I ended up in the Emergency Room and the next day admitted to the hospital. For five days. And then another 10 days the very next week. The cancer diagnosis really surprised me. “I’m just tired.” Now I’m tired from the surgery – a hysterectomy 6 days ago. Still waiting on the pathology from the surgery but I’m counting on it being positive. In the meantime I’m recovering. I’m back at home, my daughter is here helping me. Life doesn’t feel normal again yet, but it will.

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My body doesn’t feel normal yet, either. When I look down, my stomach seems like it shifted lower. Like I used to feel pregnant w a basketball right under my boobs…and now the basketball has dropped. So the biggest part of my stomach is in a new place. And that feels weird. I didn’t expect that. I have to get used to my body again.

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I’ve started walking. BABY baby steps. 5 minutes out then five minutes back. That’s all I can do just yet. But I’ll feel stronger as I heal from the surgery and eventually I’ll be able to walk 10 minutes out and back. And maybe my body will change a little more. Because I’m tired of my body making me feel tired. This isn’t me hating on my body. This is me LOVING on me and my body and wanting both of us to FEEL BETTER. We deserve that, my body and I.

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We deserve the very best.

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What I’m Wearing:

Looking Forward…And Gratitude


A little different kind of post today. Again, it’s just “here’s what I did this week.” 

I was diagnosed with uterine cancer (not really a soft way to say something like that). There are some little (figurative) side bumps but overall I am told that if you have to have cancer, uterine is a good one to have. Theoretically, this afternoon’s total hysterectomy will remove all the cancer and I’ll be good as new – better even cuz No More Bleeding. But…they’ll have a better picture of everything once they open me up. 

I’ve spent 11 days in the hospital now between my two visits…and I have to tell you, your world can get Very Small Very Fast. In here you lose so much control. There’s no privacy, you live eat sleep (and shower!) on THEIR schedule. So I’m so so grateful for family friends and coworkers who reach out to me daily, who visit and bring distracting gifts and snacks and stories from “the outside.” I’m grateful to my ex and his family for taking care of Caleb all this time. I’m grateful to my daughter who is flying home to take care of me when I get out of the hospital. I’m grateful to my work for being so adamant that I take care of myself even though this was the worst possible time for me to not be there.

I’m grateful for kind nurses who dig thru linens to find me a soft gown, or who apologize when sticking me for blood One More Time. I’m grateful to have a window beside me. 

I’m grateful to have the “good” cancer and to have a dr with all kinds of fancy titles and experience and recommendations.

I’m grateful to have people who love me. 

And I am looking forward to going HOME soon…and feeling the air and sleeping in my own bed with the lights out…and to leaving this bizarro winter behind me and moving into the rebirth of spring and new life. 

I’m feeling a little adventurous…like I want to sew flowers all over a dress…or just wear something a little crazy! You’ll just have to keep reading to see what I’m going to do next.

Thanks for hanging around in my absence, friends. 

xoxo Bettye