I hope you enjoy my blog...if you do, please "follow" me! XOXOXO...BettyShmetty

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another day "On the Job"

I am so lucky!  I get to go out a couple times a month and play police officer...for real.  (Yes, I have a gun and a badge!)  I don't get paid to do this, I am a volunteer.  In exchange for the time I put in every month, the department trains me and helps me maintain my police certification through the State of Florida.  I would say there are probably many people who don't like or enjoy the profession they are in...I am fortunate...I have two careers, decorator and police officer.  I sincerely enjoy both of them.

I love the days I go out on patrol!  It is so great to interact with people in different situations.  I enjoy hanging out with my fellow officers and feel like I am still a part of something really important.  Because I am a volunteer, I get to choose the days I come in and who I ride with for the most part.  Who wouldn't love all that???


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Training day...

Today was one of my police days.  As most of you that know me are aware, I volunteer 16 hours every month at the police department in order to keep my police certification.  I was a police officer before I was a decorator...I started in law enforcement back in 1983.  Anyway, even though I don't make a living at it anymore, I still do it a couple of times a month...play cop :)  Here's a picture...it's from early last year, but you get the idea...

So today was a training day...defensive tactics.  This means I get to refresh myself on how to handcuff bad guys and how to deal with them when things go badly (ie, someone wants to resist arrest.)  I love this kind of stuff.  It's fun to test my limits and also to make sure I know how to handle myself in a situation.  It's also good to be able to show the other officers I work with that even though I am a decorator, I can still mix it up and they can count on me if they need backup.

I was a little afraid of going all-out today because I pulled something in my lower back last week (a by-product of belly dancing lessons, but that's another story...)  I was thinking I should take it easy today, but when I got into the training, I found that I wasn't able to really hold back...it's just too much fun to go for it!  We went over the usual stuff, kicks and palm strikes and handcuffing, but then we also worked on dealing with guys who want to fight you.  For example, guys who do UFC (Ultimate Fight Club training) or mixed marshal arts.  We learned what to look for in order to spot the signs that someone is trained in hand to hand combat and then what to do if they start getting the upper hand in a fight.  Man, was that fun!

I had never heard the term "in the guard."  What this means is that the bad guy is on his back and you (the officer) are in front of them, between their legs, and their ankles are crossed.  You are at a big disadvantage in this position.  Then there is the "closed guard" which means the guard position plus they have your head pulled down to their chest and they are holding you there with their hand over the back of your head and their elbows pulled in.  Kind of hard to picture, but trust me, you don't want to be there!  Anyway, we were learning what to do if this happens...Cool!  Here's a picture of a "closed guard."
Can you see yourself in this position??  It's scary that something like this could happen to a police officer...it's very difficult to get out of because the person on the bottom, the one applying "the guard" has all the leverage using their hips.

So in the afternoon, a couple of the trainers put on "red man" suits.  These are suits that cover most of the body with thick padding so that the people in training can go "all out" and punch and kick as hard as they can in order to make sure they are doing the maneuvers correctly and safely.  Here's a picture of a red man suit...
I really wanted to go one on one with the trainer in the suit, but was a little afraid of the lower back thing.  In the end, I decided to do it.  First, I had to spend 20 seconds doing knee thrusts (knee to groin) with one of the guys holding the pad and then another 20 seconds doing palm-heel strikes.  20 seconds doesn't sound like much, but at the end of doing those two things as hard as I could for the required time, I was a little winded.  Then I had to face the red man suit.

I was told to get in Red Man's closed guard (refer to picture above.)  Once I was in position, the fight was on.  Red Man (being taller than I) had a long torso and of course was stronger than me.  He had me locked in really tight, but I was able to maneuver around and get my head free.  He had me firmly gripped between his legs however, and I fought to get free.  It's weird punching someone with the thick padding because although they can feel the blows, they don't hurt, so they don't stop what they are doing.  I literally had to throw my body forward towards his head while pounding on his chest with my fists locked together in order to start making any progress to move out from his legs.  Once I started throwing myself upwards to his head, he twisted me with his hips and I was able to turn and start punching the side of his thigh repeatedly.  The other officers standing around us were shouting at me to do various other moves like a knee strike to Red Man's groin, but it was impossible to get my knee far enough back from his groin to deliver a sound strike.  I worked and finally was able to get some footing and then kicked my way out, finally breaking free with what felt like the hardest kick I have ever delivered to the side of his chest.  I was able to back away, which was the ultimate goal.

What a rush that was!  I was absolutely exhausted!  I am sure the actual fight only lasted about a minute, but it felt like 10 minutes.  The best part of all of it was just knowing that if I should ever find myself in that position (God forbid!) I will be able to fight my way out of it.  A great boost to my confidence!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I am blessed...

With a great husband...


With two healthy boys...



With a lovely, caring sister...


With a cool little puppy who is finally starting to get the hang of house training...




With a cozy house, some good true friends and lots of things to keep me busy everyday...and love...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's time to let go....

 Of the things I want but can't have...
Of bad habits...
Of negative emotions...
Of the past...


I love this song "Let Go" by Lindsay McCaul

I want to let go, I'm weary and bound,
I'm giving it up, I'm laying it down...
Take it away, out of my hands,
Out of my reach and safe in your plans...

'Cause I need to know, that you can hear me...
Fill me with your peace, yeah, and cover me gently...
Like only you can...

So take me, and hold me, break me and mold me, 
Take me, and hold me, break me and mold me,
I want to let go...

Cradle my hands, knuckles so white,
Open them up, and say it's alright...
Show me a plan, call it your own,
Make it a journey, leading me home...

'Cause I need to know, that you can hear me...
Fill me with your peace, yeah, and cover me gently...
Like only you can...

So take me, and hold me, break me and mold me, 
Take me, and hold me, break me and mold me...
I want to let go.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Little boys...

I came across this picture yesterday...It's my son Jack.

Do you remember being a kid?  Having no worries beyond the need to build a fort?...in a tree?...barefoot?

Monday, March 21, 2011

What color IS your hair anyway?

My hair has been a full spectrum of colors over the years.  It has been brown, black, red, blonde, pink (yes, I said pink...it was the 80's!) and even blue.  What I have almost never been is my "natural" color.  Earlier today, someone complimented my current color (I am enjoying a bombshell blond color at the moment, thank you very much) and when I told her I had just changed it to this color a month ago, she asked, "What color IS your hair anyway?"

Hmmm...that's a good question.

I have an early memory of staring at different hair color options at the supermarket with my mother when I was maybe 12 or 13 years old.  I remember thinking back then that my hair wasn't a very pretty color.  It was very long and the ends were ragged and faded because I was constantly out in the sun...the regular application of "Sun-In" (remember that?) probably didn't help matters.  I always thought of my natural color as being a "mousy brown" whatever that means.  My mother (who always dyed her hair Blue-Black) thought I would look best with auburn hair.  So, I had my first hair color application at the tender age of around 13.  Here's a photo...
(I'm the one with the heavy bangs in the middle.)  I really loved coloring my hair.  I loved how it changed the way my face looked.  I loved how having auburn hair made me feel more grown-up and exotic than the other girls in my parochial school.  I was hooked on the fact that I could so easily alter my appearance for just the cost of a box of hair color!

I played it pretty safe with the colors I used until I was in my early 20's in the 80's...When I think back to it, it seems crazy, but AT the time, I thought I was hot-shit and could do and get away with whatever I felt like doing.  Having always loved the auburn hair colors I had used, I decided redder was better.  I decided to make my hair a color that is usually associated with fire trucks and apples.  Now, I know you are probably saying, "How does one do that?"  Believe me, it's possible...maybe not advisable, but definitely possible. I wish I had a picture to share with you...it was really something to see, this red hair, and, of course, it being the 80's, the red hair was combined with an "awesome" asymmetrical haircut...you know, long on one side and short on the other.  It actually looked a lot like this photo I found, except it was red, sort of like the jacket in the picture.
During that same era, I dyed my hair pink and blue.  The pink was a hot pink and I had to bleach all of the color out first and then put the pink in.  Now, I want you to get a good visual here...my hair was very short in the back and long in the front.  I used to spike it up and use lots of spray to keep it stiff.  With the front being pink, I liked the idea of having the back navy blue, so I colored the back blue.  Like I said, it was the 80's and I was maybe 20 years old.  Again, I don't have a picture of me, but here's one to help you get a visual...


Fortunately, this period of particularly bad taste in hair color and style didn't last very long and I was back to something close to brown.  Here are some pictures of me with some of the different colors I've sported...


























So, what color IS my hair?  Any color I want it to be...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Do the math...sister moves to Hawaii + lack of local girlfriends = a brand new blogger


I am yet another blogger in an ever-expanding sea of bloggers.  There are blogs on everything from how to handle your finances to how to plant a garden...from how to paint your house to how to potty train your toddler.  Everyone is an expert on something and everyone has an opinion.

I never had a blog before.  I always thought that the people who blogged were really cool because they had something to say and a clever way to say it.  I always felt I had something to say and always felt free to say it anytime anyplace...to my sister, to my girlfriends, my husband and my kids (who don't  really hear me, but that's another blog.)  Recently, however, I find myself in the position of not having my sister nearby and no readily available girlfriends in the same zip code.  Now, I am not trying to have a pity party here.  I am simply trying to ferret out this sudden stream of consciousness writing.  It seems my every thought might have a place in print and online.  I am making lists of ideas and the words are flowing...why is that?

Well, this past year some things happened in my life which created some shifts...a tidal wave of change if you will.  I will not go into detail because it was messy.  Suffice it to say that when the smoke cleared, I was left standing with the people who matter most to me (and there weren't many of them!)  Most of those people who remain are male and live in my house.  As I said earlier, they can't (or don't) really hear me (unless I am screaming and then they are just trying to shut me up, but I digress...)  So I am left with gobs of streaming thoughts in my head and no way to get them out.

I no longer have my "go to" person to call at a spit-second's notice (having just gotten off the phone with her 5 minutes ago) to tell her what just popped into my head.  I find myself having conversations with MYSELF as I vacuum the floors or scrub a toilet.  Those are conversations I once had with girlfriends and sister.  Now, I still have conversations with my sister, they are just on a 5 hour jet-lagged time difference.  (I miss her!)

So you, dear reader, are now my girlfriend, my "go to gal," my BFF, my confidant.  Beware that I may call upon you at odd hours day or night to hear what I have to say.  You may find yourself listening as I drone on excitedly about nothing too important or the best news ever.  I know I can trust you to hear me when I talk to you and to interject with your ever-dependable advice when I need it.  I am so glad I found you dear friend, we have so much to catch up on!

Repurposing Vintage Dishes...or "What are you going to do with that?"


One of my newer hobbies these days is making cupcake stands out of vintage plates and cups.  I have been having an ongoing love affair with old dishes for years.  Originally (before kids) I used to indulge my addiction by haunting antique shows and buying whatever caught my eye...I had beautiful collections of pretty dishes.  Some had tiny little rosy rings around the edge, some had little gold stars.  Some sets were expensive Limoges chocolate sets and some had broken or chipped edges and cracks.  None of that mattered.  What mattered was that I loved them and I bought what I loved.  I had plates hanging on my walls and stacked in my kitchen cabinets.  There were bowls hidden in my old hoosier (which, sadly, I no longer have) and formal china displayed in an antique china hutch.  My collection was impressive.


Two babies and two moves later, it was all gone.  All of it.  Everything...the dishes, the hoosier, the china cabinet, all of it.  In the post-kid days of baby bottles and toys, I have whittled it down to the set of dishes I got as wedding gifts.  In defense of getting rid of all of the other stuff, it really wasn't practical to have that many sets of plates and china pieces.  I didn't use it, it was all for display, just because I loved it.  With kids around, it was just more stuff I had to try to protect from my boys, who both inherited healthy doses of what I like to call "The Truck Gene."


Recently, I noticed my stack of wedding plates dwindling.  With kids helping with the dishes, there are the occasional crashes and broken plates.  I didn't really know what to do about that and was thinking I might have to try to replace some of the pieces, but the pattern is discontinued.  I have continued to covet the beautiful banged up vintage pieces I saw in my travels through Goodwill and Angels in the Attic Thrift Store, but I never bought anything for fear of taking it home and having no place to put it.  Worse would be the inevitable question from Kurt, "What are you going to do with that?"

So, I was walking through Anthropologie one day (my secret fantasy job would be to work there so I could sniff the linens and touch all of the fun, quirky things on the shelves to my heart's content) and I saw a strange stack of white dishes..."Hmmm, this needs investigation," I said to myself.  I looked at this strange stack and saw that it wasn't a random stack of dishes, but a sculpture of dishes meant to hold taper candles.  Wow!  That was clever!  Of course, all of the dishes were new and it was a candle holder, but it got me to thinking...stacks of dishes in a beautiful display, and useful!  I also discovered that they have a cool lamp as well...


I was excited!  I thought I was on to something!  When I got home, I started stacking my dishes together and suddenly realized I could make a cake plate, or a cupcake stand!  I quickly got online and googled my idea only to find that I did not invent it...sadly, some other clever girl had already thought up the idea, but there was nothing out there really saying how to do it...

So, through trial and error, I figured out that gorilla glue and E6000 glue both work well and permanently bond the dishes together.  The glues are food and dishwasher safe as well.  Soooo.....

I am back to my hobby of collecting vintage china, the more chipped and loved, the better.  I happily tote home boxes of mixed pieces home and happily answer the dreaded question with, "Cupcake stands!"  My pieces are listed for sale here:  www.etsy.com/shop/BettyShmetty


Oh, and I have also proceeded to replace my broken wedding dishes with my "new" vintage finds!  My everyday dishes are starting to look as mixed up and jumbled as I am!  I am loving it...there is nothing better than serving up some love at the kitchen table with well-loved vintage china!

Wasting a day...in Italy

As a mom and part-time professional, I often have days filled with endless chores, running the boys around, grocery shopping and all of the other "things" I have to do.  I never quite feel like I have completed my to-do list.  I always feel like I forgot something, slighted someone, said the wrong thing...well, you know.

Sometimes, at the end of a day, when I have wiped down the kitchen counters for what I hope will be the last time, I realize that I never had a chance to sit down and just be.  Have you ever thought, as you listen to the kids arguing over a toy or what they are going to watch on television, "What did I ever do with myself before I had kids?"

I can vaguely remember those days...it seems to me that what I did most of the time back then was make things (like baking a cake from scratch and then perfectly decorating it with a cake decorating kit in a basket-weave pattern I saw in Martha Stewart Living Magazine) or go shopping for clothes at the mall or get my hair done.  Now, I know there must have been more important things that I accomplished in my other life, but I honestly can't remember what I used to do in a day when I didn't work.  I probably read many good books and generally, I think I spent more time on the "maintenance" side of taking care of myself.

I remember that I always seemed to have (what I thought at the time was) good hair, well manicured fingers and pretty clothes.  I certainly had more money to spend on those things.  So, that was all before the boys came along and converted me over to the church of "MOM" where I spend time pitching tents instead of getting a manicure.  Where I pick up 900 dirty socks or scrub the toilet for the fourth time in a week instead of getting my hair done at a nice salon.  Where I wear worn out camouflage pants and tank tops instead of the latest fashions.

Which all leads me back to my point...These days, I never seem to take time to just relax.  I don't sit on my comfy sofa and spend three hours straight reading a great book.  I don't lay out by my pool or go to the beach on a beautiful day.  I am always "doing" something and not having much to show for it at the end of the day if you ask me.  So the other day, I had just finished the morning dishes and put a load of laundry in the washing machine and realized that I didn't know what to do next.  The house needed to be cleaned and I needed to go to the grocery store.  I had four hours before I needed to pick my son up from school and I couldn't figure out which thing to get done.

In a quandary, I sat down on the sofa and looked out the window into my back yard.  It was a beautiful day, so I got up and opened the windows.   I sat back down.  I looked around me on the couch and saw several gun-shaped WII controllers littering the cushions.  I pushed them out of the way and then picked one up and looked at it.  (What the heck is the fascination with shooting games for 10-12 year old boys anyway??)  The boys recently talked me into getting Netflix and they have watched several movies on the WII with it, so I fidgeted with the controller until I got the movie service to come up.  Flipping through the list, I realized that I was actually contemplating sitting there by myself watching a movie when I had chores to do....What was I thinking?????

I did not stop flipping until I got to the section with the foreign movies...ahh, that was it, I needed to get away, just for a little while.  I selected a film called "Bread and Tulips" which, as it turns out, was about an Italian woman (wife, mother) who gets left behind at a rest stop while on a tour with her husband and kids and, long story short, ends up hitch-hiking her way to Venice (because she's never been there before and she feels like she needs a break from her schmuck husband and ungrateful kids...sound familiar yet?) where she stays for what seems like weeks.  Of course, while she is there, she meets a handsome man, gets a job in a flower shop and reignites a long-suppressed love and talent for playing the accordion (yes, I said accordion) all while in the beautiful, romantic setting of Venice, Italy and yes, the movie was in the Italian language and had sub-titles.  MAGNIFICO!!


As I sat there living vicariously through Rosalba's life, I was transported to another country for two whole hours!  While I was there, I baked some sugar cookies and ate three of them with a cup of freshly brewed coffee...Heaven!  After the movie was over, I was so inspired, I wrote an email to a friend I hadn't spoken to in a while...in Italian (using Google translator because I don't know how to speak Italian.)  What a beautiful day it was for me...I think that sometimes, we just need to check out and let ourselves be carried away in a fantasy to Italy.  The trick for afterward though, is not to feel guilty about it....

I would love to say that I did not feel guilty, but who am I trying to kid?  Of course I felt guilty!  When I arrived back from Italy, I had 40 minutes left before I needed to pick my son up, so I quickly decided to clean one of the bathrooms (the boys' bathroom because it always needs it) and fold a load of laundry.  I then quickly called my husband and "confessed" my sin of sloth....sigh...I guess I'll have to work on the guilt thing another day...maybe in Greece next time...

Friday, March 18, 2011

What have you got to say for yourself, young lady?



Did your mother ever ask you that question?  I heard that question a lot when I was growing up.  As a mom, I don't use that phrase with my own kids...well, that's mainly cause they're boys.  But I digress...  Really...what do I want to say and who wants to hear it?  Well, I don't know.  I have a constant stream of thoughts running through my head at all times...who doesn't?  Most of the thoughts I have should NOT be shared, but sometimes, a tidbit or two will emerge...something useful?  Perhaps.  Something deep?  Maybe.  Something me?  Yes.

Today I am beginning what I hope will be an interesting and sometimes useful stream of thoughts and ideas.  I would like to think that I can occasionally share an idea that you (dear reader) might find fun and new.  Is it really a guide to life?  Probably not if you are looking for the profound, the life-changing.  But it could just be that a day in a life can be changed by something as little as learning a new skill or thinking about something old in a new way.

So, here goes...