Morning Dog


I’m just not a morning dog. Never have been. I mean, why on earth would I want to leave a warm bed? Particularly when it’s mom’s bed. She has piles of pillows and blankets that she likes to play “Fort and Moat” with. Don’t know that game? It’s where she builds up her pillow and blanket Fort and then yells “Move” at me until I leave space for her on the bed. Then, while she’s sleeping, I cross the “Moat” by crawling slowly toward her until I’m lying at least partially if not completely on top of her. I win every time!

When we stay at my boyfriend’s house, he and I play the same game, but now there are two people to knock off the bed. Thor is large enough that he doesn’t have to use much strategy to win. He just gets on the bed and stands over mom or my stepdad breathing heavily. Then he takes his giant lion paw and pets them. Or else he puts his head on someone’s chest. He could kill a decent-size bird with the weight of that head.

IMG_2081I tried sleeping with Hug one night, but he has a twin bed. I’m guessing that all twins have to sleep in a twin, but it’s a bit disappointing as far as beds go. It’s really no bigger than a dog bed, but long. Like a matchstick with sheets and a comforter. There just wasn’t any place for me to really stretch out.

I’m excited that winter is on the way. It’s electric blanket season! Nothing warmer than curling up on a hot blanket for a game of Bundt Cake! I sleep as close as I can to mom so the combined heat of my body and the electric blanket makes her feel like she’s baking in an oven. It’s all kinds of fun!


The Perfect White T-shirt

In a totally unscientific experiment, I decided to try to find the perfect white T-shirt. Why? Because I’m in my 40s now. Which means that all those jolie laide thrift-shop cute outfits I covet in Anthropologie make me look like I shopped a Salvation Army sale rack. So I’ve decided the chic option is to wear jeans, a scarf, and a fitted white, 100% cotton, short-sleeve T-shirt.

For years, I wore Banana Republic’s “Organic Cotton” T-shirt. I had one in pretty much every color. But they don’t seem to make them anymore. I put a call out to my Facebook community and received some great suggestions for alternatives.

Then I went online and ordered about 50 white T-shirts. Here are the results of my incredibly fascinating sartorial study. I included photos of my favorites in a gallery below.

The ones I ruled out:

1. Old Navy –  Not 100% cotton.

2. Chico’s – Couldn’t find a short-sleeve white T-shirt this late in the season.

3. Ann Taylor Loft – Wrinkle city! Every single shirt I own from Ann Taylor Loft looks like I wore it for a week, washed it, drove over it with my car and then wore it again for another week. Regular Ann Taylor? Mostly Modal with a tiny bit of cotton thrown in. Boo.

4. J. Crew – I know they’re supposed to have great T-shirts, but the quality didn’t win me over. The “Tissue Weight” cotton T-shirt is just an excuse to charge a ridiculous amount for what amounts to, literally, a tissue. The “Painter’s T” is as wrinkly as Ann Taylor Loft’s, and for more money. And their “Perfect Tee” (short-sleeve) was not available in stores – the long-sleeve version I did try on was bunchy, made of a bulky, thick weave of which I’m not fond.


Ralph Lauren (Outlet)

On sale – $8.00. Good deal for a nice-fitting T-shirt. I bought a Small. I would have prefered the Medium, but the fit is a bit awkward and sizing up only made it bulky. The shape is fairly good, though the weave is a bit thick. Wore well through the day. Gets a B.


Custom-made, direct to you, free shipping, and 100% cotton…for only $15! I ordered a Small and a Medium. The quality is good – easy, drapey. A weekend T-shirt for sure, but slightly too sheer for me to vote it the best. I give it a B+. (Disclosure: If you purchase through the link I’ve included, I get a discount for the referral, so if you prefer to register directly, just go to the site.)

The Gap

I tried on the Perfect Tee and…meh. I actually ended up buying a V-neck in a Medium (photo not included), but The Gap’s shirts suffer from two design flaws – the material is fairly thin and the look is a bit boxy. The crew-neck shirt just made me look like I’d borrowed my boyfriend’s undershirt. C+.

Banana Republic

Like Shania Twain says, the Banana Republic Timeless Crew-neck Tee is “still the one.” The reason I’m a sucker for BR? The weave – it’s soft AND thick. The fit is impeccable and the quality is fantastic. I ended up with a Small in the crew-neck and a Medium in the  V-neck. Both look brand new and freshly ironed, even after a wash. A+!!



Back-up Plan

WARNING: Due to the graphic nature of this blog post, those who are offended by fart jokes and the following words – toilet, sewage, poo, or crap – should not continue reading. For the rest of you, enjoy the post!

I woke up this morning to a back-up in my main sewage line. Do you know what that is? Let me describe it in simple terms. Go into your bathroom. Flush your toilet. Now take a dump in your tub. And then do it again in your guest bathroom. Nice, right?

After pouring Clorox into both tubs, more to stem my panic than anything else, I called my plumber. The last time my plumber was at the house was two years and a half years ago. He spent five hours with his whole body crammed under my bathroom sink, arm-deep in a P-trap. Up to his elbow, much, I imagine, like a veterinarian trying to help a cow through a difficult birth.

Except I bet the veterinarian isn’t paid as much as my plumber.


So now he’s back, with a drain snake the size and length of a King Cobra, and wearing his blue booties. I love the blue booties. They are a very considerate gesture made by the plumbing company, to keep the plumber’s shoes from mucking up my floors. Which is kind of sweet, given that both of my second floor bathrooms are quite literally coated in shit. At this point, the muddy shoes are the Diet Pepsi part of the triple-cheeseburger, giant fries, and four dessert tacos lunch order.

You didn’t know there was a dessert taco, did you?

Well there isn’t. At least not that I know of. And if you eat four of them, you better not come here afterwards. Because I evidently haven’t the facilities to accommodate you. Ahem.

Until the drains are cleared, I’m relegated to the couch with Blanche. She is gripping her pillow with that terrified look all excellent guard dogs get. The one that says, “I HOPE NO ONE IS BREAKING INTO THIS HOUSE BECAUSE IF THEY ARE, I HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT MY HIDING PLACE YET. WHY MOMMY? WHYYYYYYYY?” And I’m working on my laptop, attempting to ignore the drilling sounds above my head. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire bathtub dropped through the ceiling into my living room.

At least then I would know the drains were clear.


Striking a Pose

I went to see my orthopedist the other day to check on the progress of my hip. He prescribed a cortisone shot to try to stem lingering pain I’ve been suffering. I made a joke about timing the shot right so the doctor wouldn’t have to chase a moving target.

“It’s true. You’re striking,” said my ortho. “I’ve never seen a Parkinson’s patient like you before.”

I put my “Aw shucks” face on and smiled. Wow, I thought, what a compliment from my ortho! He must think I look really fantastic compared to all his other patients. And he sees a lot of patients.

“It’s striking, the difference,” he said, shaking his head.

Striking! That’s me! I am one hot number, I thought…oh wait…

That’s when I realized what he meant. What is striking is the difference between my “On” periods (the hours of the day when the Parkinson’s meds kick in) and my “Off” periods (the in-between times). I was standing right in front of him, as still as a stone. But a few months back, he’d seen me holding the edges of my hospital bed to keep from shaking myself onto the floor.

Even my own neurologist, who sees me every three months, has said to me, “If I didn’t know you have Parkinson’s, I would never believe it.”


There’s a teeny tiny problem with not “looking sick,” a condition many people experience. Especially for those of us who are still relatively young and working full time. We look “fine” most of the time. Because we have to. But there are times when we’re not.

I’m not writing this as a pity post. Hardly. I’ve been fighting this disease for more than seven years – I’ve developed quite a sense of humor about it. (Anyone for a game of Operation! or darts?) But I thought it was important (for my neurologist – and in honor of my friends who “look fine”) to show you what Jekyll and Hyde really looks like. I think you’ll find the difference…striking.


United States Naval Academy Color Parade

Board of Directors

Thank you for your emotional, financial, and/or spiritual support of my ongoing efforts to beat the clock on Parkinson’s disease! Last year I realized I needed to get more active in supporting “the cause,” so I’ve been volunteering with an organization called the National Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, or PFNCA. August 27, I was officially named to their board of directors!
The PFNCA is focused on providing programs, education, and a community of support to people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers and families in the Washington, DC area. The Walk Off Parkinson’s event on September 14th, is an event sponsored and run by PFNCA. As a new board member, I’m throwing my support behind the Walk Off event and the programs it supports for people like me.
I also continue to be actively involved in the annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City in April – the people in that organization have gone out of their way to help me find the right doctors, make good connections in the community, and celebrate the community of friends and family on whom I rely.
The difference between the two organizations? PFNCA is local, Unity Walk is global. PFNCA runs dozens of programs – at no cost to participants – that help patients, caregivers, and their families. Unity Walk’s fundraising benefits every Parkinson’s organization by distributing equally 100% of the money they raise, for research, new treatments, and hopefully a cure.
Everyone has a cause that means something to them personally – from the MS150 bike ride to the ice bucket challenge. So I thank you for the donations – of time, emotional support, or financial — you’ve made to helping me fight Parkinson’s disease.
Please help me spread the word about the Walk Off event by posting the attached link to your Facebook profile or sending it directly to your friends, if you’re so inclined! And if you’re able to donate to Team Bettina this year, you’re invited to do that as well.
Donations to PFNCA support a variety of local programs including:
  • 45 Parkinson’s support groups
  • 68 sponsored exercise classes monthly
  • 14 communications classes
  • 7 caregiver support groups

and more…

My Pictures * My Parkinson's * My Pitbull (mix)


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