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Posts Tagged ‘Beer and wine’

Dear Readers,
Julia and I have been friends since we were kids. We had a shared interest in harassing our other friends. (Like the time we wore togas down a busy road to bother visit Taft, Cindy and Carleton.) Our mothers’ curses came true: We ended up with children just like us. Here are some stories about her middle child, Ainsley.
Enjoy!
Beth

Happy times for Julia and Ainsley

Dear Beth,
As one of your oldest and dearest friends, I have thoroughly enjoyed your stories about parenting your two amazing and handsome boys. But having two boys myself, I would like to introduce you to the unique joys of parenting a girl – particularly my girl – Ainsley Nora.
After coming into the world with severe colic (which I had no idea could fully re-emerge from age 11 -17!), she has kept us on our toes. I am not half the writer you are (sorry, Mrs. Reagan and Mrs. Wise) so I’ve decided to offer you the best Ainsley Nora stories in Top 10 format.
  1. The time she insulted a friend. When Ainsley was 2 or 3, my dear friend Diane came to visit from San Diego. While Diane and I were enjoying a glass of wine and a chat, Ainsley came over and in her best stage (aka “Irish”) whisper announced, “I don’t like that girl!” She then proceeded to fly upstairs and rifle through Diane’s luggage. Diane subsequently discovered that her book was missing. We went into Ainsley’s room and discovered her lounging in bed, legs crossed, immersed in “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” even though it was upside down.
  2. The second time she insulted a friend. When Ainsley was 3 or 4, I invited over Jennifer, my new friend from work. Ainsley had recently received a large makeup case as a gift. She proceeded to wander by Jennifer multiple times with her makeup case as if she were a “Price is Right” model showcasing her wares. At the point Jennifer expressed interest, Ainsley snapped the case shut practically amputating Jennifer’s hand in the process and then stormed off in a huff.
  3. The third time she insulted a friend. When Ainsley was 5 or 6, my friend brought her daughter Mia over. Mia, who was around 2, was playing on the front porch, while Ann and I enjoyed a cocktail (seeing a theme here) while watching her from the front window. Ainsley came in the house from playing with friends, and, nodding her head toward the front porch, said “Hello! Stolen???” as if we were the most inept adults in the world.
  4. ONE of the times she insulted her brothers. The first time I let my youngest son Elias (our favorite per Ainsley) take a shower, I was downstairs and heard a huge clu-clunk and crying. I rushed upstairs to find him lying face down on the shower floor with Ainsley (and Cullen, my oldest) observing, “Look how hairy his back is – so gross.” Note that she also had a history of yelling, “Bring it on freckle face!” when she is the most freckled of the three.
  5. The time she got in a fight with her cousin. Ainsley and her cousin Mairead are the same age. One day after preschool, I had them at a little play table eating lunch. I don’t know what Mairead said to Ains, but I see Ainsley get up, walk around the play table and say, “You don’t want to be my best friend, Mairead? You don’t want to be my best cousin? YOU’RE GOING DOWN, MAIREAD!”
  6. The time she insulted a civic group. This is partly my husband’s fault as his family’s motto is “Nobody standing still is up to any good.” My kids are not allowed to loiter anywhere. On the way home from school, Ainsley sees a gang of no-gooders and screams, “Look at that bunch of vagrants!” It was a group of Boy Scouts standing on the church lawn.
  7. The time she insulted the elderly. OK, this one is actually funny. One time we were driving past an old-folks home, and Ainsley announced to her friends, “Look, that’s where they keep all the grandmas!”
  8. The time Ainsley threw me under the bus. As a working mom, I never felt like I did my share but I always tried to volunteer for at least one or two events a year to keep the guilt at bay. After several sucky assignments, they were looking for yoga teachers for fitness day. Sign me up! Unfortunately all the other moms had signed up for yoga, so I was asked to do the neighborhood walk with Ainsley’s class, a bunch of dads and the teacher, Mrs. Marshalka. Unfortunately the walk went right by our house, so Mrs. Marshalka paused and said, “And this is Ainsley Nora’s house!” With the entire crowd looking at her, Ainsley decided to deflect with, “My mom cries when she doesn’t get her way.” Those who know me know I DO NOT CRY!
  9. The time she “accidentally” swallowed a quarter. The school nurse called to tell me that Ainsley swallowed a quarter during class. “Mom, I really had to cough, and I was trying to be polite and cover my mouth and forgot I had a quarter in my hand,” she told me. After my husband took her to the ER, our babysitter, Danielle, told us that Ainsley had been asking her for weeks what would happen if she swallowed a quarter and would she get an X-ray (she did). (She and Mairead were also known to crank call 911. Why Danielle stayed with us all those years is beyond me!)
  10. The time she said she would rather have Coronavirus than be stuck “in this house with you people!” Also, “Mom, can I take a gap year if I get on ‘Survivor?'” Yes, yes you can, Ainsley.

She reminds me of you in all the best ways.
Julia

 

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Dear Readers,

As summer gets closer, and we are all still on our forced Coronacation, those summer plans are on shaky ground. One casualty is the annual Download Festival in Leicestershire, England. Americans: Think metal Coachella or Lollapalooza (which are surprisingly still on as of today).

Here’s a post from Tara to help you recreate the experience while in isolation. (It reminds me a little of my low-rent spa suggestion.)

See you soon! (Maybe. With any luck.)
Beth

Oh those innocent days when we could wear other people like clothing and gaze lovingly into the eyes of our metal idols.

How to have a Download Festival experience during the Coronacalypse
By Tara W.

For those of you gutted (Note from Beth for Americans: That means devastated) by the cancellation of Download Festival this year let me try to help you recreate it from the comfort of your home.

  1. Drive to the furthest part of your village/town/city, and park your car.
  2. Walk back to your house.
  3. Put your tent up in your garden/lounge (Note from Beth for Americans: Living room). It’s best to use a pop-up tent if you are putting it in your lounge.
  4. If you have an additional tent, put it up right in front of the doorway of the tent you intend to sleep in.
  5. Scatter the area around your tent with empty cigarette packets/bottles/crisp packets (Note from Beth for Americans: Crisps are potato chips).
  6. Crap and piss in a bucket to give to you the correct aroma. Do NOT clean the bucket.
  7. Play some great and some not-so-great rock/metal tunes.
  8. Make burgers or grass wraps (for the vegetarians), and charge yourself at least £8 (Note from Beth to Americans: That’s $9.88 in today’s money).
  9. Pour yourself a pint/short of your favourite beverage, making sure you charge yourself at least £5 (Note from Beth to Americans: A short is liquor — like a shot — and that’s $6.17). Put said beverage in the microwave for eight seconds to get it to the right temperature, and put a bit of grass in it.
  10. When you have finished your weekend, go and collect your car.

I hope this helps! 😉🤘

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Dear Aleen:

I don’t know but it’s SOMETHING, isn’t it?

I haven’t made banana bread in years, but I made some this week.

Why?

I don’t know. I guess I just had time.

Here’s a list of things I’ve made while in captivity:

1. The aforementioned banana bread. Sadly, without nuts. One of my cage mates ate all the walnuts and pecans we had and didn’t put them on the grocery list.

2. Black chickpea hummus with black garlic and preserved lemon. We are VERY FANCY in isolation.

Yes, it looks like poo. Trust me: It’s delicious.

3. Pasteles y arroz con gandules. Just like Abuela used to make.

4. Pernil. That takes four hours in the oven. Luckily, I have PLENTY of time.

5. Pork tamales. Labor intensive? Yes? Worth it? Also yes.

6. Red chili sauce for the above. You don’t like spicy things, you say? Good thing I didn’t invite you over.

7. Charro beans. Never made them, but I could have eaten the whole pot of them on my own.

8. Tapioca pudding. My mom used to make this all the time. I’ve never made it. I noticed a box of tapioca in the pantry. How did it get there? I don’t know. But Dominic is a huge fan, so I ended up making two batches.

9. Chicken Parmigiana. Again, something I’ve never made. It’s a wee bit of a pain. Would I make it again? Hell yes.

10. Gyoza. I learned from Miwa, the Gyoza Guru.

11. Many mixed drinks. Virtual happy hour begins at 5, y’all.

Chocolate chip cookies and Scotch eggs (to be consumed separately, of course) are on the agenda today.

I’m happy. Cage mates are happy. And I’m still holding steady at two points over ideal fighting weight.

So let’s have another helping of some pandemic comfort food.

Yours in culinary exploration,
Beth

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This meme … so accurate.

Dear Friends and Family:

It’s Day 16 of captivity. I’m finding ways to amuse myself.

For example, I created a pandemic playlist. Y’all know I love a good playlist, and there’s something for everyone here.

I watched Tiger King, along with most of America, it seems.

Yes, it’s really the batshit crazy train wreck everyone says it is.

Someone posted a genius Bingo card for it.

This is what my card looked like after 30 minutes into JUST ONE EPISODE.

I had a virtual happy hour with Goat Yoga Lisa. And 36-hour Tina has planned one for Wednesday. During our chat, Lisa mentioned that her photos from St. Patrick’s Day 2019 showed up in her Facebook feed.

Lisa: There I was, in crowds! Standing close to people! Drinking other peoples drinks!
Me: Those halcyon days.

The family has laughed plenty playing board games.

I wish I could remember what the answer was for this Sensosketch.

I’ve done my spring (and summer and fall) cleaning plus all the laundry. I’ve been cooking nonstop. I even made egg salad — something I don’t often make because I hate peeling eggs.

The pollen has given me a headache and sore throat, but I’m still obsessively taking my temperature just to be sure.

Weird times, friends. Weird times.

Stay safe. Keep busy. Watch Joe Exotic.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Friends and Family,

It’s Day 12 of captivity. I’ve gained two pounds. I have to resist the urge to eat cheese all day. It’s bad enough I take my vitamins with wine.

I’m still going to work for a few hours each day for a change of scenery. I’m not a dress-down-for-work kind of gal. Yesterday, I wore a skirt and heels. Just for me.

I rarely see anyone when I’m there. Yesterday, though, I saw the CFO at the water cooler on the second floor and the woman in charge of special projects down the hall. We all paused in our tracks, giggling nervously. The CFO went back into his office, and Special Projects let me go into the bathroom before she continued down the hall. Six feet of space, people.

Later in the day, I crossed paths with the CFO again. Same situation.

Him: Stay on your floor!
Me: I don’t have a bathroom up there. Unless you want to spring for a Porta Potty, I’m coming down!

When I was at my university the first time around as an English major, I won a major award for writing. The prize package included “Love in the Time of Cholera.”

In our house, it’s “Love in the Time of Corona.”

Gideon broke up with his girl Peyton. He informed me last night:

I don’t want to be in a relationship anymore. It takes up too much of my time. My precious time.

Incidentally, I won the award for a short story I wrote called “The Pot Roast.” It was about my weird grandmother wanting raw meat as a Christmas gift.

Last night, I made the dish.

Gideon, girlfriend-free with precious time on his hands, roamed into the kitchen.

Him (peering into the pot): What’s this?
Me: Pot roast.
Him: We haven’t had that in a while.
Me: Yep. I’m bringing out all the hits.
Him: Top 20?
Me: Top 20 from the 2000s.

After dinner, the family decided to play Twister. Yes, Twister. I’ve still got it! I managed to keep myself up plus Dominic. I bowed out when a spin for me would have required me to sit on his head. Let’s not get crazy in confinement.

Nighttime also is TV time. Even “sheltering in place” cannot help me get through the treacly “This Is Us.” I deleted all episodes in my queue, and instantly feel better. (Honestly. It takes itself SO SERIOUSLY. It’s like a DC Comics movie.)

I’m still taking CORVID-19 seriously. Perhaps too much. I got a little worried earlier this week because I had a sore throat and a headache. Insert panic. Then I realized it’s springtime in the South — an inch of pollen everywhere.

Maybe that explains the guy restocking at the gas station. He emitted a small cough. The cashier and I whipped around on him.

Me: How long have you had that cough?
Him: (Scurries quickly away from the loud lady)

Stay safe, and don’t get Corona-ed,
Beth

 

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Dear COVID-19,

Pack your knives and go.

One day you’re in; the next day you’re out.

You’ve been chopped.

But yet you’re still here. And where am I?

Trapped on the couch watching way too much Reality TV. Clearly.

I even managed to get through some of my “Ridiculousness” backlog.

I still have a ways to go.

It’s only been a week of intense social distancing, but it has taken a toll on this extrovert who loves nothing better than to be out of the house.

I remember my mother and father always being aggravated with me:

Mom: Why can’t you sit still?
Me: I just can’t.

Dad: You are going out AGAIN?
Me: YES!

My boss told me I could work from home.

I said I had two teenage boys at home. No WAY I want to be there.

So I’ve been splitting my time.

Answer emails. Walk to work. Answer more emails. Advise students via Zoom. Talk to whoever might be around at a safe distance. Walk home. Answer more emails. Read industry reports.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

On Friday, I spoke to two people. It was a big day.

I’ve been doing plenty of cooking and cleaning. Talking to people ON THE PHONE (!). And drinking. So much for the good done via Dry January.

I just read a horrifying article that indicates this could go on for 10-12 WEEKS.

If that is what it takes to keep more people from getting you, COVID-19, then I understand, and will try not to complain.

But I really wish you would take the hint and LEAVE.

The tribe has spoken.

Impatient and unhappily housebound,
Beth

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Dear Lottery God:

I still haven’t gotten a response to my May 2019 plea. I didn’t really expect one, but I DID hope.

Here’s the thing: What I really want are not material things.

Instead, I want experiences.

Like a blogger friend of mine (edyjournal), I’m not so concerned with status symbols. In fact, sometimes they come with more baggage than they are worth.

For example, I drove a BMW convertible for a while. I bought it used for $4K under the Blue Book value because the seller had already ordered a brand-new one for his kid as a replacement (!).

It was in great shape, and I take care of cars. That’s how my current car (a 2008 VW Eos) has managed to last and still look good.

Anyway, I got so sick of comments like this:

A BMW? Insert name of employer at the time must be paying you well!

[Eye roll]

It was a fantastic car, but I didn’t seek another BMW after it was totaled when I was broadsided at an intersection.

I feel myself growing apart from another friend whose job working with the 1 percent has her chasing the same Richie Rich tokens of success to keep up.

That’s not interesting to me.

You know what IS interesting to me?

Scream-laughing with my youngest on a roller coaster.

Watching people slam dance.

Day drinking in the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios Orlando.

Edit: Having brunch and getting my hooves shaved down with a long-time friend.

When I travel nowadays, I tend not to come home with tokens. (I Marie Kondo-ed my life since moving to Atlanta.) I come home with consumables: snacks for the kids, chicken hoops for me (when I can find them), random condiments, etc.

I don’t add to my physical footprint (not even in weight as I’m still maintaining).

So I’m asking again, Lottery God: Please smile upon me. These experiences aren’t free.

Best wishes and warmest regards,
Beth

 

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Dear Readers,

I’m so excited that my badgering has paid off. Here’s another guest post. The Royce had a birthday last week, and it prompted some reflection.

I’ll be back next week with a story about the eldest. Parents with teenagers will relate.

Love,
Beth

This is The Royce in his natural habitat.

 

Aging vs. Old: A Rant
Guest post by The Royce

So, yesterday was my birthday. And that’s good because, hey, another trip around the sun, right? But somewhere along the way — in the last, oh say, few years or so (I don’t know whatever) — it occurred to me that, while I am not old (yet), I am, in fact, aging. Maybe I’m finally “of a certain age” — whatever the hell that entails — because, while I’m definitely still an easygoing person, little things are starting to grind my gears just a bit.

Like those damn neighborhood kids walking in my yard! LOLJK. (Note from Beth: I don’t think he is, in fact, JK.)

Though it’s commonly *cough* invariably *cough* attached to middle age and miracle creams, signs of aging actually applies to things other than crow’s feet and smile lines.

I’m talking about the less-obvious, non-physical signs of aging. Because like it or not, every day of every year, you’re aging. You just don’t notice it.

Until you do.

And then you notice it again. And again. It’s a lot like buying a new car that you thought was unique and rare until you drive off the lot and there’s three of the same vehicle waiting at the first intersection you get to.

On Jan. 13, 1974, the Super Bowl was on my seventh birthday, and I got to watch my favorite team, the Miami Dolphins, become two-time world champions against the Minnesota Vikings. Not a bad day for a kid.

In 2020, the game is three weeks later, two hours longer, and the pre-game show lasts half a day. WTH?

When did that happen?

You see, that’s not old. That’s aging.

Recently I went out with my lovely wife to meet some friends visiting from out of town. We arrived a few minutes early and looked over the drink menu while we waited.

I’m sorry, but WTF?! How did a cocktail get to be $14 in this town? (Note from Beth: They live in Savannah.) Did I teleport to Manhattan when I walked
through the door to this place?

Again: Not old. Aging.

You know why people don’t go out as much when they get a little older? It’s less about being tired and more because we don’t want to get bent over paying those ridiculous prices every time we feel like having a nice meal somewhere. Hey, how about we go out for dinner and have a couple glasses of WELL SHIT THERE GOES A HUNDRED BUCKS.

No, it’s not denial. Old will, with some luck, arrive eventually.

But for now … nah, not old. Merely aging, just like I have every day of my life. And considering the alternative, I’m fine with that.

Seriously, though. Would it kill the little cretins to stay off my lawn?

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Dear Readers:

My playful ribbing of my friends has paid off. Nick has come through with a guest post about dealing with teenagers — a frequent topic of mine. His oldest is older than mine, so he’s been through it.

And for the rest of you (Julia, Royce, Kerstin, TJ), don’t worry about it being perfect. That’s what editors are for. Send it!

Love,
Beth

Advice for harassed parents (or how I learned to stop worrying and love my kid)
Guest post by Nick (aka He Who Has Been There)

My eldest son just turned 18. Here in the U.K., that’s it: All milestones hit. He’s now a grown man, even though if he buys beer he’ll still get challenged for appearing to be under 21, despite the drinking age being 18. Go figure. He can have a house, car, family — all that. First, he needs to get a job. But we’ll leave that particular bone of contention for another time.

Getting this far wasn’t easy. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve said something along the lines of “YOU’LL PICK UP THAT SOCK/PLATE/INDETERMINATE MATTER IF YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR NEXT BIRTHDAY,” which was normally met with an exasperated sigh or the dreaded eye-roll. See, the thing is, and this is important for anyone with a kid who’s in the middle of those teenage years to know:

You’ll always LOVE your kid. It’s okay to not LIKE them sometimes.

It’s easy when they’re small. For example, it’s cute when they get so excited at Christmas that they literally piss themselves. Or, when potty training is happening, they get their junk caught in a CD case and run into the kitchen shouting “ME NO LIKE!” (Both real, both SURE to mortify the boy if he ever reads this.)

Here’s Nick. Innocent. He has no idea what this creature will become in just 10 or so years.

But as they grow in size, they also get this disastrous condition called “their own personality.” Shocking, I know. And when they get to about 12, 13? That personality generally stinks. As do they, because puberty takes no prisoners where body odour is concerned (Note from Beth: “Odor” as we Americans shun unnecessary letters).

The smallest things become battlegrounds.

Concerned Parent: “Have you done your homework?”
Insolent Child: *AUDIBLE EYE ROLL*
CP: “May as well get it done now, kid Then it’s finished so you’ve got the weekend to yourself.”
IC: “GOD.” (Stomps away)

A hill that we both picked to die on was a matter of hygiene. As in, brush your goddamn teeth. He’d wake up, have breakfast, and sit in the living room in his trademark sullen silence. When I would ask if he’d brushed his teeth, the look of horror and disgust was as if I’d offered him a lightly grilled stoat (Note from Beth: This is British-speak for weasel) as an aperitif. He’d eventually stomp away to the bathroom, but only after I’d shown him the Big Book of British Smiles. (Our teeth aren’t really that bad, but it made a point, and “The Simpsons” is gold.)

Then.

One magical day a few months before his 18th birthday, he all of a sudden stopped being this terrible-smelling, silent protagonist in his own Greek tragedy, and became a larger version of the kid I used to know. Hairier, with a deeper voice (no seriously: He’s like a skinny white version of Barry White, fer chrissake), but actually nice to be around. I look forward to our movie nights. Sharing a beer with the kid. Actually having a human conversation.

Here’s Nick with his son, who has regained human form. Neither has the capacity to smile for a selfie, apparently.

So, parents of teenagers: Hang in there. It gets worse before it gets better. But when it gets better, it’s great!

If only he’d get off his arse, and get a job …

 

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Dear Friends and Family:

It’s Jan. 2. People have already broken resolutions, or never made any to begin with.

I don’t usually make resolutions, as you know. If I decide to do something, I just do it. No need to wait until the new year.

This year, I’m declaring things I WON’T do:

  • Keep makeup I don’t wear. Coral lipstick is not for pale people like me, and frosty pink is for preteens.
  • Retain books on my Kindle I won’t read. “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments” by David Foster Wallace is a supposedly fun read that is not. Byeeee!
  • Put up with less than I need/deserve/worked for, etc. I am not a “Welcome!” mat.
  • Save money. Yeah, I know I should, but let’s be honest: I won’t.

  • Stay home. I want to say “absof–kinlutely” to adventures near and far. Dream scenario: I get paid to write about it.
  • Continue procrastinating on my book. This is the year I finish it, write the proposal, and find an agent. If E.L. James can become rich and famous off her trash Twilight fan fiction work, so can I.
  • Lose more than just five more pounds. I’m calling that my “wine cushion.”
  • Stay in this place with the small kitchen. When it’s a pain to make things as fairly easy as Scotch eggs, it’s time to upgrade.

  • Ignore show suggestions from certain like-minded people. I resisted watching “Killing Eve.” I was stupid.
  • Let people try to make me feel even slightly embarrassed about my love of bad taxidermy. Those uptight people can shove it. My obsession is Hando approved.
  • Vote for Trump. Duh.
  • Stop writing blog posts at least twice a week. I’ve been keeping this pace since April, so I’m pretty proud of myself.

What are your anti-resolutions? Tell me in the comments.

Love and kisses,
Beth

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