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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

One more cruise post. I promise this is it.

Dear Royal Caribbean:

My family and I are veteran cruisers, yet our vacation this month was our first foray into the Royal Caribbean world. We won’t be back.

Here’s why:

Oasis of the Seas is a massive boat that holds about 6,200 passengers. We paid much more than we would have paid on our go-to line, Carnival, chiefly because there was more to do on Oasis of the Seas (a rock-climbing wall!).

However, that makes no difference if the activities aren’t open on a regular basis.

But that wasn’t the only issue. I have comments/suggestions, if you want to read them:

1. The comedy club only holds about 120. That means only about 2 percent of the people on board can see a show. That’s a problem.

2. With the exception of the cabin stewards and the buffet and some dining room staff, the staff are unpleasant, unfriendly people. Either hire people who can be friendly despite the crappy hours they work, or give them better schedules so they don’t become crabby.

3. Fix the microphones in the Opal Theater. The orchestra overpowers the singers at every show.

4. If a party of 11 calls a year in advance, they should be able to sit together at dinner.

5. Accuracy counts in your description of excursions. If you show a water slide in the image of the water park excursion, the slide should be included in the water park excursion. If you say you will be going to a reef and that reef no longer exists thanks to a hurricane, then you need to remove that part of the description and drop the price.

6. Please put chairs and tables along the sides of the pool for nonsmoking adults who want to get together to play Uno. The smokers had the best setup: alcoves with plenty of tables and chairs.

7. Don’t accidentally put salt instead of sugar in the meringue on the first day. That puts people off the desserts for the rest of the time.

8. If you go to the trouble of having an “authentic” British pub, then have the decency to have Guinness on tap. Do not serve it in a can.

9. If you want to entice people to come to the spa, locate it near a window. No one wants to spend money for the steam rooms/hot seats if they are going to be staring at wood paneling. Also, train your masseuses to give an actual massage. If I want to have someone just pat me a few times on the back, I’ll hire one of my kids (and it will only cost me permission to buy a Fortnite battle pass.)

10. If you say you are going to have a volleyball tournament, then you need to have that volleyball tournament. Some people (Not naming any names, Patrick) plan their whole day around it. Don’t make people have to get loud on vacation.

 

11. Please require hairnets or hats for all those who handle food. There were too many hairs in the buffet to count. (And that’s just gross.)

The moral of the story is this: Bigger is not always better.

Sorry, Royal family.

Calling Carnival for next year’s trip,
Beth

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Dear Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival Organizers:

I wanted to like your festival. Heck, I wanted to LOVE it. Grilled cheese and beer — what’s not to love?

Well …

Here’s a short list:

1. The ticket price
Tickets were $30 plus service fees, making them $35.16. Festival entry, three samples, admittance to the “beer garden,” and live music were included in the price. Still seems a bit steep.

2. The samples
This is more my fault than yours, but I thought that with a ticket price that high, samples would be generous. At least a sandwich or half a sandwich. Nope, a quarter, if that. So 3/4 of a sandwich was included in the price. Yes, they were yummy, but …

3. The “beer garden”
That lofty-sounding moniker turned out to be one tent with about seven kinds of beer in cans: two craft and five crap. Some were not even cold. And they cost $7.

4. Live music
It was Christian music.

5. The heat
Brookhaven Park might as well have been the surface of the sun. Very little shade, 90+ degrees. Within five minutes, I’m sure that every single person in attendance had a steaming undercarriage. This event was supposed to be in April, which would have been much better. Can I suggest moving it to November or December? Or even an Oktoberfest event would be good. No one likes being hot while eating hot cheese.

This is about the extent of the festival. Disappointing.

6. The selection
When you said there was an “amateur division” for voting purposes, I naturally assumed there would be a medley of vendors. There was one amateur entry. One.

The professional vendors almost made up for the lack of amateurs. Just look at this menu board:

The “Hot Mess” was delicious. However, my favorite was the “Sour D” at a different place:

Garlic buttered sourdough toast with American cheese, avocado and bacon. Yes, please.

Anyway, if this is the way it is going to be next year, you are going to have to lower your ticket price. This was, at most, a $10 experience.

Now, if you want to add full-size sandwiches, beer samples and an indoor location in the summer, that’s different.

Yours in love of cheese,
Beth

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Dear Cruise Buffet Patrons:

Unlike most people apparently, I do not go on a cruise to eat. I go on a cruise to turn off my phone without guilt and spend time reading magazines and playing Uno with friends and family.

Some of you live for the food. That is clear from your behavior during the times I did visit the buffet for sustenance.

Unfortunately, you left your manners back in port (if you had them to begin with).

Let me offer a refresher on proper buffet behavior:

  • DO wear shoes. Yes, this goes for your kids too.
  • DO pull up your pants. Ass crack is not appetizing.
  • DO take advantage of the hand sanitizer at the door. No one wants your germs anywhere near the food.
  • DO understand that there is enough food for everyone. I guarantee it. No need to shove. For example, just look at this mound of bacon:

At least one pig was more than harmed in the making of this pork pile.

  • DO say “thank you” if someone hands you the bacon tongs. DO NOT be a jerk.
  • DO say excuse me if your belly nearly knocks over a child. It’s just the right thing to do.
  • DO be nice to the wait staff. They work 10 hours a day for seven months with few breaks.
  • DO take small portions of the things you want to try. The best thing about a buffet is that you can go back for more if you are still hungry. Otherwise, you are throwing away good food.

    So much food goes to waste on a cruise.

  • DO chew with your mouth closed. You should have learned this by now.
  • DO NOT, under any circumstances, start talking if you have food in your mouth. Please.
  • DO NOT eat your steak with one hand while you walk around the buffet area with your plate in the other. (True story.) It’s shocking I would have to remind you that good manners dictate that steak is to be eaten at the table with a knife and fork.
  • Really, DO NOT eat anything off your plate or the buffet in the buffet area.

To be honest, this list goes for all buffets everywhere – not just on a cruise. If necessary, print this list for future reference. Your fellow diners will thank you.

Sincerely supportive of sneezeguards,
Beth

 

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Dear Friends Who Also Are Parenting Boys:

In my last post, I asked you to tell me the crazy things you never thought you would say. My Facebook feed blew up with sentences that did not disappoint.

Here they are in all their glory, along with the name of the beleaguered parent who shared (thank you!):

  • “Stop touching Jackson’s penis, you have your own.” [Jackson is a dog.] (Maya)
  • “Is that poop or mud? Wait, let me smell it.” (Wendy)
  • “Is that poop or chocolate?” (Stephanie)
  • “Quit playing with your penis in the living room.” (Afton)
  • “Get your balls off the counter.” [Yes, THOSE balls.] (Also Afton)
  • “Stop wiping your boogers on the ________.” (Afton again)
  • “That IS a big poo-poo!” (Still Afton)
  • “Oh please don’t pee on me.” (Elizabeth, mother of a newborn)
  • “Wash your feet. Every. Day.” (Amy)
  • “Washing includes more than just standing under the water! Use soap. All over your body. Rub it around. All over your body. Then rinse it all off.” (Mary)
  • “How have you survived 9 years of life … you’re just now figuring out what happens when you stick something metal into an electrical outlet?!” (Also Mary)
  • “Why does the upstairs smell like piss?! I swear to almighty God if I open your toilet lid and find you haven’t flushed upstairs in days, I will bolt this bathroom shut and you can go in the yard.” (Mary Catherine. And also, he did. And she did. And he did for a week.)
  • Wash your hands! Use soap!” (Mary Catherine again)
  • “Don’t lie to me; that’s the same pair of underwear you’ve had on for 3 days. You smell.” (Still Mary Catherine)
  • “Wiggle wiggle wiggle. Wiggle wiggle wiggle.” (Mary Catherine again, reporting that this came from the shower)
  • “Stop behaving like an animal.” The reply: “But mom, I am just a mammal.” (Mary Catherine FTW)
  • “NO chain saws in the living room!” (Said to both father and son, according to Vanessa)
  • “We don’t jump on the trampoline with our penises out. Put it back in your underwear.” (Amber)
  • “Yes, you’re allowed to say ‘bad ass’ in this instance, but don’t go making a habit of it, ya got me?” (Said by Billy, referring to a suit of armor for an imaginary man cave)
  • “You can’t just come back to life after your brother killed you!” Don’t cheat; you’re now on the sidelines until all the kids are dead!” (Eddie)
  • “Um is that TP hanging from your butt? Did you even finishing going? If you leave it there it dries on and is harder to get off. OK in the bath tub.” (Erika)
  • “Do not call yourself Lil’ Woody at recess.”(Kelley)
  • “Don’t put your penis on the TV.” (Chrissy)
  • “Don’t wipe boogers on the cat!” (Marguerite)
  • “Go ahead. Whatever happens is on you.” (Kimberly)
  • The son: “I just want to climb this tree.” The mom: “Go ahead, and see how far you get.” The reply: “You’re always ruining my fun.” (Kimberly again)
  • “Who put the athletic cup in my purse?” (Caroline)
  • “The dog brought three waffles down from your room today. Stop leaving food up there!” (Caroline again)
  • “How can you still be hungry? You just ate a footlong Subway!” (Also Caroline)
  • “Why are there empty cereal boxes in the pantry?” (More Caroline)
  • “Get the earbuds out of your ears! I’m talking to you.” (Still Caroline)
  • “I don’t care who started it! Just stop!” (Caroline one more time)
  • “Don’t bite your toenails. That’s just gross.” (Caroline has three boys)
  • “We do not eat people!” (Stephanie)
  • “You can NOT go to school naked!(Stephanie again)
  • “If you’re not dressed in 2 minutes, you’re going to school naked.” (Stephanie with the mixed message)
  • Son #1: “Mom! He’s looking out my window!”
    Son #2: Continuing to stare intently out his brother’s window.
    Me: “He’s breathing your air too so get over it.” (Pam)
  • Those clothes/that camping gear/that (pick a sport) uniform cannot touch the carpet anywhere in the house.” (Michele)
  • “No, you cannot eat the whole chicken/roast/side of beef. Leave some for the rest of us.” (More Michele)
  • “Socks, especially stiff ones, go in the laundry basket.” (Michele one more time)
  • “You are not leaving this house until you figure out what that awful smell in your room is.” (Shital)
  • “Get that mulch/beetle/mustard bottle out of your mouth!” (Shital again)
  • Are you ever going to remember to flush the toilet?” (Nicole)
  • “Do you realize that not doing your homework makes me want to strangle you?” (More Nicole)
  • “OK, how about let’s try that again, but this time tell the truth.” (Nicole again)
  • “It’s fine with me if you can’t get your driver’s license until you’re 18.” (One more from Nicole)
  • “You must flush the toilet every time you use it! There is pee all over the floor!” (Amanda)
  • “I am not your maid!” (Also Amanda)
  • “Hey! Stop! No [sniffing] armpits.” (Candy)

There are a few themes here, including being preoccupied with body fluids and functions. And I know from being married to a man that not much changes in adulthood.

Yours in solidarity,
Beth

P.S. Parents of girls, I don’t want you to feel left out. I’ll post your crazy comments too. Please share them below or via Twitter, email, DM, Facebook, Hando’s Instagram page — whatever!

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Dear Parents of Boys,

A little more than eight years ago, I posted my Top 10 recent quotes as a mom. I thought of that list this week because I could not believe some of the things I’ve had to say to the boys, now 11 and 13. Here’s the 2018 expanded version:

  1. Put on some pants before you hug me. I don’t want you to drape your wiener across my leg.
  2. Esmeralda* is off today. Get this underwear off the floor.
  3. Please clean your bathroom. There’s all sorts of fluid all over the mirror.
  4. I’ve clocked out for the night. Ask your father; he’s on call.
  5. It’s not appropriate to flick food across the cafeteria.
  6. Please get your hands out of your pants.
  7. Be quiet! You sound like a howler monkey.
  8. Stop eating — it’s almost bedtime!
  9. You have to open this door and let the air circulate. It smells like ass in here.
  10. You can’t watch “Game of Thrones” with us. (And no, I don’t like Jon Snow better than Daddy!)
  11. Yes, you have to go to school today.
  12. No, you cannot eat granola bars for dinner.
  13. No, you cannot watch yet another episode of “Teen Titans Go!
  14. It’s time to get off the Xbox. Yes, now. I don’t care about your “Fortnite” mission.
  15. Keep your hands to yourself. (How often do I say this? Every. Single. Day.)

Not much has changed from 2010, really. (And yes, I also tell them regularly that I love them.)

Please tell me I am not alone. What things have you said recently that you never thought you’d say? Tell me in the comments.

In the meantime, I’ll pray for you if you pray for me!

Sending strength,
Beth

* The name of our make-believe housekeeper

 

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Dear Tommy Stinson,

You now have the distinction of being the star of two of the weirdest nights of my life.

One was back in The Replacements days in the ’90s. You and I shared a moment, but that’s a story for another day.

The second was Saturday night at the Atlanta show of your Cowboys in the Campfire tour.

My usual partner in crime was indisposed, so I drug my long-suffering husband out to the luckily very early (7 p.m.) event.

I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t this:

There’s a reason I don’t like Bob Dylan. WTF are you singing, Tommy? You were a bass prodigy. Besides The Replacements, you were the bassist for Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum. What are you doing? I do appreciate wanting to try something different (I’m president of that club), but …

Sigh.

When the merch selling began, I knew what I wouldn’t be buying. (I’m so sorry; it’s just not for me.)

You know what I did buy? Your Co-Cowboy Chip’s spice blend.

That’s right.

I went to a concert and bought Uncle Sippy’s Seasoning Blend. And because this wasn’t strange enough, I decided to get it signed too.

Apparently, Chip used to be a chef.

Here is Chef Chip telling me that this is NOT a rub, and I should not use it as a rub.

While you were signing my souvenir, one of your people said I should let you take a selfie of us.

“He takes the best selfies,” the guy said.
“OK. Sure,” I said.

So you took a selfie. This is the result:

It certainly was not what I anticipated. But you were so nice to amuse a long-time fan.

Anyway, thanks for an odd night. We are two for two.

And Eddie and I were home by 9:30.

See you in another 25 years or so.

I’ll expect the unexpected.
Beth

P.S. Tell Chip the seasoning blend is delicious!

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Dear 1980s,

I’ve been thinking about you lately. It should be no surprise as I just wrote a post about growing up as your child. For those who did not experience you (or don’t remember because of all the crack cocaine), let me walk through your decade via all five senses.*

SMELL: Love’s Baby Soft and Polo by Ralph Lauren

Love's Baby Barf

Love’s Baby Soft, made of the tears of girls who realized they could never be real princesses, smelled like baby powder and desperation, roses and acne medicine. Every female wore it. How could our teachers stand it?

 

 

 

Polo by Ralph Lauren, made of the seeping testosterone of pubescent boys, smelled like cat piss in pine straw. Every boy wore it except my friend Rob. He wore Lagerfeld, I think. At any rate, it was something different, and I loved him.

 

 

 

SIGHT: Jessica McClintock and Bugle Boy

Little House on Central DriveFor any event — school dance, church, confirmation, scheduled pining for John Taylor, etc. — you were not a real girl unless you had a Jessica McClintock for Gunne Sax dress. Every dress had lace or florals — often both. I don’t know what kind of fever dream we all were having, but we looked like we were trying to channel Laura Ingalls Wilder. These concoctions went well with the Love’s Baby Soft, and the hope by our parents that our vaginas would stay hidden forever. I think I had the dress to the left. I remember it itched.

 

Every boy in my school, fat or thin, tall or short, wore black parachute pants. No one looked good in them. No one. So many pockets. Yet you couldn’t put anything in those pockets because the pants were so freakin’ tight. I think the boys had to tuck to get them on.

 

 

 

SOUND: Pac-Man and Rush

There is no sound as distinctive as the sound of the game in action. That and, of course, the sound of the meet-cute cut scene with Ms. Pac-Man on her version. It was what was playing in the background of every attempted hookup in the arcade when we girls had shed our Gunne Sax dresses and slid into high-waisted acid-wash jeans. The boys remained encased in their parachute pants, probably until they could be cut out of them at night by their parents (who likely were thrilled that the sperm count had to be way down).

 

Every boy in my social circle went apeshit over Rush. “Moving Pictures,” “Signals,” “Grace Under Pressure” — they dissected each album like an archaeologist examines microscopic fossil fragments. Granted, I hung out with band geeks. In this dark period, we girls were left to our own devices, mooning over Rick Springfield, Duran Duran and George Michael (we didn’t know) until the boys started paying attention to us again in 10th grade.

 

TASTE: Jell-o Pudding Pops and Cool Ranch Doritos

At this point in time, the world loved Bill Cosby, and he loved to shill Jell-o Pudding Pops. We just added it to the rest of the sugar we were inhaling every day, all day. We started off with Smurf Berry Crunch cereal, gnawed on jawbreakers, Twizzlers and Nerds all day, then ended with Jell-o Pudding Pops. No wonder we loved neon. Our mood matched.

 

When Cool Ranch Doritos came out, our collective heads exploded. We had no idea such flavors existed in the world. And God help you if you had a party and did not provide the Cool Ranch Doritos. You would feel a cool breeze from former friends come Monday. (And yes, boys and girls, that is Jay Leno hawking them.)

 

TOUCH: Aqua Net and private parts

For our hair to reach such death-defying heights as expected, we needed Aqua Net. It would coat our hair with a layer of lacquer that repelled rain, hands, sonic blasts, etc. Pity the fool who would try to touch our perms crowned by sky-high bangs.

Here’s a wee little photo of me during the Aqua Net era (because any larger would make your eyes bleed). I think I’m wearing a half a can of Aqua Net. I could have fallen on my head from a great height and been totally fine.

 

 

In addition to getting to know our own parts, we also were getting to know the parts of others — at the arcade, on bleachers, in the back of movie theaters, in cars, in AP History class. (What’s that you say? Just me? Well then.) What a wonderful time to be alive! All the bits a tingling.

 

Some say there is a sixth sense. I can assure you that we did not have it then. For example, I thought I might have a chance with Mike M. When my friend Kari asked him, though, she was told to bring me back the news that I was a “dog.” Oh. OK. Back to Andrew McCarthy for me.

Anyway, I miss you sometimes, but I don’t miss the angst associated with growing up.

Thanks for the memories.

Love,
Beth

 

*I apologize that these reflections are gender- and heteronormative. These are my personal recollections as a cisgendered straight person.

 

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