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Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

Dear Music Lovers,

I last wrote to you more than a year ago to share my favorite playlists.

I was reminded of that post today because I had lunch with an old friend who was influential in developing my musical tastes.

He created a fantastic mix tape for me back in the day.

I don’t save a ton of things — I’m not a hoarder! — but I saved all the mix tapes I received. As I knew Mike and I were meeting, I dug his out this morning to bring to lunch to show him. (I did this in the living room in my underwear, scarring Gideon for life. But that’s another story.)

I miss the days of mix tapes. They were an essential part of the courting ritual. You liked someone, then carefully crafted a tape that would do three things:

1. Indicate your feelings. You could be obscure or obvious.

2. Introduce the recipient to new music. And show off your own coolness. Or not.

3. Tell a complete story. Flow was key. It was a narrative.

I always went one step further (of course) and decorated the paper sleeve. I would find a great image from a magazine or newspaper (I’m old, y’all), cut it precisely, and glue it to the cardboard. I’d list all the songs on the other side.

It was a task to create these because you had to time everything out perfectly to fit the tape plus switch out albums.

Playlists are easier to create and share today, but I don’t get the impression they are as much a part of the getting-to-know-you phase. They certainly don’t provoke the same feeling as when someone you liked would hand you a tape. You couldn’t wait to get in your car (!) or get home to listen to it to see if they felt the same way you did.

For the record, Mike and I were and are great friends. No big romance. The purpose of this tape was to introduce me to new music. (But it’s true we were very flirty.)

I recreated it in iTunes:

Mike was tickled that I still had it.

“These songs definitely represent an era,” he said.

True that.

Here’s a picture of Mike taking a picture of the playlist. He was as amused as I was.

If you’re feeling industrious, send me a playlist. It can have a message. Or not. I’m always open to new music, as I think I’ve demonstrated.

Vinyly yours,
Beth

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Dear Carnival:

It was so great to see you again. I’m sorry our three-family tribe cheated on you with Royal Caribbean.

It won’t happen again.

You have everything we want:

Comfy chairs where Edgar can nap, and Pat can play his games

Photographers willing to take unusual pics

Plans

Limited tolerance (for what, I’m not sure)

Maybe for Swedish girls throwing gang signs (?)

Places for Uno battles to break out

PLENTY of places

Places to play with children too

Even enough room to pay a push-up penalty if you are too loud while playing Uno

An unflappable wait staff

Exotic food liked smoked oysters with some kind of weird froth

Games designed to titillate while taking Edgar’s money

Elevators big enough for parties of 11

The ability to get intimate with sea life

And, most importantly, the chance for friends to get together and have fun year after year

There is only one thing we needed but couldn’t have: unlimited bacon.

Fix that, and we’ll love you forever.

Still, we’ll see you next year.

Wet, sloppy stingray kisses,
Beth

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Dear Lisa (aka Goat Yoga Lisa),

You are a great friend. One of the best. Not only do you play Bingo with me, write guest posts, and let me stay in your house all the time, but you also loan me your husband.

Well, Rob loaned himself, really.

And it truly was a shock to all of us hanging out in your living room.

When I said I needed a dress to wear to do the weather* because the chroma wall hated the one I brought, you said you would go with me.

But then Rob piped up and said, “I’ll go with you.”

You, Gunner and I swiveled to look at him. Silence. Two eye blinks each.

Me: “Wait. You will go DRESS SHOPPING with me?”
Rob: “Yeah! I’ll go.”

Maybe it was the wine talking. He vinoteered.

Or maybe he is jealous of all the blog space devoted to you.

Or maybe he just wanted to hang out with his pal Beth.

He might have regretted it in the morning. But then I brought him bacon in bed. (That sounds way saucier than it was. You were there. You made the bacon. You suggested I take it to him.)

He might have regretted it when we got ready to go. But then he filled a to-go cup with wine for fortification.

He might have regretted it when we got in the car. But then I put the convertible top down and fired up a great rock playlist.

Rob seemed to be having a good time in the store. This was his first selection:

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Thank God he was just joking.

Then he suggested a housedress with a belt. Ha ha, very funny.

We headed to the fitting room with three contenders. Rob, the fitting room lady and I unanimously chose the third option.

We were in and out of the store in 15 minutes. For real. He was in shock.

Rob: “It’s like a blur.”
Me: “You didn’t even finish your wine.”
Rob: “I was just sipping, but now I don’t need to.”

We did have to stop by the CVS on the way home. But Rob even helped with the ridiculous receipt.

We were back at your house just 30 minutes after we left.

Me: “Thanks for the date!”
Rob: “It was fun!”
Me: “Did you actually just say it was fun?”
Rob: “Yeah, it really was.”

I’m pretty darn proud of us.

To my additional astonishment (that Rob — full of surprises), he really took ownership of the situation. After my segment in the early newscast, you told me he said “his” dress looks great.

Then Gunner sent me this message:

And then the man, the myth, the dress baron himself weighed in after the later newscast:

So, I give thanks to you for the loaner spouse, and loads of thanks to Rob. He’s like my hubs away from home!

See you when I’m back in Savannah.

Love to you and the super shopper you married,
Beth

* I can’t believe I’m still filling in at the TV station after all these years.

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Dear Vegans,

God bless you, every one. How do you manage to find things to eat every day?

I’m sure things have gotten slightly easier for you (as more and more people make the choice), but it certainly is a challenge to find food that is completely free from animal products.

Eddie and I are hosting friends next month, one of whom is one of you. I’ve been road-testing recipes: shepherd’s pie, chickpea and avocado wraps, tamales, etc.

Japanese gyoza nearly was the death of me, though.

It’s one of my favorite things to make, thanks to the excellent tutelage of my friend Miwa.

However, I usually buy the pre-made skins from the Asian market down the road. It makes life so much easier.

But said skins have eggs.

Ruh roh, Raggy.

So I went to the vegan section of Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). I found wonton skins, which will do in a pinch. Checked ingredients list to be safe.

So those wouldn’t work. I went to two other granola-people stores. No luck. In fact, one helpful cashier checked his supplier’s site to see if vegan wonton/gyoza/dumpling/potsticker wrappers existed. They don’t, apparently.

Back at home, I decided to make my own.

Oh yes, I did.

And that’s how I found myself up to my eyebrows in brown rice and tapioca flour yesterday afternoon.

I don’t have photos of the process because my hands were covered in flour for hours. I do have an image of the (uncooked) finished product:

As for the taste, I’d say they closely resembled my usual recipe. A little off, but not by much.

If anything, this little experiment has made me aware of just how many animal products we consume daily — even when we don’t think we are consuming any.

Wishing you all the best, and hoping you continue to have more and better options,
Beth

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Dear People Who Don’t Understand My Love of Bad Taxidermy:

First, you don’t have to understand. You don’t live with me. (Unless you are Eddie, who does have to live with me and spends most of his time rolling his eyes and sighing.)

Second, what’s there to understand? I think it’s funny. Maybe you don’t. Fine. I don’t judge your love of period dramas and pumpkin spice brisket. (That’s a thing, right?)

Third, if you must know, I can trace it back to early 2014. Eddie and I were chaperones for one of the boys’ field trips, and we were waiting for the school bus to arrive. BuzzFeed put out a listicle of top 10 examples of bad taxidermy. Eddie and I laughed ourselves to tears recreating the poor creatures that made the list. Like this:

It still makes me laugh.

And so I started posting other examples of bad taxidermy on people’s Facebook pages as birthday greetings. Totally normal behavior. Right? Right?!

Then I got my first piece of bad taxidermy: a squirrel tail in the shape of a question mark.

It was a thank-you gift from a graduate student after she successfully defended her thesis. I was her chair. She gave it to me and said, “I saw this and thought of you because you like bad taxidermy and wrote question marks all over drafts of my thesis.”

True.

The tail led to a deer head from the 1950s, then a deer tail plaque with a thermometer (a furmometer!), then a blowfish ornament, then Hando.

Now, people see this and think of me:

And that’s fine by me. (I immediately thought, “Christmas gift!”)

You still don’t get it?

Well, I don’t know what to tell you. Many people do get it, and get me. Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) would.

Maybe you can just scroll on past. Or look away. It really only matters that I think it’s hilarious. That’s my thing. You find yours. I support you.

Yours in foam forms and glass eyes,
Beth

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Dear Friends:

I’ve always been fascinated by astrology. You probably could have guessed this, but I’m a Sagittarius. A textbook Sagittarius.

A boss I had in college ran my chart, and shared with me that I have Virgo rising. That explained so much: my touch of OCD, Type A personality, mad copyediting skilz, obsession with my calendar.

I recently started following Astro Poets on Twitter* – an account that makes me laugh regularly. Consider that the inspiration for the following list.

Signs of the Zodiac and my feelings about people born under them:

Aries (March 21-April 19)
This is probably the best match for me. Nothing I do scares/worries an Aries. Eddie, Brian, Hannah – all Aries.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Ruh roh, Raggy. Danger, Will Robinson. Males and females of this sign mystify me. I am routinely bothered by their stubbornness and tendency to be passive aggressive (except Petra who is the most straightforward person I know — must have a Sag rising). My dad was a Taurus. (Hey there, daddy issues!)

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
I don’t think I know any female Geminis (out yourself in the comments if I’m wrong), but I dig the dudes. I dated one in college, and we are still friends. (He is the one who reminded me about my Tommy Stinson experience.) Johnny Depp is a Gemini. I’m sure we would be “friends.” Gideon is a Gemini. We get along swimmingly.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Two of my closest friends – one from high school (Julia) and one from college (36-hour Tina) – are Cancers. Frequent partner in crime René is a Cancer. My mom was a Cancer. (Can you imagine? A Taurus and a Cancer trying to parent a Sagittarius? I was like a zoo exhibit to them.) One thing though: Don’t ever get on a Cancer’s bad side.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
They can be arrogant (for good reason), but I always get along well with Leos.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
The workaholic sign (right, Sophia and Patty-poo?). They love them some calendar invites. Thanks to my Virgo rising, I get it.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
We get along like gangbusters then … crickets. I’ve gotten sudden radio silence from both men and women. Then weeks, months, sometimes years later, we’re back on, and I’m still bewildered. Libra women are masters of the silent treatment.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Scorpio is to me as catnip is to cats. Longest-term boyfriend? Scorpio. Adam Ant? Scorpio. Emma Stone (on whom I have a girl crush)? Scorpio. Like Libras, they can do silent treatment. Flurry of communication, then dead air.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Interestingly enough, the men of this sign can be troublesome for me because we may be too much alike. Dominic is a fellow Sag, and every day brings a new friction point. The women, though? Different story. Fast friendships that last forever. (Hey Khaki and Kim!)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
I love male Capricorns. I dated a Capricorn, and we are still friends. They always have a fantastic sense of humor and like to push the envelope just as much as I do. No surprise that The Royce, my Savannah BFF, is a goat. Female Capricorns tend to hate me. I think I’m too much for them.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Two close female friends are Aquarians. I bond with one over volleyball and the other over Duran Duran. An ex is an Aquarian, and he’s a great human. Very funny. All good.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Another catnip sign. Pisces men are completely irresistible to me. My longest-running crush in grade/high school was a Pisces. Every one I’ve known has been an artist of some sort. They tend to be awful about consistent (read: normal) written communication (text, email, social media), which drives me crazy. My friend Edgar — a painter (the fine artist kind, not the house kind) — is a Pisces. This is what his phone looks like usually.

The women in my life who are this sign are fantastic, and I love them all. They are good electronic communicators.

As a Sag, I’m blunt by nature. I certainly don’t want to upset anyone. These obviously are generalities. And, of course, I don’t know the zodiac sign of many people I interact with every day.

So tell me your sign in the comments. We’ll either laugh knowingly or be surprised.

And if you are a male Pisces or a Scorpio, send photos privately so I can admire you from a distance.

Just kidding.

Maybe.

(Eh, I know your communication style, so I don’t have to worry.)

Yours in pseudoscience,
The Archer

*All images in this post attributed to that account.

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Dear Moms of My Sons’ Friends:

I admit I felt trepidation about meeting you. It was like a blind date, and the person setting it up was Great Aunt Bertie who has the sugars and farts like the Beefareeno horse in “Seinfeld.”

My sons love your sons and want to be with them all the time.

But what if I thought you were pretentious or annoying?

What if I hated you?

What if you hated me?

Following blind dating rules, we agreed to meet in a neutral place: Monkey Joe’s. The skating rink. Bowling.

We shyly introduced ourselves. We talked about neutral topics such as the school our boys attend. You laughed at one of my sarcastic remarks.

I dared to hope there was more where that came from.

We became Facebook friends. The boys and I came over to your house. Or you and your boys came over to mine. The kids had sleepovers. We updated each other via text or photos via Messenger.

We used each other as a touchstone for normalcy: “Yeah? ME TOO!”

Suddenly, we were making plans independent of the boys. They didn’t need to ask to get together because we already were.

During this holiday season when you are doing so much for everyone else, let me take a moment of your time to tell you how much I appreciate you for being you. For being cool. For being my friend too.

Love,
Beth

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