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I’m about to do something I’ve never done. See below. (And I’m not sure why my hair looks gray on top. It’s not.)

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen on the Weight Struggle Bus:

I know your pain. I was with you in more than spirit a year ago. As a reminder, here’s a photo from Trish the Human’s wedding on Sept. 9 last year:

I cringe when I see that photo. I’m clearly trying — and failing — to hide behind Dominic.

Here’s a photo from a year earlier:

Notice the body language. (I’d say to notice the dark, slimming colors, but I wear black despite how much of me there is.)

I was MISERABLE. How to hide in photos was the least of my worries.

Bigger worries:

  • High cholesterol
  • Inability to give campus tours without getting out of breath (especially up one particular hill)
  • Ridiculous amount of self consciousness
  • Negative self talk
  • Wardrobe reduced by 80 percent
  • Snoring
  • Sleeping even less than I do now
  • Hot all the damn time

I’ve shared with you my turning point. It’s different for everyone, but let me say this about that:

It is NEVER going to get easier.

There is no magic pill.

Surgery can be a fix for some but still requires changes in eating habits.

You have to decide you are going to do something about your health. Then DO IT.

The program I chose worked for me*, but may not work for you.

Despite the fact that I’m married to someone in the CrossFit Cult (or maybe, actually, BECAUSE of that), I hate exercising. I lost almost 50 pounds by controlling what went in my piehole.

Now that I’ve lost the weight, I go to the gym three times a week for my Biddy Boot Camp.

I hit my goal weight in April, and I have maintained it with very little effort.

I FEEL GREAT!

That’s what I say to anyone who will listen. People not even living with me notice the difference.

To that end, I’m going to do something I’ve never, ever done — and never would have done if I hadn’t lost the weight: Publicly post a bikini pic. No filter. No cropping. No Photoshop.

Here we go.

I know I still have some work to do, but I feel more confident than I have in more than 15 years. I’m brave enough to take and share this photo, anyway.

And if this move inspires even ONE of you to make a change for your sake and for the sake of your family, then my nervousness at doing it will have been worth it.

If I can do it, you can too. I believe in you.

Love and all my best wishes for a healthier you,
Beth

 

* Eddie is now a coach in the program. Send me a message if you want me to hook you up.

 

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Dear Dudes,

When you hear “girls’ night out” or “ladies weekend,” what do you think goes on?

One of my friends said, “Hair braiding and pillow fights in lingerie.” He’s been watching too much … of a certain … uh … genre.

Another said, “Drinking and dragging guys. And dancing too.”

In my experience, the latter is more accurate. But perhaps I don’t get out enough. Or it’s that I have fairly tame friends.

Here’s a peek into what happened at a recent get-together with some female friends of mine. We’ve been friends since we bonded in some work trenches more than 15 years ago.

THE GOOD

1. Pedicures. No ladies weekend is complete without a trip to the nail salon.

2. Exercise. All of us got in a little exercise by walking and talking on the beach.

Goat Yoga Lisa went a little further (naturally): Pushups at 10 p.m. Aimee provided resistance. I provided Eddie via FaceTime so he could critique her form.

THE BAD

1. Junk food. This was not a time to be healthy.

 

Just look at the food and beverages visible in this photo. Note that Becky has thoughts on Oyster Bay: “It’s no Sutter Home.”

2. Adult beverages. Some people come prepared.

THE UGLY

1. Celebrity behavior. If the trashy magazines we purchased with the wine and junk food are any indication, you are not allowed to pull your bathing suit out of your butt. For shame, Britney! (Just kidding. That’s normal behavior for all of us.)

2. Everyone but us. This is the real story of ladies weekend: It’s a time to vent and commiserate. Stop, collaborate and listen.

Becky regaled us with stories of the Top Tier Type A moms at her children’s school who are wound up about pee on the seat in the bathrooms. Apparently Decatur and East Lake are filled with choice personalities who are EXTREMELY involved in a variety of aspects of community life. One of her friends is consumed with a street sign.

Aimee: Does she have a lot of time on her hands?
Becky: Well, she’s single and has no kids.
Lisa: That means yes.

And speaking of kids, yes, we tell those tales too. We’re trying hard not to scar them like we were scarred.

Aimee: When I was 12, my stepfather gave me a shirt from Hooters that said “More than a mouthful.”
The rest of us: <Loud groans of dismay>

The bottom line?

Yes, there was some drinking and dragging.

A couple of us did a few steps of “Single Ladies,” but I’m not sure I’d classify that little bit as dancing.

I did toss a throw pillow at Lisa, but we didn’t braid each other’s hair.

The sleepwear of choice was the T-shirt/pajama pants combo, not lingerie.

So, there you have it: A peek behind the ladies weekend curtain.

Probably not all that you thought it would be.

Sorry, not sorry.

They don’t exist to please you. In fact, you guys are more often than not the reason they exist.

🙂

Love you anyway,
Beth

 

 

* Thanks, Kool & The Gang!

 

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Dear Dominic,

Sigh.

You’ve been so great for the past few weeks. Why did you have to ruin it?

I woke you up yesterday at 10:30 because our friend Harry was taking us on his boat. Let me remind you of our conversation, as your memory is trash.

Me: “Get up. We’re leaving to go on Harry’s boat in an hour. You need to get breakfast and get all these clothes off the floor.”

You (loud): “Why do we have to go? I don’t want to go! Can’t just you and Gideon go?” (Insert more bitching.)

Me: “Do you realize how stupid you sound? You are mad that I’m trying to get you to go on a boat on Lake Lanier, possibly even go water skiing! What’s wrong with you?”

(Side note: Eddie is out of town.)

This is what’s wrong with you: You don’t get enough sleep.

Once you got a few snacks in you, you were fine.

(Side note 2: Why do you have to eat like a savage?)

And that gave you enough strength to go water skiing.

I know you were sorry you acted like such a butthole, because later, when we were swimming, you would not leave Harry and me alone. You were all up in our conversation.

Harry and I have been friends for 27 years. We have things to discuss that don’t concern you.

So next time, could you PLEASE save your anger and drama for AFTER you see if you hate the activity?

Kthxbye,
Your aggravated mother

* Nod to Guns N’ Roses

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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:

img_8037

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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