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Dear Friends,

Back in my day (someone get me my walker), we cruised around Stone Mountain Park after school.

Now the Dunkin’ Donuts is the hangout.

According to Dominic, the crowd is hit or miss.

Last Friday featured quite a crowd, though. When I went to get him and Gideon, I decided I needed an iced coffee.

Inside, I practically needed a machete to hack through the hormones in the air.

As soon as I got back in the car, I got hit with this:

Dominic: At least the thots we liked last year were cute. These are obnoxious and covered in acne. These seventh and eighth graders are awful. Gideon is more mature than any of them.

Gideon, an eighth grader: I really am. It’s true.

Dominic: He can take a hit too.

Me: Wait. What?

Apparently they went to a nearby park before DD to play football.

And that’s why they didn’t want me to pick them up too soon. And ignored my texts.

Dominic: I saw your question mark. Mama, we was out with the boys.

(Gideon informed me it’s supposed to be written this way: “We was out wit da bois.” Shudder.)

During said football game, Dominic had a run-in with a tree.

He saw it as an occasion to go into full drama mode.

I do have to tell you all that he’s been mostly great since he started ninth grade. More from Friday:

Dominic: There are three girls who said they caught feelings for me.

Me: Do you like any of them?

Dominic: Naw. I gotta get me those As.

(Not with that grammar you don’t. But I digress.)

It’s true that the notifications I’ve been getting from Campus Parent have not made my blood pressure spike.

And I made him laugh this week too. We were trying to edge into traffic, and I wanted to slide in front of a particular car.

Me: I’m going to slip in here because Drake isn’t paying attention.

Dominic: [Looks up from his phone to see my reference.]

Me: [Pulling in front and waving] Thanks, KeKe!

Dominic: [Looks at me in shock and actually chuckles.]

Me: You’re impressed I knew that aren’t you?

Dominic: Yes, because you listen to this [referencing The Pixies coming out of the speaker]!

Me: Listen: They were a seminal act of the late ’80s.

Dominic: [Exaggerated eye roll]

So, friends, I’m hoping we’ve turned a corner. (Don’t tell me it won’t last. Let me have my delusions.)

Cautiously optimistic,
Beth

 

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Dear DJ Pauly D,

Thanks for a great night! The only thing that would have made it better is if you had brought your boyfriend and mine: Vinny.

As everyone who knows me and/or reads this blog is painfully aware, I love “Jersey Shore” and all the permutations. Your bromance with Vinny gives me life.

Knowing my jones for Jerzday, it should be no surprise that I HAD to go see you when you came to Atlanta.

I would have loved to take Gideon. We’re couch chooches. But it was a 21+ show, and he’s 13. Eddie was my lucky Plus One.

As I walked out the door, Gideon demanded photos and videos. Of course I obliged.

If only he had written, “Yeah, Buddy!”

Contrast that with my other son, aka Captain Crankypants.

He’s also punctuation challenged.

There was a lady in the loo who was challenged too — challenged by the soap dispenser. She kept banging on it and hollering, “I need soap! I need soap and Jesus!”

I’m not sure if she got either. I left to see the rest of your set.

It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

You spun for hours. I was impressed.

And even sported a Braves jersey!

Your other buddy was represented well too.

Thanks for putting on a fantastic show!

Love and fist pumps,
Beth

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Dear Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood:

I had never visited you before last night, but I’m old enough to remember when you were just the Lakewood Amphitheater — much less fancy, and inexplicably easier to get to via public transportation.

(Side note: What is Cellairis? A constellation? Anxiety drug? Wiener go-go juice?)

Anyway, a $20 ticket special for Nelly, TLC and Flo Rida was enough to get me off my couch and onto your lawn — with the kids even.

However, when the first cloud of weed smoke wafted over, I began to question my parenting choices.

I’m not the only one who should question choices.

Take, for example, this scene:

Let’s break this down.

In blue, a gaggle of girls in Uniform 1.

In red, a gaggle in Uniform 2.

In green, the one dork they brought along to be their Snap photographer.

They didn’t even talk to each other. Or listen to the music. They just took photos for 30 minutes.

And let’s talk about the booze. Everything seemed sold out in the concession area, but you could buy plenty on the lawn.

Anyway, Nelly was great, and helped me redeem myself with Dominic, who thought I was dragging him to a country concert. (He’s lazy, I’ve told you. Too lazy to Google, apparently.)

But my main interest was TLC. T-Boz and Chilli have still got it, from what I could tell. (Your acoustics made them sound like they were singing out of a portable speaker at a pool party.)

Once we heard “Waterfalls,” we bounced — along with hundreds of other ’90s music lovers who had to work the next day.

So thanks for an entertaining night. It’s unlikely I’ll be back. I guess I just prefer smaller, more intimate venues.

It’s not you; it’s me.

😉

Your friend,
Beth

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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 Miriam,

I thought we were friendly work colleagues. Why do you want to kill me? I can think of no other reason you would invite me to “Core Power Yoga.”

Core Power Yoga, aka Satan’s Clubhouse

I thought yoga was supposed to be this calming, centering, channeling-your-inner-Gandhi kind of thing.

But add the “core power” modifier, and this is some next-level madness.

I’m not sure why you go to this “sculpt” class at 6, right after the hot yoga class. That means the room is 145° at least.

But there I was, right on time, because of your invitation.

The class starts. I’m keeping up. What seems like two hours pass. I look at my watch through the waterfall cascading from my forehead.

6:16

I wish for death.

6:23

For those who don’t know what this class is like, let me describe it:

Mix the Jane Fonda workout with the calisthenics from eighth-grade gym class. Sprinkle on some Southern California namaste seasoning. Add an Imagine Dragons soundtrack. Set it on the surface of the sun.

6:32

My face is throbbing. I might pass out.

I leave the room to get air, water and the number of a medical professional.

I ask the lithe girl at the front desk how long this class lasts.

“Hmmm. Not sure if it’s 60 or 75 minutes. Let me check,” she says.

“75 minutes?!” I squeak.

“Oh it’s 60 minutes.”

Even so.

The exit was so close. Sadly, I had left the locker key in the pool of sweat near my rental mat.

6:47

I think it’s the cool-down phase. Not sure. All I know is my heart is racing like I just outran a bear.

6:51

I’m certain that I’m clinically dead.

6:54

I’m deftly performing the Patrick Star pose on my mat. I feel a slight breeze. Perhaps I’m on a gurney being rushed to the ER?

No.

The instructor is walking around the room flapping a towel.

She appears to be flapping more over me.

I’m sure it’s because she spotted my soul leaving my body.

7:00

The class is over. The instructor says, “Sorry it was hotter than usual, and the workout was more challenging than usual.”

Oh. How lucky for me.

I slither to the locker room on liquefied legs.

Time to survey the damage. Warning: graphic images (i.e., I’m hideous).

Let’s take a closer look, shall we? (Be thankful this blog doesn’t offer Smell-O-Vision.)

What’s that you say, Miriam? Show the air-conditioned, rested (i.e., sane) people at home the back? Sure.

That was Thursday. Today is Sunday, and still everything hurts. I can’t lift my arms. How can I have ribcage pain, Miriam?

I’m not sure what I did to you, but I apologize for whatever it was.

Please forgive me.

I’ll never do it again.

I also likely will never do this class again, despite the assurances from the instructor that I did “an awesome job for my first time.”

Sincerely,
Not downward dog but no thanks, dawg (aka Beth)

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Are you there, Readers? It’s me, Beth.*

It’s been more than two weeks since my last post. I’m sorry! To make up for it, I have a really long post today.

Yesterday, the family and I went to the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival. Blackburn Park is about a mile from our place so we walked.

The draw (besides the fact that I had to work a booth for my job for a bit)?

Live music: The Romantics, Spin Doctors and Smash Mouth.

For free!

Side benefit?

People watching. There were plenty of people.

So let’s get this party started.

Festival rules said no chairs (or coolers, which was a literal and figurative buzz kill). So we spread out blankets. As you do. But here’s the thing: The rules of personal space still apply.

Not for some people, apparently. Like this guy who parked himself practically on my lap.

There’s plenty of room. It’s a huge park. So why is he four inches away from me?

And here’s his friend:

My leg. His feet. He actually put his feet under my leg at one point. NO!

The ladies with them were no better. No awareness.

Same group of people, now all up on Eddie.

And then there was this odd girl with those shorts I hate.

There she is with her boyfriend, Hodor (as Eddie called him).

Doesn’t look like a problem here BUT she kept bending over. Constantly. And when I’m sitting on the ground two feet away, well …

Girl, please.

So while she and her ass were harassing us, I was harassing the kids. Gideon liked the music. Dominic likes that thug crap, so he was not interested.

And he certainly didn’t like me trying to kiss him in public.

Look at his face!

Now for the music …

I’ve seen The Romantics in concert three times. I had the hots for the drummer, Jimmy Marinos, but he is no longer with the group apparently.

See? Totally my type.

The rest? Well. The years have not been kind.

I’m not sharing video because they really didn’t sound so great. (It pains me to say that.)

The Spin Doctors made up for it.

Smash Mouth also put on a great show.

Here’s something you’ll know for sure. Sing along if you are inclined.

It was during the Smash Mouth set that my two loves of live music and people watching came together. Check out this girl. I LOVE her!

It’s weekends like these that make me happy we moved back to my hometown.

Anyway, dear readers, I promise to get my act together and publish more.

Love and kisses,
Beth

 

*Apologies to Judy Blume.

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Dear Johnny’s Hideaway:

Until this weekend, I had heard of you, but never sampled your charms. I had no idea what I was missing.

This is a photo from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution write-up. Add 400 people to this photo, and you have a good picture of Saturday night.

Kalen, a recurring character here, made the recommendation.

There was a line to get in you. A line! I haven’t waited in a line to get into a club in … OK, a week, but still. This was the longest. Ever.

Once inside, it was clear why the bouncer had the strict “one in, one out” policy. The fire marshal must be on retainer. Sardines in a can have more fin room.

Also, I am intrigued by the demographics. The swath appeared to be 25 to 75. I’ve never seen grannies grinding grandpas on a dance floor before, but there they were in all their glory.

And what’s happening here?

She looks like she came straight from her son’s soccer game or a book club meeting.

Anyway, anyone who goes out with me knows my nurturing instinct kicks in hard at some point during the night.

A lady has a tag out? Let me help.

Looking sad? Let’s talk.

Separated from the herd? Join us.

Royce and Sarah call this phenomenon, “The doctor is in.”

This occasion was no different. My first stray was Tanya.

Tanya had clearly had too much of a good time. I brought her into our group, where she was able to safely live her best life. She left to go to the ladies room. We continued dancing.

By this time, I had picked up another stray: Mark. We had helped each other bulldoze a path to the bathrooms. He was alone, so he joined us.

We were all dancing and suddenly Tanya popped back into our group. We couldn’t believe it; we actually cheered. And Tanya thought this was a karaoke bar. Here she is with her invisible hot mic.

Finally, we decided it was time to go. Things were getting sloppy around us. And Thankgod our Lyft driver was close. Literally “Thankgod.” Look:

And if that’s not a funny story close, I don’t know what is.

So Johnny’s Hideaway, thank God for an entertaining night. In the words of that great thespian Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back.”

Here’s to your drink-free dance floor. (Now get rid of the cigs.)
Beth

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