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Posts Tagged ‘Advice’

Dear Bob,

Listen, friend: We need to have a talk.

You were one of my favorite teachers in high school, and I’m thrilled we reconnected when I lived in Atlanta.

But you have scared the bejesus out of everyone with your recent emergency.

I realize that taking a group of students to the Galápagos Islands — a trip that included snorkeling — was too appealing to be denied.

However, when loads of people in the group got a stomach virus, did you HAVE to be an overachiever and get an extreme case? Of course you did.

This was your lovely wife Susan’s status update over the weekend.

Emergency surgery, scary-low oxygen levels, infection attack on numerous organs — that’s just a fraction of the issues you faced.

The good news is that you are awake and asking for sweet tea from Chick-fil-A.

So that means you are on the mend.

It’s about time.

Keep up the great work!

Love,
Beth

* Thanks, Toy Story.

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Dear Rep. Ann Kelley,

What — and I mean this sincerely — the f*** are you doing?

WHY would you propose a change to the Missouri House of Representatives rules that forces women to cover their arms?

And you are a woman. What the heck?!

Let me get this straight: You lost your mind over requiring people to wear masks a couple of years ago to stop the spread of COVID, but now you are forcing women to wear sleeves?

You claim it was to clarify language to be “equal” to men. (By the way, you really should hire a PR person or copy editor or SOMEONE to help you with your writing skills.)

Sure it was.

I can’t believe it was adopted 105-51. (Note that the House is made up of 116 men and 43 women. Party affiliation for reference: 111 R, 52 D.)

I can’t believe you wasted any time on this at all. Have you seen the state rankings? Just look!

30th in Education

42nd in Public Safety

42nd in Healthcare

I swear to God — you are affecting my healthcare: my mental health!

I really don’t know why I’m surprised at either of the things above. It’s so much easier to control women and what they do and wear rather than tackle big issues in all people’s lives. Right, Ann?

What an embarrassment this is for the state. You want to be in the international consciousness with this foolishness?

I’m so glad my representative didn’t vote for this nonsense. (Granted, I think he was absent that day.)

Pull yourself together, please. Focus on important issues.

Sincerely,
Beth, a Missouri resident with sense

Bare arms vs. bear arms (God forbid she wears a mask.) Photo credit here.

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Dear Neighbors,

Y’all be out here WILDIN’ (as the kids say). That is, if the Next Door app is any indication.

I live a quiet life. I mind my own business. I’m not out trying to be the stereotype of Angry White Woman (i.e., Karen or BBQ Becky).

Some of you are LIVING for the drama. And bringing it.

For example, Laurie and Claralyn woke up and chose violence.

And then there are posts like the following that have me shaking my head, for a variety of reasons.

My guilty pleasure is following the Best of Next Door on Twitter.

I mean, LOOK:

How could I resist?

But in the words of the late, great Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?”

Despite the inauspicious start, I get along with both my next-door neighbors, and I’m close with about a dozen of you in our neighborhood. And some of you must like me a little as you voted me into a leadership role. I also took on the task of editing the neighborhood newspaper. Because of course I did.

As I have free rein with the paper, I want to start an advice column to help resolve minor conflicts. Like alley clippings. Neighbor friends Kathy and Marlane have agreed to help.

I think it could be fun. Also, it may raise everyone’s self awareness and tolerance.

But probably not. 😬😉

Anyway, I’m just trying to help. No need to get knickers in a twist over Christmas lights and weeds, when there is the VERY REAL problem of holiday creep.

My friend Jude sent me evidence of Valentine’s Day merch in a store on Dec. 27.

THAT’S a problem.

Your neighbor,
Beth

*RIP Bob McGrath.

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Dear Friends and Family,

This is it: the last part of this origin story.

It’s been quite a journey (Here are parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.)

Here are the takeaways:

  1. Genetics are cool. Over the course of about two years, I have met more than 30 new people to whom I am blood related. Seeing myself in people other than the two I made is incredible. I see my eyes in my sister, my dimples in my brother, my laugh in my father, my inability to sit still in my mother, etc.
  2. Love isn’t like pie. More for some doesn’t mean less for others. I can love my adopted parents and extended family with my whole heart (and do) and also love my found family.
  3. Love is love is love. No boundaries. Some of the most wonderful messages I’ve received are from adopted cousins. Add to those messages all the heartfelt ones from friends and relations by marriage and new people tangential to the story, and you see that this has been a moving experience for more people than just myself.
  4. The human capacity for love, understanding and acceptance is astounding. Everyone in this story (except one**) has seemed to be so happy about this late-in-life connection. I have been amazed at how excited people seem to be to add me to the family. I’m still on my best behavior of course. I don’t want anyone to regret the welcome. 😉
  5. I am fortunate. Not every adoptee has a positive experience. And I have had it on both sides. One of my friends found her birth mother, and mom turned out to be … not a good person. Another friend found his, who said she didn’t want a relationship: “I gave you up for a reason.” Kathy is fond of saying that this could have been a Lifetime movie, but it turned out to be a Hallmark one.

Me: That’s why I was careful to explain in my letter that I’m a normal, stable person.

Alaina (my niece): That’s exactly what a crazy person would say.

Another takeaway? I can expel water from my face holes. (Thanks for the term, Heather!)

This kid had no idea what would happen in a few decades.

So many of you have contacted me with your own stories and messages of encouragement. Thank you. My goal in writing this series was twofold:

  1. It’s a great story. Come on: You have to give me that!
  2. I wanted to recognize and applaud all the people who opened their hearts to me.

If my story helps any other adoptees or adoptive families navigate these strange waters, then I will have done some good.

With any luck, they will get a message from a birth parent that’s as welcome and touching as this one:

Thanks for reading.

XO,
Beth

*Mission Impossible. Of course.

**I think that person just needs a little more time to process. I’m certainly not going to force it.

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Dear Friends and Family,

Buckle up: Mr. Toad has nothing on Auntie Beth’s wild ride.

(Here’s Part 1, 2 and 3 to get you up to speed.)

The next logical step was to contact my birth father.

Folks, this was easier said than done.

Not that he was hard to find. As soon as I had his name, I put my reporter experience to work and tracked down his address.

It was more that I wasn’t sure how to make this connection. The problem? He didn’t know about me. At all.

For a variety of reasons (including the fact that they had broken up), Kathy didn’t tell him she was pregnant.

So.

Do I call him? Show up at his house? Contact another relative I found (à la Cousin Laura for Kathy)? Eeesh.

I decided to go with the snail-mail route. It had worked before, so maybe it would work again.

But how do I start THAT letter?

Y’all, I’m a writer, but that was THE HARDEST LETTER to write. How do you announce your existence to someone who helped make you? That’s a big deal.

Kathy was worried about me and my plan. She told me she wasn’t sure how he would react.

Yeah.

For TWO FULL YEARS, I agonized over what to say, how to write that damn letter.

My friend Tyler (who cuts my hair) told me, “Don’t come back unless you have an update.” She was kidding. I think.

That was in March 2022. I pulled myself together.

The good stationery and penmanship came out again.

I chose the “rip off the Band-Aid” method:

I've wanted to write this letter for a while, but I didn't know exactly what to say or how to begin. I'm still not sure this is the right way, but I have to start somewhere. 

You don't know me or know about me, but I'm your daughter.

I planned for it to arrive by Father’s Day. 😬😉 The tracking indicated it took FOUR DAYS to leave the St. Louis post office. I was dying.

Then on June 23, 2022, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. It showed up as Columbia, MD, but I didn’t have my glasses on. I thought it said, “Columbia, MO,” so I assumed it was a work call. I answered.

“This is Beth.”
“Hi Beth, this is David.”

My people, I cannot express just how many emotions were vying for the top spot: happiness, surprise, nervousness, etc.

Gideon and Eddie saw my face. They were curious and concerned.

I mouthed, “My father.” Their eyes nearly sprung out of their sockets.

I went into another room so I could focus.

It was, in a word, unreal.

And clearly too much to explain in this one post. Get ready for Part 5 and 6. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

XO,
Beth

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Dear Women* Who Date My Sons,

Ladies, I’ve tried my best to ensure they understand our anatomy. Once, I even pulled out a diagram of our bits at the dinner table.

(Look. Listen. Education has no boundaries.)

I never ever want them to be like these idiots:

I’ve told them porn isn’t realistic. I mean, I’ve never once gotten off by someone slapping my parts. I don’t know any woman who has an instant orgasm from penetration. There are no naked pizza delivery drivers in my neighborhood.

If you have and can, and there are, good for you! No shade.

I should share this with them and really make it weird:

It’s a good explanation.

Of course, there are plenty of other … uh … aspects of and tactics for gratification.

Just know that I have told them they need to make sure you get yours. And to listen to what you say about how to do that.

Also, we’ve discussed various methods of birth control and THEIR responsibility.

Not that I’m advocating for sex willy nilly, but I am realistic.

They are still teenagers, so they have plenty to learn. Just know I’ve done my best.

Looking forward to getting to know you!

Sincerely,
Your boyfriend’s mom

*Before anyone gets hot and bothered, let me say that I used to start off sentences with, “When you date someone, and he, she or they …” I just wanted to leave the door open. But every time I said that, they informed me they like girls. The door is still open; I don’t care.

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Dear Fellow Travelers:

Some of y’all need a refresher in how to behave in airports and on planes.

Auntie Beth is here to help.

DO move to the side of the terminal walkway if you want to text, eat your food or walk slowly.
DON’T eat your chicken wings in the middle of the walkway between gates with your suitcase two feet away from you (and also in the middle of the walkway).

DO give up the armrest to the person in the middle.
DON’T be the person in the middle who also manspreads and elbows the people on the aisle and window.

DO remember that people around you have ears.
DON’T talk to your seatmate at the top of your voice, take phone calls, FaceTime or watch videos without headphones. (I can’t believe I have to remind you.)

DO be aware of personal space.
DON’T run over people with your suitcase, whack someone with your backpack or sling your Doritos bag around with crumbs flying everywhere.

DO follow instructions.
DON’T be a complete idiot.

Folks, there’s an image. How hard is it to follow directions?

DO have manners in general.
DON’T act like the plane is your personal living room.

This man was a complete boor. So loud. Stopped in the doorway to keep talking to his seatmate. I mean, just look at his foot on the seat. That tells you everything you need to know.

It’s very simple: BE CONSIDERATE. We will all thank you.

Let’s make traveling as irritant-free as possible.

With love,
Auntie Beth

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Dear Lacey,

At least I think that’s your name. Hard to remember when lightheaded from blood loss.

I hope you remember me. I was strapped to your machine for a hour Friday.

When you originally asked if I wanted to donate two pints of blood, I said, “Sure.”

You said it would take no longer than 30 minutes.

But then the machine started “acting up.”

Not something anyone in my position wants to hear.

Finally, I was free to go.

Maybe a few more minutes with you would have been good, though. Maybe with my donation arm up over my head. Maybe with a little more pressure applied to my new wound.

I got to my car, and suddenly I looked like I had been in a knife fight.

You’ve heard of a shy colon? Apparently, I have an extroverted vein.

Back in the blood mobile, you and everyone else sprung into action.

I kept saying I was ok, though.

No one believed me. I got loads of attention, some apple juice and a snack.

I even got an offer of drycleaning.

You should see the other guy!

No need. Hydrogen peroxide worked wonders.

And today I’m barely bruised.

You know what else I am? Happy I successfully donated blood when the need is critical.

Maybe I’ll see you again in two months.

Your patient,
Bloody Mary Beth

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Dear Detroit Marriott at The Renaissance Center,

I attended my annual research conference in you this week. I am NOT a fan, and I will not be back (unless I have absolutely no choice).

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. Your staff is not prepared for guests. The line was 10 deep for check-in, and you had one person actually working. Three other employees — one of whom looked like a manager — were at the other end of the counter chatting. Do their eyes work? Couldn’t they see the line?
  2. Your building is not prepared for guests. There are six elevators “servicing” floors 40-70. Only two appeared to be working. A gang of fellow conferencers and I waited 10 minutes Thursday night for an elevator to take us down.
  3. Your events staff is not prepared for guests. Two thousand people attended the last in-person AEJMC conference (Toronto, 2019). That is standard for this conference. Yet nothing was set up to handle this influx of people. Your staff selected large rooms for small events (e.g., the University of South Carolina alumni breakfast featured three tables for eight in a cavernous room) and wee rooms for major events. For example, the Broadcast and Mobile Journalism group awards ceremony and reception was in the tiniest conference room I’ve ever seen. No tables. For an event that featured food and drinks. Group leaders who got to the event early drug in tables and chairs for the 50 or so attendees. Way to go, Marriott!
  4. Your technology support is not prepared for guests. This conference is primarily for journalism/mass communications professors. You know: People who communicate. They have devices that need to be charged. Outlets were few and far between.
This is the ONLY OUTLET in the room!

The various other problems fellow attendees and I experienced had to do with The Renaissance Center in general. It is, generously, an atrium-focused maze of wasted space.

Circulation Ring = CIRCLES OF HELL
Trust me: You can’t get there from here
No, you don’t really want to sit and meet/eat/work do you?

There is a shocking lack of open restaurants. Again, conference of 2,000+ people (and AEJMC was one of at least three going on at once). Hotel with 70 floors of rooms. Yet, it was hard to find a place to eat. Literally (see maze above) and because so many were closed. Note: There was a VERY bougie seafood restaurant open, but who wants to pay $75 for shrimp?

Desperation signage
Starbucks: closed
Another Starbucks: closed
Food court: mostly closed
Oh look! The open Burger King that I thought was only the stuff of legend.

Then there is the location. You are on the Detroit River. So a riverwalk with shops and restaurants would make sense. Apparently, it only makes sense to me. I would not say the United States side has ample commerce. The Canada side (Windsor) looks promising.

The Renaissance Center provides a great view of our northern neighbor.

But once again, you can’t get there from here if you don’t have a car.

I realize that the pandemic took a toll on the hospitality industry. That said, people are traveling again. Conferences are back in person. Do better, or you won’t have guests to piss off anymore.

Sincerely,
Bonvoy Member on Floor 47

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Hey Rock Music Fans! Have I got a new album for you.

Jesse’s Divide releases “Thirteen Steps” tomorrow. Some of you even responded to my prior call to action and helped fund this album. It’s their first.

“But wait, Beth,” you might say. “Haven’t they been a band for years? Haven’t they released songs?”

Well, yes to both. But this is their first ALBUM. The others were EPs.

Now, I’ve reviewed books, movies, plays/musicals, performances, etc., but I’ve never reviewed an album before.

But like an antivaxxer who knows ALL ABOUT the danger of the COVID vaccine thanks to his YouTube research, I’m going to act like an expert.

This is a great album — their best work to date.

Let me give you a frame of reference for my taste: Of their EPs, I’m partial to “Strange Alchemy.” Specifically the title track.

So let’s get to it. The debut features 10 tracks plus a special “secret” track, which is not so secret, clearly. (Why isn’t it 13? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them.)

  1. Bad Decisions
  2. Free Thinker
  3. Down Again
  4. Long Time Coming
  5. Fyre!
  6. Thirteen Steps
  7. Jajvam
  8. The One
  9. Hollow Throne
  10. Anubis
  11. SYCM (aforementioned “secret track.”)

Bad Decisions

I feel like this is “my” song. My oft-used phrase “bad decisions make good stories” was, I’ve been told, the inspiration for the title. And the song is about bad decisions the guys made during their U.S. tour: Too much beer on the plane for Nick, too much tequila on stage for Rob, too much ALL THE ALCOHOL for Si in Savannah. The chorus even references what you do with a tequila shot. (“Lick it. Down it. Suck it. Wooo!”)

Photo evidence of debauchery:

I know you want to look at Si’s tongue. Don’t. Look at Rob’s dead eyes.
Look at Rob’s tequila sweats.
In addition to looking vaguely like Papa Smurf, Si has the dead eyes like Rob.

I don’t have photos of Drunk Nick, sadly. I wasn’t on the plane.

Anyway, the song. It kicks off the album with a bang. The main riff vaguely resembles the theme from “The Munsters,” so I’m a fan. Si has a fantastic voice, but here he screams like Steven Tyler. That’s great, if that’s your thing.

Free Thinker

This is the song for the antivaxxer mentioned who will think the guys agree with him. (Hint: They don’t.) It’s a critical COVID anthem.

Down Again

“Free Thinker” segues nicely into “Down Again.” And it’s catchy as all hell. It’s been in my head every morning this week. This could and should get radio play.

Long Time Coming

The lyrics make me think someone in the band is getting a divorce. (What’s going on, guys?) Again, catchy as hell. Accessible to people who like rock, pop, alternative. Also could and should get radio play.

Fyre!

No one likes a KISS soundalike song more than I do, so this is a song for me. I want them to wear fancy pants and big boots and play this in a stadium full of fans, all of whom are yelling “Fyre! Fyre! Fyre! at the chorus. “Burn baby, burn.”

Thirteen Steps

The title track is a heavy-as-balls concoction that references 13 steps to the gallows. Grim. But the song is a banger.

Jajvam

What the heck does that mean? A Google search says it’s Klingon for “Today is a good day to die.” Delightful! “Jajvam” hearkens back to JD’s first EP “Metadome.” And it would be a great song on that EP. Here it is overshadowed by everything else. Sorry. It’s just that the others rock SO HARD. (To be fair, I saw them do this live, and it killed.)

The One

This will kill live too. I want them to play it after “Fyre!” It’s an energetic and infectious rock song.

Hollow Throne

The opening riff sounds like a mix of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and the soundtrack to a whodunit. This, “The One” and “Thirteen Steps” are, in my opinion, the heaviest on the album. But they still are accessible to pop-lovers like myself. We’re not talking Slipknot* heavy.

Anubis

Like “Down Again” and “Long Time Coming,” “Anubis” feels commercial. I could hear this on any number of my Sirius presets. It also sounds like a divorce song. (Seriously guys: Are you OK?) That said, it feels optimistic. It connects the whole album together and ends it on a high note.

Oh, but wait.

SYCM

It’s an acoustic amuse-bouche. Why here (this position and at all)? I’ll probably never listen again. I’m so sorry. I’m honest to a fault. I hope the guys will still love me. 😉😘

Anyway, the album rocks your face off the whole way through. No real ballads here, which is fine by me. It’s already pushed out “Strange Alchemy” as my favorite release of theirs.

So, be a trendsetter: Download the album on your favorite streaming service today! If you like it, spread the word and buy some merch.

*Look. Listen. I know there’s way heavier stuff than Slipknot. Not for me. This is as far as I go. You know my taste!

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