Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Dear Fellow Blogger,

You said to me yesterday that I am “practically a foreign correspondent now.”

That resonated. I AM gathering information on a place that is new to me.

I’m trying to see and do as much as I can.

For example, I saw a billboard advertising tours of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.

Ghost tours.

Because of course they would offer ghost tours in October.

So I had to go.

Because of course I did.

I asked my mother if she wanted to go.

Me: I am booking a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary Saturday night. Do you want to go?
Her: (long pause) No.

I have no trouble going places alone, so I called to make the booking.

Me: The website says there’s no availability on any weekend tour.
Lady on phone: We are sold out. When did you want to come?
Me: Saturday.
Her: How many?
Me: Just me.
Her: Just you?
Me: Just me.
Her: I can squeeze in one person.
Me: Great!
Her: 7, 8 or 9?
Me: A.M.?
Her (drily): P.M. It’s a ghost tour.
Me: Right.

So I went. It’s an hour and some change north of Rolla. Rural Missouri looks like rural Georgia.

Fifty feet from this sign, there was a dead deer in a ditch. Must not have been good eatin’.
What kind of fowl convention is this?

I got to Jefferson City early so I had time to look around.

Gov. Mike Parson’s place. He can walk to the Capitol building if he chooses. It’s a more modest place than Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s palace.
Lewis, Clark and the gang
Brisket, pulled pork, pit beans and jalapeño cheddar grits. Many animals were harmed in the making of this meal. I’m sorry.

At this point, you may be asking this:

But Beth, what about the ghost tour — the whole point of your trip?

Well, it deserves a whole post on its own.

Stay tuned.

Your Midwest correspondent,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Rolla:

Though I was pained to leave my family, you have already helped me know I made the right decision.

I’m hanging out with you for a couple of months while I get acclimated to my new job and find a place to live in St. Louis.

Why was I entertained? In a word: camels.

I happened to arrive just in time for the annual Celebration of Nations parade and festival.

Camels in the parade
A camel moments before he sneezed on me
The Missouri S&T miner mascot riding a camel. (Photo courtesy of Missouri S&T)
Here’s a goofy alpaca just for kicks.

You know what else I loved?

“The World’s Finest Rolla German Band.” That’s their name. For real.
This goat
The farmers market
Lumpia and pancit from a Filipino food truck truck

After my last post, a number of friends said my decision is the right one as I’m always looking for new adventures. That’s true. And they said they look forward to me writing about them.

You’ve already given me plenty!

I’m going to be just fine.

Love,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Gary Chapman:

Trish the Human told me about your “Five Love Languages” philosophy ages ago. I have three languages competing for the top, but Acts of Service usually wins. No surprise.

I would like to propose Five Text Languages. I’m pretty sure everyone I know falls into one of these categories.

  1. Actual words
  2. Gif
  3. Emoji
  4. Bitmoji
  5. None

Words: I text in full sentences with proper grammar and punctuation. (Of course I do.) Gideon does too. Dominic texts in words without grammar or punctuation, and I want to die.

Gif: My niece Chelsea is definitely a Gif fan. This is my second favorite way to communicate.

Emoji: Eddie is an emoji user. And sometimes I can’t figure out what he means.

Bitmoji: Trish the Human is a bitmoji fan, as is my new friend Andy. (A discussion with him was the inspiration for this post.)

None, aka radio silence: This style is no style at all because these people DON’T TEXT back for DAYS, if ever. Brian and Edgar, I’m looking at you.

Which one are you?

I’m guessing you use words because you are an author.

If you read this, let me know in the comments.

Yours in service,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Readers,

I’m surprised if I have any still. My last post was June 1. That’s more than three weeks: The longest dry spell in years.

In my defense, I’ve been very busy trying to stay alive.

Both of my children are now driving.

Each child presents a different patience challenge.

Gideon has a hard time with turns. And curbs.

Dominic doesn’t like stop signs. Or using his turn signal.

I sit (mostly) quietly in my seat concentrating on my heart rate. I try not to go for the grab handle (known as the “oh shit” handle) or stomp on the imaginary brake.

All that’s fine; they are learning.

But then, when I’m driving, I’m subjected to a critique:

Dominic from the back seat: Did you use your turn signal?
Me: Yes!

Gideon on the way to the store: You took that turn pretty fast!
Me: (side eye)

Hypocrites!

Anyway, I’m still alive. For now.

I’ll try to be a better blogger.

Your obedient servant*,
Beth

*Credit to Lin Manuel.

Read Full Post »

Dear Coworkers,

It’s been an interesting year, right? We’ve made work work. And most of us did it from home, with all corresponding challenges/distractions.

I don’t know about you, but my space is not ideal.

My friend Tammy came to visit this past weekend. She HOWLED when she saw my setup.

I can’t believe you haven’t written about THAT yet!

I haven’t. It’s a little … embarrassing. I’ve had to carve out a corner of the living room.

Here’s a peek behind the curtain — the room behind the Zoom:

The other night, I walked over there to put something down on my way to the couch. Eddie said:

Oh, you just had to stop by work for a minute?

Yeah.

Sigh.

For the first six months of the pandemic, I still got dressed in my professional lady clothes (including heels) and went to work during regular business hours. But when my university welcomed back a designated number of students in the fall, the number of faculty/staff allowed on campus had to be limited.

So I set up operations at home and made the best of it.

I still dress up for work (at least on top) but I wear slippers now.

I’d love to get a look at your Zoom room. Please share!

Looking forward to seeing you in human form.

Best wishes for the return to normal,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Former Students,

You have no idea the joy I feel when one of you contacts me to tell me something I said or did had an impact on you. This is why I started teaching in the first place: to make a difference.

I flourished under professors like Dr. Brightman and Dr. Taylor. I wanted to be the same kind of advocate for learning and growth.

Or even just make you question the existence of certain words.

Susan, you made my day by sending me this:

I still hate those words (and others). If anyone catches me using them, that person should take me to the hospital as I’ve clearly had a stroke.

Ken recently told me that he never closes with “Best” in an email because of me. What’s my problem with “Best?” It can be used as an adjective or an adverb, but it has to modify something. So I always think to myself, “Best what? Best regards? Best wishes? Best in show?”

So thank you for taking my classes and letting me mold you into critical duplicates.

And keep sending me little anecdotes of my permeating influence (or put them in the comments below). It fills me with glee.

Best in show,
Dr. Beth

*”We don’t need no education,” interestingly enough, is a double negative. So what Pink Floyd actually said was that we need education. So Pink Floyd was right.

 

Read Full Post »

Dear People With Whom I Don’t Agree:

I appreciate you. I mean that sincerely. I keep you in my social media feeds so that I don’t fall into the echo chamber.

If you are an angry elf, I tend to scroll on by. But if you present an honest viewpoint with evidence, I pay attention.

For example, there is a blogger I follow who is an actress, speaker, author, pro-life Catholic conservative, and I am … not. Still, I read her posts because she has a strong voice, a firm handle on what she believes and why, and often posts yummy-sounding recipes.

She posts more political posts than I do, as she regularly relates her faith to current events. In her latest post, she wasn’t very happy about Biden winning, as her No. 1 voting motivation seems to be the abortion issue. Yet, she advocated patience and tolerance.

Huh.

That’s interesting because when I posted a comment, not only did she not respond, but she deleted it. (Or so it appeared on my end as it was there one moment and gone a few minutes later.)

My comment?

I appreciate your pro-life stance. We are all pro life, really. No one is psyched to get an abortion. It’s a last resort for so many. No one is “pro abortion.” I think we can agree: The goal is to reduce abortions. How do we do that? As we’ve seen with prohibition and the “war on drugs,” making them illegal won’t work. People will find a way, but it makes it very dangerous for women. So to me, the solution is to put more money into sex education, healthcare and contraception.

I’m passionately pro choice and pro life. These are not mutually exclusive. I am adopted, so obviously I’m thrilled my birth mother chose to have me.

But it’s her blog, and she can do what she wants.

My philosophy is to accept all comments (even if they are offensive) and like and/or respond to each.

As everyone knows, I love a good debate. My views don’t fit neatly into existing political parties’ platforms, so I do my research and vote for the individual rather than party affiliation.

No politician is going to be perfect. No human is perfect. And we can’t agree all the time. No need to be nasty about it.

A friend I’ve had for 30 years texted me to tell me she’s unfollowing me from Facebook. It wasn’t rude; it was matter of fact and funny to me because it was so strait forward.

She’s got loads going on in her life and doesn’t want to read anything political. I would say that day-to-day living IS political, but that’s not her POV as she has the luxury of not having to deal with some of the things many others do every day. But she does have to deal with other things, so I get it.

But writing and talking about things is how I make sense of the world. So I’m going to keep on reading and responding to others. It’s important to me especially if I don’t agree.

Keep up the good work!
Beth

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Dear Readers,
You all know how I love a good guest post. Well, my friend Revell — you know, my taxidermy partner in crime — wrote a doozy. Here is his end-of-year rant that he is permitting me to share. He echoes many of my same sentiments and is nothing if not authentic (edited slightly for format and references that might get him into trouble). You might agree with him, you might not, but it is a wild ride full of the F word (be warned). Enjoy!
Beth

Just a Yearly Update
By Revell

2020 … What the actual fuck? What even happened this year besides complete. Utter. CHAOS???

I don’t think I have ever been tested and pushed to this extent in my entire life, and I don’t doubt for a second the same for you! This may have been the most growth I’ve ever had in a single year or maybe as a human being in general.

This pandemic has had me question every aspect of my journey. Here’s a few key points I learned:

  • Hold on to your loved ones, celebrate life, and don’t EVER think twice about being 100 percent authentically YOU.
  • Don’t underestimate your personal power and know that WE REALLY ARE stronger in numbers.
  • Speak up for what’s right, call people out on their bullshit, keep friends close who also call you out on your bullshit, be held accountable, and don’t ever stop pushing to be a better person.
  • Being fired does not mean you were in the wrong or that you didn’t kill it at your job.
  • You can be in love with more than one person.
  • Mental health is real and you are not crazy.
  • Georgia is fucking BLUE!
  • Know your self worth, and don’t let people or corporations take advantage of you.
  • No matter how cute and adorable, small powdery moths are not your friends and will potentially eat everything you own.
  • Do not trust Nanna without a mask.
  • Love your family unconditionally, especially when they make it through COVID alive! FUCK — when YOU make it through COVID alive!
  • Dental care is still wayyyyyy too fucking expensive, and even when you try to be proactive about self care and the insurance money you paid into, you STILL get fucked! Well, unless it’s your cat and every tooth needs to be pulled at the most inconvenient time possible. So yeah! FUCKED!
  • Give yourself opportunities to grow and make yourself uncomfortable.
  • When someone laughs at your dreams or ideas and tells you they are not possible, just prove them wrong.
  • Peanut butter and Ramen noodles will keep you alive in a pandemic.
  • Credit Karma is an app and also part of being an adult now.
  • White men are still the worst! Especially fuckin’ Boomers.
  • Bernie’s campaign was smeared by the Democratic Party … AGAIN!
  • This country was founded on slavery, and if you’re not jaded, you’re obviously. NOT. listening. Fuck a confederate monument.
  • Socialism means all we want is healthcare … in … a … pandemic! Weird right?
  • I’m a queer, loud, unapologetic abolitionist with no regrets!
  • Well, one regret: that antique mirror at that one estate sale I decided not to buy on my credit card with money I didn’t have. Def a regret!
  • Fuck fascists, centrists and the “American dream.”
  • Trans women ARE real women!
  • When you’re starving in pandemic, just EAT THE FUCKIN’ RICH!
  • Harry Potter is fucking canceled, and J.K. Rowling ruined my childhood! What a TERF!
  • Still bitter about Taco Bell not selling potatoes.
  • And who knew that Paris Hilton’s vote-or-die campaign had such relevance now in 2020. The reality is vote, or FUCKING DIE!
  • And last but not least, BLACKLIVESFUCKINGMATTER!

Read Full Post »

Dear 2021,

I hope you are better than 2020. (2020 can suck it.)

I’m not one for resolutions. I usually declare things I won’t do or won’t give up. Just to be contrary. (Look. Listen. Give me this one rebellious thing. That’s about the only one!)

For kicks, I decided to look back at last year’s list.

Here are the things I declared I would not do, along with the result:

  • Keep makeup I don’t wear. Coral lipstick is not for pale people like me, and frosty pink is for preteens. Success: I ditched so much crap this year.
  • Retain books on my Kindle I won’t read.A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments” by David Foster Wallace is a supposedly fun read that is not. Byeeee! Success: I purged my Kindle and did not add any books. Of course, I didn’t read a single book either.
  • Put up with less than I need/deserve/worked for, etc. I am not a “Welcome!” mat. Mixed progress: I occasionally washed other people’s dishes and clothes, but I got better about calmly explaining what was bothering me.
  • Save money. Yeah, I know I should, but let’s be honest: I won’t. Success: I didn’t.
  • Stay home. I want to say “absof–kinlutely” to adventures near and far. Dream scenario: I get paid to write about it. Fail: I think we all know what happened this year.
  • Continue procrastinating on my book. This is the year I finish it, write the proposal, and find an agent. If E.L. James can become rich and famous off her trash Twilight fan fiction work, so can I. Fail: I did absolutely no work on it. Lack of motivation, thy name is COVID-19.
  • Lose more than just five more pounds. I’m calling that my “wine cushion.” Success: I found a few pounds more of me. Pandemic pounds FTW!
  • Stay in this place with the small kitchen. When it’s a pain to make things as fairly easy as Scotch eggs, it’s time to upgrade. Success: We moved to a larger place with a slightly larger kitchen.
  • Ignore show suggestions from certain like-minded people. I resisted watching “Killing Eve.” I was stupid. Success: I’m even taking suggestions from randos on Twitter. I’ve got some issues with “Bridgerton.” Who wants to chat about it with me?
  • Let people try to make me feel even slightly embarrassed about my love of bad taxidermy. Those uptight people can shove it. My obsession is Hando approved. Success: I let my freak flag fly this year to positive results.
  • Vote for Trump. Duh. Success: Duh.
  • Stop writing blog posts at least twice a week. I’ve been keeping this pace since April, so I’m pretty proud of myself. Success-ish: I was doing well until the holidays. I blame Netflix. 

In 2021, I will not:

  • Take for granted the ability to hug friends, see a movie in a theater, see live music, eat in a restaurant, travel, go out without a mask, work out at the gym, etc.
  • Take for granted physical mobility. (This was the year I broke my ankle and damaged my rotator cuff. So that’s been fun.)
  • Lament a packed schedule of in-person meetings.
  • Ever get off political mailing lists, apparently.
  • Be able to wear real shoes again without dealing with discomfort. (I wore flip flops for six months straight.)
  • Stop calling out people for being stupid.
  • Change my Alexa voice from Samuel L. Jackson. Having him curse at me when I ask him to set a timer gives me LIFE!

I reserve the right to add to this list.

Hoping for the best,
Beth

 

Read Full Post »

Dear Friends and Family,

Though this year has sucked in ways large and small, I’m thankful for all of you. I have big emotions regarding a few of you, but I’ll save that for a later post.

On this day of Thanksgiving (glossing over the actual horrific origins of this celebration), I’m thankful for small things (in no particular order):

  • Apothic Red for just $10
  • Jeans that fit
  • Fozzy
  • Gideon’s eclectic taste in music
  • Dominic’s dry comments
  • Eddie’s workout habits
  • Purple nail polish
  • Massage therapy
  • Airpods
  • Uno
  • Alexa (but not Siri, sorry)
  • Twitter
  • Apple Music
  • FaceTime, Skype, What’s App, Zoom and Houseparty
  • Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus
  • I have spoken.”
  • Bubble tea
  • Gus’s chicken
  • Writing ability
  • Cooking skills
  • That I can drive a stick shift
  • Ancestry.com
  • The election is over (It is. For real, Donnie.)
  • Saturday Night Live
  • The Amazing Race
  • Jersey Shore Family Vacation
  • Rollerball pens
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Panhandle Slim
  • Frequent flier miles that don’t expire
  • Friends who invite me over just to drink
  • People who have given me a chance to grow as a person and a professional
  • The fact that the first “Happy Thanksgiving” texts I received were from the moms of my sons’ friends (three of them!)
  • A balcony with lounge chairs and good Atlanta weather so I can be outside
  • Fellow bloggers (like this one and this one)
  • The cute but not functional scarf Goat-yoga Lisa made me

Adorable, right? In the background is the not-cute-but-functional blanket I made.

For what are you thankful? Tell me in the comments.

All my love,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »