• DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
  • Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
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Tuesday
Jul222008

Dear Mary Beth: Do You Miss Florida?

Well, sometimes it has hurricanes bearing down upon it.

Sometimes non-tourism-related jobs were difficult to find.

But you could always, always count on the local law enforcement.

Lookit, I know Daytona Beach.  I lived in Daytona Beach.  I've more than likely coffeed at the Starbucks in question here.  And how gratifying it is to know that the thin blue line bends only when Frappuccinos are at stake.

Friday
Jul182008

Grande

I'm sorry that posting is light this week for as you know I do my best to wave at my dear The Readers each morning but I've been without Internet for the past eight days and yesterday was passed in hatching plans to overtake the Comcast Customer Service Center and start going apepoop on some people and as a result of all this I've been an internet gypsy for about a week now bouncing between whatever library and coffee shop will have me but mostly coffee shops because there are no Story Hours to make me confirm my non-motherhood but anyway I now have seven minutes left in Panera on the latte I had to buy to plug in here and even though I rarely drink coffee I've had to drink A LOT of it in the past week to gain online access to meet my deadlines and I don't see any affect on the quality of my writing at all do you?

BATHROOMBATHROOMBATHROOM at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

Thursday
Jul172008

Structure

When you're an eldest child, and your parents are both eldest children, and all four of their parents are eldest children, this is your playtime:

I don't know why Jim The Small Child Nephew's parents don't just give him his very own Excel spreadsheet for Christmas and have done with it.

Then again, one of my The Readers once emailed me about the time she watched her child methodically and without pictorial assistance reconstruct Stonehenge out of Legos in the middle of her living room, so let's just celebrate the boy's industriousness and back quietly away.

It never would have occurred to me to do something like this, as a three-year-old or a thirty-year-old. Everything I owned as a child was immediately and permanently 1) naked or 2) forever altered to play a temporary role in some Barbie-related drama, such as the Tonka Jeep which I splashed with red crayon to simulate a terrible, coma-inducing accident.

Will The Baby Nephew, fortunately, also shows no sign of following his aunt's disturbing playtime predilections. We were just remarking that he hadn't clamped onto a comfort item from infancy, and then at 18 months he had minor hernia surgery (one of those awful out-patient procedures which barely nicks the child, but leaves every adult within caring distance a praying wreck.) Ever since then, he's hauled around the baby doll and onesie we originally gave his brother to acclimate him to the very idea of infants.

Will treats the baby better than Jim did, perhaps because he somehow knows it represents him, and never allows it to go about in an unmodest state. "Baaaaaby," he says piteously when his mother lays the naked doll in the laundry room to give the onesie a much-needed washing. Perhaps he will enter fashion design. Or the FCC.

birth order at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com
Monday
Jul142008

All Married, and Stuff

In retrospect, it was a perfect way to spent our first wedding anniversary: We had a Large Chunk o' Angry Silence In a Moving Vehicle, followed by a fight, followed by Talking About Our Feelings, followed by ice cream. Then we went home.

Given that such behavior marked the bulk of our engagement and the first few hours of our married lives, it's the most appropriate possible thing we could have done. There's a portrait hanging in our home, a wedding gift from my parents--it's a gorgeously framed photo of the two of us taken about half an hour into our marriage. Just before he took it, the photographer said, "Okay, move a little closer to your husband... Josh, put your arm around your wife." It's an old wedding vendor's trick, designed to make the bridal couple experience a short-term thrill of feeling special and Officially Married. I had a better hair day yesterday, perfectly fluffed in order to run a wine tasting. Josh is not fond of his smile.

And you know what I felt? Not romantic, not thrilled, not buoyed by The Happiest Day Of My Life. I felt scared. Trapped, even. "Dude," I said to him, mentally (and, even then, obnoxiously), "I don't know."

But the portrait will have wall space wherever we go, because instead of going the opposite expected direction of most brides, I now feel more assured, more pleased, and more excited about my marriage than I did on our wedding day. He had his chances to abandon me, and no one would have blamed him--this sobbing heap of economic failure who only two weeks ago laid on the unrecently vacuumed floor and announced that she hated herself, this home, this carpet.

Instead, the groom in the picture knelt down next to me, and said, "I'm here." And all the perfectly iced, multi-tiered cakes in the world won't compare to that.

This morning, Josh The Pilot placed a small cactus on the breakfast table, complete with card which he had also remembered to flip over to marker out the price, and explained that while he knew I wanted mules and mountains, this was the most we could afford at the moment.

"And for three months out of the year, you don't even have to water it!" he said, pointing at the care directions tag. "See?"

I petted the tiny plant, its fat, furry leaves. "I cannot imagine anything I'd like better."

"I got it at the grocery store!"

"Don't push it."

I would I do all over again at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

Friday
Jul112008

I Gots Me A Question

You can tell me if this is the case.  I'm a big girl.  I can handle it.

Is there a national Worcester sauce shortage on?

Is this like WWII, only instead of rationing milk, eggs, and gas, we're clamping down on meat condiments?  Because I had to stop in four different stores before I found any.  Josh The Pilot tracked one tiny little bottle down at a Bloom, but it was some gourmet crap made with sherry, chili peppers, and, by the smell of it, liquified asphalt.

It's not like I lead a Worcester sauce-intensive life--a little for the meatloaf, a dump or two for marinating--but I was brought up to believe that in America, if in your deepest of hearts you desire Worcester sauce, you can achieve it.

Is Big Oil to blame for this?  Or is this yet another societal ill to be laid at the feet of the Prius, in addition to raising the nation's Self-Love Quotient to levels not seen since the 1984 Summer Olympics?  I mean, I want to know.  So I can help.  Or, at the very least, cyber-yell at the proper parties.

A1 is not an option at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com