• 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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"I'll see you Sunday?"

This is how Jim The Small Child Nephew shatters my heart in four million pieces, by innocently letting me know that it's OK with him if I'm around, by accidentally reminding me that it is currently God's decision that I should not accompany my godchild to Mass. He'd already demolished his uncle the day before, by gazing up at him with the following: "I like playing trains with you, Uncle Josh."

So I held him to me and his little legs swung off the floor. "Aunt Beth has to go back to Virginia," I said. Will The Baby Nephew, perhaps sensing that Aunt Beth was not thrilled about the idea, squinched his eyes shut and huddled down in his high chair.

"Hiding," he said.

When we entered the room where he and his older brother were playing, Will slid off the bed, smiling in my direction and greeting us with something incomprehensible. "What?... What?" his mother said, and he repeated himself with greater force until we understood it as "Beth here."

"Here," he said firmly, and I leaned my sad grown-up head against his little warm one. Then again, he also repeated "Soccer ball! Soccer ball!" twenty times in a minute and a half, and also, with equal assurance, announced that "Compass is a pigeon."

This was the first time Will and I have been in true conversation. He's a whisperer. "Flowers," he said softly when I pointed to a picture of a kangaroo standing in a garden. When I pick him up, he clings like a koala, even to my hair. He's a sidler where his brother stomps. He will barely tolerate one of Jim's favorite Aunt Activities--perching on my shoulders--but he clamped onto my legs, wailing, when he saw his brother get a turn as soon as I took to tossing both of them around the room. This one... not like the other one. Which is just as he should be.

Jim proposed carrying my camera around, but settled for holding onto the strap. Uncle Josh and I then made the hideous childcare error, but classic extended family "HA!" move, of pointing out the shutter button...on a camera which is exactly like his parents'.

I am now pleased to exhibit my godchild's photographic art, the great bulk of which features said camera strap. Although he chiefly focuses on still life, here's a sampling:


Stink, The Enormous $13 Horse Aunt Beth Bought For Me In a Truck Stop, On Table






Reflections On Closet Door



Aunt Beth and Uncle Josh






Two Pages of Curious George





prints available in the lobby at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com


On Being Extraordinary 

Not me, the show I've been invited to as a guest. Join me at 8:30 PM Eastern on Monday when I'll join Giovanna Burgess on Extraordinary Life.


Welcome MSNBC.com Readers

...just how Desperate are you?

wisteriaing at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

Driving Home

It's nine hours from my new home to the old one, and perhaps it spoke to driving exhaustion that this time I didn't start crying until we drove past the new Reds stadium-- lights on, letters alongside the side wall full blaze.

"Looks like there's a game going on," said Josh The Pilot.

I blew my nose. "Yeah, we do that here."

on the road at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com


Bachelor Party

Here's the great thing about The Bachelor: You can not watch an entire season, tune in only for the finale, and still come away totally caught up and with the great, great need to shower. Skank-o-Vision will never let you down.

I was in my office battling a mighty e-Stack last night (direct student quote: "In teh book the author, talks about many things which have been recorded in the long history of time") and needed the intellectual lift The Bachelor would provide as the kiddies failed, failed, failed.

One of the final two contestants was an actress, and the other was--are you ready? are you ready for this?--a pharmaceutical sales representative, which is apparently the Official Industry of The Bachelor. There have been enough pharmaceutical sales representatives on this show to sink a RiteAid, and I want to see it bust out a mortician or a lumberjack. Once. Just once.

The Bachelor, who has a British accent, which makes him automatically intelligent, chose the actress and her roots over the suitcase of Zoloft. The girl he dumped was wearing a dress which somehow simultaneously consisted of ninety billion yards of material and yet totally exposed her downstairs lady parts. She and The Bachelor took a mega-dreamy stroll by the sea, one of her arms draped in his, the other clamping her dress together so as not to provide America's first pixellated Final Rose Ceremony. It was, truly, every little girl's dream.

She knew what was coming the second he took her hands and said, "Thank you!" Because... yeah. And she was on track to one of the classiest exits the show has ever seen, simply providing the requisite tearing up and downcast eyes, and she practically had one foot in the Limo of Despondency, and then... "She was the falsest person here! And to think that I was up against her..." Oh, ohhhhhh! So close. Claws back into the bags of complimentary Paxil pens and Avodart clipboards, dearie.

The winner, sponsored by peroxide, and her dress, which was also determined to announce to the world whether or not her bikini waxer missed a spot, rolled up. It was, just as the promos promised, the Most. Romantic. Proposal. EVER.

"Monkey," he said, "will you marry me?"

I went downstairs to talk to my husband. He was watching cars go in a circle and mash into each other.

"Thank you for not referring to me as a primate prone to rubella infections when you proposed, " I said.

"Okay," he said.

It was the Most. Romantic. Evening of Grading. Ever.

will you take this bag of thorns at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com