Beth Mende Conny of Lifencity and Write writes her memoir about learning the facts of life aka the birds and the bees

I learn the facts of life

Beth Mende Conny of Lifencity and Write writes her memoir about learning the facts of life aka the birds and the bees

© 2014 Beth Mende Conny

I am 10-years-old. My friend Laura asks, “Do you know where babies come from?”

I don’t like her tone; it is more of a taunt. Laura is as close to being a woman of the world as a neighborhood kid can be. She knows stuff the rest of us don’t and doles it out in jaw-dropping snippets. I sense she is trying to scare me, but ha! I happen to know the answer to this question thanks to my infallible source, aka my mother.

“A man and a woman fall in love and from their love comes a baby,” I say.

“Uh-uh. A man and a woman fuck.”

“No they don’t!”

“Yes, they do. They FUCK!”

Although I don’t understand the “F” word, I know that it does, indeed, have an “f” in it and is somehow related to the penis spray painted onto my elementary school’s wall. I don’t understand penises either, other than I don’t have one and wouldn’t want one based on the graffiti artist’s depiction.

I decide not to argue with Laura. She sounds far too confident, and, besides, I am crying. I run home, burst through the door and scream at my mother: “Where do babies come from?!”

I don’t remember her answer but likely it was less authoritative than her first. She hands me off to my father.

My father is a writer, not an artist, so it is quite confusing when he sits me down and starts drawing flowers and bees. He waxes poetic about pollen. I don’t know what pollen is but get the sense I don’t want to either.

Enter my sister, three years my senior and another woman of the world. She looks at my father’s sketches. “You’re teaching her the facts of life, aren’t you,” she says in her trademark superior tone.

I look from her to my father to his drawings and I struggle to find a connection: Flowers, bees, pollen, men, women, fucking, penises and facts of life. Facts? Like the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620? That 5 x 7 = 35?

Next memory: Read more

My Weekly Recap in Pictures


Walked into bedroom last night to find Joe engrossed in PBS show on orangutans. Here they are talking about this particular gal who is going through menopause. To which I say, why waste plane fare to the South Pacific? Stay stateside and study me. #bethconny #lifenicity #imbetterlookingthanhertoo


Not a joke. A very tight parking spot next to concrete pole. Made a note to myself to remind me (along with getting nails done and supermarket). Otherwise, I’d swipe my mirror racing out to the next place. #lifenicity #bethconny #atleastididnthavetomakeanotetoscrewmyheadbackon

tree walnuts

I grew up in a three-room apartment in NYC and now live in a house. But what really thrills me is having my own tree. Giant black walnut left over from the days when this land whole area was farmland. #bethconny #lifenicity #sometimesithinkthistreeiswiserthanme


I will not touch this thing in the basement sink. Neither will Joe. He says it’s his pet. Personally, I’d rather have a dog, or even a boa. #bethconny #lifenicity #thishairythinglookslikeaminiaturetarantula


Early morning chit-chat with one of my peeps. Better than coffee for waking up. Thanks for a great start to the day, Ivonne! #bethconny #lifenicity #neverenoughtimetogetitallineventhoughwetalkreallyreallyfast


Joseph-Beth Booksellers

booksellerWhat’s the difference between a coincidence and a sign of some other force at work. To me, they are distinct phenomena, however muddled their boundaries may be.

I think of coincidences as generally happy happenstance: You hum a song and moments later, it’s on the radio. You think of a friend and — voila! — they call. You search for your keys and find them beneath your bed (why did you even think to look there?!), only to also find the earring you assumed was lost forever.

Signs are different; they feel different. They make you stop, look and listen. They answer a question, give you direction, instill belief in yourself, others and the Universe.


Three summers ago, my youngest was college-bound, causing family members to redefine themselves as individuals and as a unit. I knew Jenna would be fine; she’d forge a new life with new friends. But what of Joe and I? I’d heard that when kids leave home, the ties between couples often frayed. Would that be true for Joe and me?

That summer, I drove three hours to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and spent a weekend with a friend. We talked for two days and nights and went to a movie. It was dark when we stepped outside, which made the signs of restaurants and shops that much brighter. And there, in the distance: Joseph-Beth Booksellers.

I laughed because, well, how could I not? Consider:

Had I not been in Fredericksburg or that particular movie theater, I never would have stumbled upon Joseph-Beth Booksellers. In fact, I doubt there are many (any other?) Joseph-Beth Booksellers in the country. Ditto for Joseph-Beth Books, Joseph Books or Beth Books. The fact that I write books and theirs is a bookstore — not a bar, hair cuttery or antiques shop — surely goes beyond coincidence. It can only be a sign.

But this is what convinced me: The hyphen. Joseph (hyphen) Beth Booksellers.

That hyphen confirmed what I had hoped but also somehow knew. The ties between Joe and me would hold, and if we were smart about it, they would strengthen.

We’re being smart.

dark side parenting

The Dark Side of Parenting

dark side parentingHere’s Joe. He’s hitting the ball. He’s having fun.

Where’s Beth?

She’s back in their small apartment, trying to fold laundry while attending to her newborn. She has been trying to fold laundry for hours, but her baby cries and poops and is hungry. Beth cries too and thinks: “18 more years of this?!”

A couple of hours later, Beth hears Joe call her name. She goes to the window. Two floors below is Joe. He’s smiling. “I’m going to go to (some guy’s name) and have a beer.”

Something happens to Beth’s voice. It sounds as if she has been possessed by an evil spirit rising from the deep. She lets out a primal scream: “Get the hell up here!”

Beth has never yelled at Joe. She has always been civil. But she has crossed over to the Dark Side — Parenthood — where it is every man (and woman) for himself.

Beth feels bad, but she gets to fold the laundry — and then throw in another batch. Victory!


My Weekly Recap in Pictures

Tom and Phoebe

At Cowork with my colleagues Tom Semmes and Phoebe. She’s so darn fast on the keyboard. #bethconny #lifenicity #sheandiaregoingoutfordrinksandbiscuitslater

Dropping in on my buddy Maria Higgins, who owns Unique-Optique on Patrick St. Love my new glasses! #bethconny #lifenicity #finallydontmindwearingglasses

Dropping in on my buddy Maria Higgins, who owns Unique-Optique on Patrick St. Love my new glasses! #bethconny #lifenicity #finallydontmindwearingglasses

SOS from my iPhone!!! #bethconny #lifenicity #reallygonnafeelcrappylatertodayugh

SOS from my iPhone!!! #bethconny #lifenicity #reallygonnafeelcrappylatertodayugh

Julie's dog

Congrats to my Julie Girl–one of only 20 to get into the only vet tech program in MD! Pound dog Neuvy is proud of his mama. #bethconny #lifenicity #improudtooofmydarlingdaughterwhoswitchedcareerstodowhatsheloves

tea coffee

Tea time with favorite cup. #bethconny #lifenicity #makeyourowndamnlunchtoo

Joe catches me red-handed in the sale aisle at Michael's #bethconny #lifenicity #interventionrequired

Joe catches me red-handed in the sale aisle at Michael’s #bethconny #lifenicity #interventionrequired

Saturday--absolute favorite day of week. Everything loosey-goosey. Love the day's uniform. #bethconny #lifenicity #whogivescrapwhatyoumaythinkaboutmywalkingpantaloons

Saturday–absolute favorite day of week. Everything loosey-goosey. Love the day’s uniform. #bethconny #lifenicity #whogivescrapwhatyoumaythinkaboutmywalkingpantaloons

Lovey dovey with Jenna after a lovely lunch. #bethconny #lifenicity #iadoreyoujennagirl

Lovey dovey with Jenna after a lovely lunch. #bethconny #lifenicity #iadoreyoujennagirl

Recent Studies Show…


Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Tall Chris


People, and especially men, hate being alone with their thoughts so much that they’d rather be in pain. In a study published in Science  Thursday on the ability of people to let their minds “wander” — that is, for them to sit and do nothing but think — researchers found that about a quarter of women and two-thirds of men chose electric shocks over their own company.


Read more:

Who has the last laugh?

People who are best at telling jokes tend to have more health problems than the people laughing at them. A study of Finnish police officers found that those who were seen as funniest smoked more, weighed more, and were at greater risk of cardiovascular disease than their peers. Entertainers typically die earlier than other famous people and comedians exhibit more “psychotic traits” than others. So just as there’s research to back up the conventional wisdom on laughter’s curative powers, there also seems to be some truth to the stereotype that funny people aren’t always having much fun.

Source: Atlantic magazine


AOK to be a shopaholic

A study released in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that shopping every day reduces mortality rates up to 28 percent for men and 23 percent for women. This doesn’t mean you should drain your account in an effort to promote good health. The benefits of shopping have less to do with actually purchasing goods and more to do with walking and socializing.


Drop the phone!

New studies intensify medical concerns about malignant brain tumors from cell phone use. “There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones,” says Lennart Hardell, MD, Ph.D. at Orebro University, Sweden, according to studies released in 2012 and 2013. “Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency should be classified as a known human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEEE and ICNIRP public safety limits are not adequate to protect public health.”

Source: Activist Post



A study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience found that staying awake too long destroys brain cells in mice, and may do the same in humans.

It’s the first study to show (if only in animals) that sleep loss can lead to irreversible brain cell damage.



Like, duh

A study from the University of Michigan has shown that the more frequently young people (average age of 20) used Facebook, the worse they felt afterward.  And the more they used Facebook over the course of two weeks, the less satisfied they reported being with their lives overall.

A second study from the University of Birmingham in Britain, researchers found that those who share photographs on Facebook experience a decrease in intimacy and closeness in their relationships.  The researchers theorize that when Facebook users attempt to “advertise” their attractiveness, sense of humor or special interests via the social networking site, they are actually alienating their “friends,” who resent, judge and envy them.  Their friends silently build grudges against them for their perceived behaviors and egos.

Source: Fox News



Scientists have found a sure-fire way for men to live longer – but most red-blooded males will find the method unpalatably painful.

Researchers in Korea have shown that eunuchs – castrated men living centuries ago – outlived other men by a significant margin. They say their findings suggest that male sex hormones are responsible for shortening the lives of men.

Source: Daily Mail

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