1. I swam with sharks in the Bahamas. Really. I’ve got the pictures to prove it. See. (They feel like sandpaper, by the way.)
2. I’m a Leo through and through. I couldn’t be MORE like a Leo, actually.
3. I’ve been mistaken twice for the actress who played Shelly (Ted Dansen’s girlfriend) on Cheers–once in New York City and once in Oklahoma. I don’t think I look a thing like her.
4. I’ve climbed the enormous, world famous (and slippery) Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica three times. On my fortieth birthday, my daughter joined me and we climbed to the top!
5. I was extremely shy as a toddler. Non-speaking shy (even with relatives). As a young girl, I ran and hid when my aunt and uncle arrived, hit my head on the television and bled like a stuck pig. All because I was shy. I still have a scar on my forehead.
6. I love to deep-sea fish and have caught some whoppers–a 25-pound tuna in Florida and a 40-pound Mahi Mahi in the Bahamas (pictured here alongside hubby’s, er, guppy. lol). Note: Everyone ate that fish but me. I just didn’t have the heart.
7. I was a HUGE Elvis fan. Still am. I used to kiss the television when he performed (and cry). I got to see him live in concert two months before he died. What a tragic death. I’m still sad about it. I’ve been to Graceland twice and even got to see the inside of his mansion.
8. I was a cheerleader in middle school. (I came out of my shyness then. Sink or swim, as they say.) I was also drum captain for the Kilties in high school. By the way, the Kiltie Drum & Bugle Corps is the oldest women’s drum corps in the United States, a tradition I’m proud to keep alive. This photo is when we marched over the same bridge that Paul Revere galloped across to announce the British were coming in Concord, Mass. I’m the first drummer on the far left (probably blocked by the flag). My good friend, Jackie, is the majorette in the middle with the big black hat.
9. I was a single mother for 16 years. I know. That’s a long time. My daughter, Amy, and I are very close because we were such a tiny family for so many years. Thankfully, she was the ideal child for a stressed out, single mom.
10. I love trying new things and would encourage you to do the same. Recently, I rode this Penny Farthing bicycle. It was fun and not terribly difficult. However, I didn’t attempt the larger version.
11. I never tire of shopping, especially at T.J. Maxx. Side note: One of my characters, Alex, in THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, also loves T.J. Maxx. Go figure!
12. Everyone who works at Starbucks or the café in Barnes & Noble knows I like skinny vanilla lattes. And usually one of my female characters is a coffee addict.
13. I LOVE several reality shows–The Voice, Shark Tank and Chopped are my three favorites. I’d love to be on a reality show and almost was. Well, at least we were sent top-secret forms to fill out and had to videotape ourselves, although for the life of me, I can’t remember what I said in the videotape. We pulled out, though, because they wanted too much confidential information. It was supposed to be some kind of in-law camping show with teams (think Survivor) on a cable network.
14. I’m so old that our high school curriculum included shorthand and typing on a typewriter with that little round ball and white correction tape. I loved my business classes. I even won some state-wide competitions. My highest typing speed was over 100 wpm. Shorthand comes in very handy as a writer. My first husband also knew shorthand and we passed notes at the bank where we both worked. It was fun since no one else could read them. A few years ago, I taught The Lost Art of Shorthand at Ozarks Technical Community College. It was a non-credit course and great fun. While researching new facts about it, I learned that shorthand is still widely used in Great Britain by journalists and reporters. It truly is a lost art in the states.
Translation: Hi. My name is Beth Carter. I love shorthand. I even taught The Lost Art of Shorthand at a local college. I hope you enjoy my new site. (NOTE: The little carrots–sideways arrows–indicate paragraph breaks, but to save space, I didn’t include them. The two little lines under certain outlines (words) indicate capitalization. The small, slanted line is a period since a real period looks like an “a” in shorthand.)
15. My favorite food is Mexican. I can eat guacamole with a spoon. I also love salsa and artichoke and spinach enchiladas. However, my spicy food preference is followed closely by crab cakes. I can almost eat my weight in crab cakes.
16. I played softball as a teenager and was a pretty mean first baseman/girl. I could catch anything within several feet of me. Once, the coach from an opposing team even complimented me on a high-fly catch. Side benefit: I also got really great tans playing softball. I have fond memories of my dad hitting balls to me and playing catch with him.
17. I love to read cookbooks much more than the actual cooking itself. I have a huge collection of cookbooks. My favorites are those with five ingredients, slow cooker recipes and desserts. I could read cookbooks for hours. Maybe some day, I’ll publish my own cookbook. I’ve started one (mainly so I can find our favorite recipes!)
18. I’m a seventies girl. I loved that decade—the music was fantastic. My first two albums out of high school were the Doobie Brothers and the Eagles. The guy next door was always yelling at me to turn my stereo down. (The stereo was the first piece of furniture I purchased!) The seventies had hippies, crazy hair, tie-dye, Pet rocks and low-cut bellbottom jeans. Who doesn’t love all of that? Two of my characters, Larry and Montana, are hippies in my novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. They’re great fun.
19. I took a speleology class in college because I didn’t want to dissect things. Spelunking was fascinating. I learned all about bat guano, stalagmites and stalactites. During class, we observed ancient bear claw fossils, watched salamanders swim in a stream and saw thousands of bats. I could have touched them they were so close. In one cave, I entered a fox-hole opening and crawled on my belly for yards (it seemed as long as a football field). After we got through the narrow, muddy passage, the cave opened up into a majestic splendor with a huge, thundering waterfall. It was incredible.
20. I sucked my thumb until I was five. It’s a wonder I don’t have buck teeth. How did I quit? My aunt suggested my parents offer a bribe—a bicycle. We didn’t have a lot of money so my dad scrounged around, found a used bike and painted it a beautiful sparkly green. I loved it. And I quit sucking my thumb.
21. When I was a kid, we used to camp on the weekends at Jellystone Park. Yogi and Boo Boo rode around in a golf cart and handed out candy. We slept in a hot, wonderful tent and my parents got the plush cots. My sister and I slept on air mattresses. I usually got the one with the hole in it.
22. My favorite flowers are daisies. I call them happy flowers because they always make me smile.
23. Sometimes I’m very athletic and other times I’m a klutz. I call the klutzy times my Lucille Ball moments. I manage to do things that you couldn’t repeat if you were offered one million dollars—like having my contact pop out and land in the back cuff of my pants. That really happened. How I thought to look there I’ll never know.
24. I’ve worked in several industries—hotel marketing, education, healthcare administration, healthcare marketing and as a bank marketer. It’s really nice to work from home now in my sweats or PJ’s. Those 8 o’clock meetings were dreadful but I do miss working around people. Sometimes.
25. I live in the Midwest and am married. I was born and raised in Missouri, although my husband is from New Jersey. He calls me his southern belle, although I don’t really think I have a southern accent (he does). I really enjoy living where we experience all four seasons with colorful autumn leaves, white, snowy winters, spring bursting with color and blooms, and hot summers at the lake or out on the deck. That said, we are trying our hand at being snowbirds in Florida. I confess that I could get used to the beaches, ocean and palm trees. But not year round.