Monday, January 28, 2008

Name a food - any food!

Last Friday Mr. Burn's church had a fundraising dinner. For some reason we hadn't decided yet if could make it and had not yet purchased tickets to the dinner before one of the organizers cornered us and asked if we could help out in the kitchen. Sure.
We need dishwashers.
Oh brother!
Anyone who knows me - knows that doing dishes is my least favorite activity EVER. There is not much I like less.

So that's how we found ourselves doing dishes for 200 people. That's 200 x salad plates. 200 x dinner plates. 200 x dessert plates. Water goblets, wine glasses, coffee mugs. Silverware!!! Ugh.

We took a break to make a plate for ourselves. The menu was spaghetti - so since I'm allergic to tomatoes, I scooped up some plain noodles and scoured the cupboards for something with which to dress it. I ended up with Malt Vinegar. Not bad.

The young volunteer bartenders saw what I was eating and lo and behold the topic of my allergies became conversation. Oh boy!

I had to laugh when Mr. Burns, in answer to their subsequent question said, "Name a food."

The first blurted out, "Eggs?" "Bingo!" I said, "I'm allergic!"
The second guy said, ""Chicken." Two for two! Nice work - but that game is like shooting fish in a barrel!

Speaking of fish. Lent will start soon and so begin the Lenten Fish Fries. I don't mind volunteering... but even for charity it's hard to pay admission to a meal you can't eat. Mass produced Mac 'n Cheese is not so yummy. And subjecting myself to seeing all that yummy looking fish and knowing I can't have any - Well - I'd rather stay home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Huge Life Improvement Accomplishment!

See that pile in my hallway?

It's all stuff I pulled out of the closets and decided to get rid of months ago! All this plus an antique rocking chair.

It's actually my sofa fund.

It's been sitting there a while waiting for me to post it on Craigs*list.

Well, I finally took dozens of pictures and got it all on Craigs*list today. If it all sells as planned, I should make $300.

Yeah. $300 worth of stuff that I bought and didn't use. (or was given to me and never opened) Sigh. If you see something that you gave me... Good heavens I'm sorry... but I live in 750 square feet. Every foot is precious and if I'm not using it... well, it has to go.

So far.. one lady wants my red loveseat sofa slip cover. She'll pay be $30!! Yeehaw! While on the phone with her I asked if she needed decorative shelves or iPod cases.... she might. Whoo hoo!

Can you imagine how happy I'll be if all this stuff sells?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Allergy Etiquette

Recently, Mr. Burns and I have received a number of dinner invitations from friends. We are so blessed to have such wonderful and social people in our lives!

We gladly and I hope, graciously accept each invitation. But I wonder - what is the most gracious way to deal with my many and various food allergies? For me, the allergies aren't that hard to deal with - the worst part for me is putting my host or hostess in a position to have to accommodate me. I hate that.

Do I accept the invitation and then email a list of my allergies? That seems awful.
Do I offer to bring a dish, so that I have at least one thing that I know I can eat?

The best case scenario is a gracious hostess. I received this email from one of them tonight:

Are you allergic to chicken, cranberries, and/or goat cheese? I make a wonderful salad with hot chicken. Are you allergic to avocado?

Oh. How thoughtful! She remembers that I have some restrictions. But how to respond?
I composed the following response:

Oh... that salad sounds fabulous!! I am allergic to chicken - but if you add it last maybe you could just leave the chicken out of my salad... that would be easy, then everyone else can still enjoy it.

I really appreciate your concern for my allergies, though I hate to restrict my hostess! I'd be happy to contribute a dish that is TRS-safe so that your culinary skills can be free to shine for everyone else!

Below are my restrictions... but don't concern yourself too much with category two... I can generally eat around those and be fine.

Any thoughts? Is that proper? Is it in any way offensive?

Any ideas for how to approach a hostess who doesn't inquire about my food restrictions? If you were having me to dinner - how would you prefer it were handled?

While I'm at it... I just want to remind people to ask their guests about food restrictions. I know many people with Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance) or who are vegetarians who would appreciate the gesture.

My vegetarian friend recalls a dinner party when she was staying in a hotel in DC for a work trip. Her friend generously invited her to dinner knowing she was in town for a few nights. Then at dinner she served her a juicy steak. Predictably, my friend didn't touch it. (she's vegetarian mostly for dietary reasons, not ethical) Her hostess didn't even ask why the only thing she touched was her wine!!!

My friend went back to her hotel on the Metro - starving - a little drunk- and wondering where she was going to find something to eat at 10:00PM!!

Do remember that it is the mark of a good hostess to ask if her guests enjoyed the meal. If the plate is untouched, do ask if something is the matter. Don't be insulted, but give her a granola bar for the trip home!!!

Meanwhile, let me stress that my hostess is beyond gracious and accommodating! I quickly received this reply:

We’ll do something different- there’s a bunch of food you're NOT allergic too. Thanks for the info.

So kind, but I hate that I caused her to change the menu!! Argh!

Friday, January 11, 2008

2007 Retrospective

Here's a fun way to evaluate the past year...

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Fell in love.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I kept some. More like goals… or ‘do it already – what are you waiting for’ type things. I finally tackled one of the two spendy dental issues. And my main resolution – finding a boyfriend worked really well. I met him in February!!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. My friend Kelly had her second, a girl. And my friend Mo – the same. (they each had a boy already)
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. But my boyfriend’s dad died, I had never met him. I wish I could have met him.
5. What countries did you visit?
I didn’t leave the country at all. In fact, I’ve only left the country once and that was for Jamaica!
6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A fiancé.
7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 17th. Our first date. And I don’t know the specific date… but the week before my birthday/Father’s day – that’s when Mr. Burns’ dad died. It really changed him. Also December 17th, my dear friend’s wedding day!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Wow. I don’t feel like I accomplished any one significant thing. Does discovering that I can curl my own hair and make it look cute with relative ease count?
9. What was your biggest failure?
Work. My contract ended, and they’re not offering any more contracts. Now I’m trying to figure out what do with my life.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Well, I had one nasty sinus infection for Easter. Man, that feels like death! And I had a significant problem with my hip. It has really limited my mobility. But the more exercise I get, the better it is.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
My new living room rug. I found the perfect cream colored, 8x10 shag carpet for just $200. I rock! The other great purchase was a darling jersey knit cocktail dress for $40! I bought it the weekend after my contract ended so it felt a little splurgy. It looks fabulous. I wore it New Years Eve.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mine and Mr. Burns’ for maintaining our celibacy/ abstinence while being so crazy about each other!
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Yeah, I have to agree with Glossy Veneer – celebrities who don’t know how to behave, and the media for paying too much attention to them.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Safeway – grocery store. To my dentist, my chiropractor, and my mechanic. And to Safelite Auto Glass. When I finally replaced the cracked windshield that I had put off for more than a year – I got nailed with rocks a few weeks later and paid them more money to fill the chips.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The engagements and ensuing weddings of two very dear friends. I spent more time on wedding sites and blog than the two of them combined!!
16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
"Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall
“This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” by Fall Out Boy
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:? a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier, thinner, poorer
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercise. And I haven't skied in two years now... gotta get up the hill.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Not working.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Alone with Mr. Burns. We went to Midnight Mass – after listening to my parents and my brother’s family (including my fabulous nieces and adorable nephew) singing Silent Night over the phone! Then Christmas morning, he gave me a gift and we spent the day eating honey baked ham and garlic mashed potatoes, watching movies and watching the snow fall.
21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
You bet I did!! See #1
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Hmm. I was big on LOST, I really like Medium even if I miss it more often than I see it. Grey’s Anatomy and Biggest Loser!
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
24. What was the best book you read?
I didn’t do a lot of reading. But Mr. Burns gave me Captivating to read and I like it.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Sara Bareilles – she has a great sound, similar to Aslyn, my musical discovery of 2006!!
And also, that I don’t listen to enough classic rock. Everything Mr. Burns plays, I remember and love, but I haven’t heard in years!!
26. What did you want and get?
A boyfriend.
27. What did you want and not get?
A fiancé.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
The only thing I saw in the theatre this year was “The Simpson’s Movie”. But we rented “Amistad” and I absolutely LOVE it! Great movie. Must see.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37 on Father’s day. I had planned to have a simple day with Mr. Burns. But his dad died a few days earlier and he was away. I ended up having my birthday alone – which was good. One friend was going to come over and celebrate with me… but the prospect sounded less and less relaxing (she suggested that I make a meal and she’d bring the cake and the wine. But if you know me at all… you’d know that cooking is the VERY LAST thing I would do on my birthday!!!) I ended up telling her that I’d rather spend the day alone. And I did.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Finding a job that I love and loves me back!!!
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
I decided to buy fewer clothes… but to spend more on the things that I do buy – in terms of quality and little bit of couture.
32. What kept you sane?
My faith in God.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Still John Cusack.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Illegal immigration. It’s so hard to know the right answers. I’m reminded of my immigrant Grandmother and her family who came here in early 1900s. They spoke German at home and sometimes at school she would slip into German and would be teased mercilessly by the other children, and chastised heartily by her teacher. But now everyone expects America to learn Spanish so that the immigrants don’t have to adapt! That really bothers me. Not to mention the idea that illegal immigrants could end up with more dollars toward college than my nieces and nephew would have.
I also know that trying to immigrate LEGALLY is dang near impossible to accomplish, even with the best of intentions.
35. Who did you miss?
My family. I went home for a week in September so that was good. But I had Christmas without them. I wish they were closer.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Besides Mr. Burns – Sophia at my part-time job. She’s one of those people that you just know God placed in your life for a reason! That an Iranian woman and girl from Nebraska could meet in Denver and have so much in common is remarkable – a miracle!
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
My part-time job at the photography studio taught me that my real passion and talent is photography. Apparently, I should have listened to my 13 year old self who wanted to be a photographer. I could have avoided my television career all together!
The same job also taught me that I AM good with kids!
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
From Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall”Everything around her is a silver pool of light. The people who surround her feel the benefit of it, it makes you calm. She holds you captivated in her palm.”
This line always reminds me of my friend Kimberly. She is grace, and elegance and love in one fabulous red-headed package. On her wedding day, after her hair and makeup were done, we were walking to the car so she could get to the church. I looked at beautiful her and started singing that lyric. She turned to me and sternly said, “Don’t make us cry! There will be no crying.”

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wild dog or Taming of the Shrew?

Oh, this is too funny.

I took the test. I am either a Wild Dog or a Otter personality.
Says the site, "But you may also be a Shrew personality. "

The website says that you can only be one, not a combination of animals.
Any ideas of which one suits me?

Go ahead and comment, I'll tell you what I think later.
And share yours!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A New Year's Resolution EVERYONE Should Commit To:

At the grocery store today, I ended up chatting with the delightful woman at checkout and she shared her New Years Resolution with me.

See, I brought in one of my cloth grocery bags. Check that. I was about to go through checkout - and had to stop and park my cart over in produce while I ran out to my car to RETRIEVE my cloth grocery bag!! Luckily, I actually had one in my car!

Despite my best intentions, half the time I forget to take the bags to my car. Then, half of the times that I do... I forget to take them into the store!! One time, a cashier actually held up the line for me to run out and get my bags!!
I thought that was incredible... but a great example to anyone waiting in line behind me.... 'tis far better to wait three minutes for me to retrieve a reusable bag ... than to wait 300 years for that bag to decompose in a landfill!

Anyway. That's when this cashier told me that her New Years Resolution is to remember to bring her reusable cloth bags to the store with her.

What a great resolve!!
Won't you all do the same?

Take them not only to the grocery store, but to the mall, to Target... and everywhere you shop!
If you are making a small purchase... a book or two... REFUSE a bag! Just carry them with you. It's not that much of a bother.

Next year, everyone on my list is getting cloth shopping bags. I was going to do it this year, but I resolve to do it next Christmas. Maybe I'll even make some to make it special.