Thursday, August 15, 2013
We worked all day preparing and cooking and planning the dinner. Everything was ready, the house looked great, food was in the oven and steaks on the grill. Our company arrived and as we greeted them I was ceremoniously handed a jar of brownie mix by said career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality. "Here's dessert. I thought we could make this." He said with a charming smile. "Oh" I replied, "Thanks." I turned the jar in my hands and stared at it in disbelief. "You shouldn't have. REALLY. You shouldn't have." In an attempt to hide my suprise, I set the jar aside and told my guest that we would just play it by ear. Maybe we wouldn't even want dessert.... (I certainly didn't feel like cooking something else and dirtying more dishes.) I had expected a cake, some cookies, maybe even a plate of brownies, but certainly not brownie ingredients in a sad little glass canning jar.
We enjoyed a wonderful meal and great conversation. Then, someone said something about wanting a little something sweet."Here are some grapes," I suggested hopefully."No, I was thinking something cakey. We could make the brownies!" Piped up the career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality. "Um, yeah, I don't really want to bake that." I replied truthfully. Someone asked, "Where did it come from anyway?" The career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality answered, "Oh, I got it for Christmas once." Someone somewhere asked if it was still good, suggesting that maybe the ingredients had since expired. We looked at the jar and decided that you can't really tell, and chose not to bake it. Happy me. Instead, my dear friend Howard and I volunteered to drive to the store and find something else.
We ended up at a little restaurant that offered two choices for dessert, Banana cream or Chocolate cream pie. We ordered one of each and drove toward home. On the way back Howard confided in me ,"Jo, I hate that jar! I just hate it! I can't believe he brought that!" I asked how long his brother, (the career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality) had been bringing the jar to dinner parties and Howard said he was not sure. By his calculations it was at least 2 years though. We arrived home, the pie was devoured. Soon after everyone started to leave. As he was leaving, I handed the career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality the jar of brownie mix. "Here," I told him, take it with you. You can try to give it to your next hostess." As you read this post, there is at this very moment, somewhere in or near Riverside California, a cold little jar of brownie mix just waiting to make its' way to another dinner party given by another unsuspecting hostess....
I want to make very clear that bringing a gift for your hostess is truly not necessary, nothing is expected in return. But for all of you who may want to bring a gift but do not know the proper etiquette of what to give your hostess, I have compiled a list to help you along:
1) A nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil (I couldn't tell you the difference between virgin and extra virgin, in my book you either are, or are not virgin, but what ever)
2) A scented bar of luxury hand soap (NOT Irish Springs, Lava soap, or Ivory by any means)
3) A new or antique book on a subject they are interested in (perhaps "Taxidermy for beginers "
4) A bouquet of flowers, unless of course your hostess suffers from hay fever
5) A bottle of white wine for cooking (but NEVER under any circumstances should you bring a box of wine. That my friends is tacky to the umph degree. Just trust me here.)
I have also compiled a short list of things NOT to bring:
1) A jar of brownie mix gifted to you at Christmas 2 years ago
2) A jar of ANYTHING gifted to you at Christmas 2 years ago
3) A set of hubcaps
5) The litter of ferrel kittens that has been living under your floorboards for the past week and a half
I guarantee that if you stick to these guidelines, you will have a happy hostess. A happy hostess will invite you over again. Another invite means another free meal and a lovely evening with friends. You are welcome.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Today we celebrate my first born childs' 22nd birthday. I won't bore you with those nauseating phrases like: "Where does the time go?" or "How time flies" or "Enjoy them when they are little, it goes by so fast!" which are always said with a wistful look upon ones face. Yes they are true. Yes I think them too. But can we just come up with something new to say? I mean you can't do anything about it right? Let's move forward here shall we? I have a friend who is about 6 years younger than me who just had a baby. As I look at that sweet little bundle of luscious baby-ness I find myself thinking things like, "Oh look at those cute little bitty fingers! Isn't he just darling? What sweet little clothes! And those thoughts quickly turn into: I am sooo over potty training and tantrums, Thank God it's not me having to get up through the night!" And of course, "What WAS she thinking?" God bless all the mommies out there who clean and do laundry and cook and wash and bathe and discipline and raise-up-a-child-in-the-way-they-should-go, and fall exhausted into bed only to be awakened several times during the night just to do it all over again the very next day, and the next, and the day after that. I love having teenagers and young adults, enjoying conversations that usually make sense and being able to eat in a restaurant that doesn't include a scary clown in a yellow zip up jumpsuit with a red Afro, or a giant rat named Chucky. I love that my kids have their own personalities and opinions and interests. Although I enjoyed my children when they were little, let's be honest here, it was exhausting. I was tired. I needed a nap. And parenthood is 24/7 y'all. Mommies don't get vacations. Unless you have a nanny you pay to raise your child, and what is the point of having children if you are going to do that? Why not just get a tea-cup poodle that you can drop off at the kennel for your vacations? I saw a mommy today at a restaurant who was brave enough to take all of her five children who ranged in age from an infant to an 8 year old. Her crew was all very well behaved and I only saw a total of 3 punches between the brothers and 2 straws flying through the air the entire time we were there. Nothing spilled, no one left the table except for a restroom break and they said their please and thank yous'. The older 3 were boys who wore matching clothes and they were all clean with nails scrubbed and hair combed. I know this because they were so adorable that I could barely keep my eyes off them. As a matter of fact I noticed the Mommy watching me closely several times as I was looking at her children. She probably thought I was a pervert or a kidnapper....But seriously they were all just the cutest little things. As they were getting ready to leave, the waitress came up and was asking the children if they had started school yet and the Mommy interrupted by answering in a single breath and perhaps a little too loud and with too much enthusiasm: "They start Monday, thank you JESUS! I'm so excited I hardly know what to do!" and then she continued, "This one's starting 3rd grade, this one's starting 1st, this one's going into kindergarten, and this one's in day care, Oh, thank you JESUS!" And I couldn't help but laugh. Now I have a best friend who is a Kinder teacher and she is not looking forward to school starting nearly as much as parents around the world, so I have to honestly say that I THANK GOD ABOVE for all the teachers and day care providers who selflessly and kindly take care of our children from September to June each and every year. Thank you and I am praying for you. I know how difficult it is to keep an entire class under control for five minutes, let alone an entire school day AND to actually teach them something. If I could give each and everyone of you a paid vacation to the Bahamas I most certainly would. But since I cannot, this sincere and heartfelt thank you will have to suffice. And to all the mommies out there I say this... school starts Thursday for us so, PARTAAAAY!!!!!!
I had a family member invite me to play Words with friend with him last night. All day long I have been trying to figure out how it works. After about 8 hours, I finally admitted defeat and handed my phone over to my son to figure it out so he could translate it for me. He did and this is the conversation that followed:
Me: "Why does it say Jodiwhit?"
Husband: "That's your user name."
Me: "Why couldn't you make it something cute? Like Jodi Witty? Or J-Wit? Or...I don't know, Sexy woman?"
Husband: "Don't worry about that. Just play."
Me: "But Jodiwhit?!? That's so boring! Whatever."
Son; "So you're already playing a game with Howard. It looks like you spelled H-E-L-L. Now it's his turn."
Me: "Yes, I spelled H-E-L-L last night when we started the game."
Son: "Now you need to wait until he is online and playing the game and he will spell a word from that. It's basically Scrabble."
Me: "I get it. So I can have different games going at the same time with other people?"
Son: "Yes. And you are playing now with Howard."
Me: "What is this? It says I lost the game with Zyngawf..."
Husband: "Give me that! It says you lost a game with Zyngawf because you left it open and you timed out. So you automatically lost."
Me: "I was playing a game with Zyngawf? I didn't know that. How can I be unaware of playing a game? That doesn't make sense!"
Husband: "If you play without picking your opponent the game will randomly select someone to play with you."
Me: "O, I see. And it picked Zyngawf..."
I pick up the phone and press a button that says "New game with Zyngawf."
Husband: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!!!!"
Me: "I'm starting a new game."
Husband: "But that's ZYNGAWF!!!"
Husband: "You don't want to play with ZYNGAWF! You're already playing with Howard!"
Me: "I can't play two games at the same time?"
Husband: "Yes but you are already playing with Howard!"
Me: "Why can't I play with Zyngawf?"
Husband: "Because you are already playing with Howard!!!!"
Me: "Why can't I play a game with Howard and a game with Zyngawf at the same time? Is there a law against this? Is Zyngawf a serial killer who plays Words with friends as a hobby? Does he get double word score if he spells MURDER?"
Husband: "FINE! Go ahead and play with Zyngawf!"
Me: "OK OK! I won't play with Zyngawf! Sheesh!"
Husband: Play with Zyngawf! It doesn't matter to me."
And FYI, I am playing with Zyngawf as you read this.