Saturday, November 29, 2014

Have You Been a Good Holiday Guest This Weekend? Have You Done Your Guest Duties?

Have you been a good Thanksgiving Holiday weekend guest this weekend? Even if you are visiting your parents or a sibling, have you made your bed every morning? Have you offered to help the Hostess with the dishes, or with other chores? Have you brought a thoughtful house gift? Have you thanked everyone for a delightful time? Did you even realize guests have duties??

The following are a few ideas for all guests:

  • Bring a small, thoughtful house gift like a bottle of wine, or a Rum Cake or yummy cookies. 
  • Offer to help the Hostess, or just be self directed and start drying the dishes or taking out the trash.
  • Look around the house and find something to compliment the Host and Hostess on and mean it. 
  • Contribute to and keep your table conversation positive. Do not talk about religion or politics.
  • Make your bed each morning and upon leaving. 
  • Keep your room and bathroom picked up and neat. Clean up after yourself.
  • Y'all know the old saying about house guests and fish...after 3 days.....
  • Write a hand written Thank You note within 24 hours to your Host once you arrive back home. 
Be a good house guest by earning your keep and you will be invited back.

Don't be a good house guest and you'll get nothing next year but excuses:

"Sorry, we're going out of town this Holiday Season, maybe we'll see you around."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Table Manners from 0-10 in 60 Seconds

  Thanksgiving Table Manners from 0-10 in 60 Seconds 

 0.   Smile, greet everyone, then offer to help the Hostess.

 1.   Sit up straight in your chair and treat it like a church pew, not like a Lazy Boy chair.

 2.   Don't touch anything until the Host/Hostess sit down and place their napkins in their laps.

 3.   Have an age appropriate Grace or Blessing memorized and ready to go, just in case.

 4.   Place a dollop of all food offered on your plate whether you like it or not, and pass all dishes to the left with enthusiasm and a thank you.

 5.   Please, May I ask you to use your magic words often. Thank you! 

 6.   Fill your fork only 1/2 full (your fork is not a shovel) and raise it nicely to your mouth.

 7   Quietly say: "Please excuse me" if you must leave the table and place your napkin on your chair, the international signal for "I will return, do not take my plate."

 8.   Pace yourself with the rest of the table and pace yourself with the conversation as well.

 9.   Compliment and Toast the cook(s) and mean it with applause!

 10. Warmly thank the Host/Hostess for their hospitality, delicious food and lovely evening, then write a hand written "Thank You" note as soon as you arrive home.

 Be thankful, be with friends and family, be happy, be relaxed and be enjoying your Thanksgiving Day!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Civilizations and Civilians are All Chasing Immortality

In Emily St. John Mandel's creative, fast paced and futuristic novel, "Station Eleven," Arthur Leander, a 51 year old, thrice married, infamous Shakespearean actor, collapses and dies on stage while performing King Lear. Jeevan Chaudnary, a directionless journalist/paparazzo rushes to the stage to help Arthur, while little Kirsten Raymonde, holding two comic books given to her by Arthur, looks on frightened, from a stage wing.

Weeks later, an airborne invulnerable flu virus, wipes out 99.99% of the earth's population. Twenty years later, living on or off the grid is irrelevant. No electricity. No working cell phones. No available Internet. Gasoline is long gone. Ammunition is scarce. Canned goods are no longer. Small groups of survivors live in big box retail buildings and airports.

Clark Thompson, Arthur's old friend, stranded in an airport, starts an impromptu collection of old world items which eventually becomes the "Museum of Civilization." An adult Kirsten Raymonde, ironically becomes a Shakespearean actress with the "Traveling Symphony." Miranda, Arthur's first wife, a workaholic for Neptune Logistics, travels with Arthur's clouded glass paperweight. All the characters Emily St. John Mandel creates are connected to the iconic actor, Arthur Leander.

Grab your roll away suitcase, bottled water, compass, and pocket knife. Better know how to hunt and build a fire. Take the back roads and stay away from the cities. Rumor has it that a marauding, powerful prophet and his posse, are seeking to re-populate the earth. Tyler, son of Arthur and Elizabeth, (Arthur's second wife), is spewing scripture from The Book of Revelations. He is bullying and kidnapping people he chooses into joining his settlement, and killing those that threaten his idea of immortality.

Mandel's interesting theme of fragility and immortality remind the reader of the frailty of civilization, and illustrates each individual character's search for life's happy purpose and their quest for their own individual idea of immortal life through legacy. She gives us one common denomination in both the pre and post-pandemic societies that make life enjoyable: the ethereal, immortal plays and sonnets of Shakespeare, who himself, ironically, lived in a post-pandemic Renaissance civilization after the Black Death.

As a member of their Reader's Panel, read my review of Emily St. John Mandel's novel  "Station Eleven" (shortened for space) in the 2014 September Issue of Real Simple Magazine, page 39.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wedding Invitation Is Not a Traditional Paper Invitation, It's an iPad!

   It's official y'all. The paper page has turned, or shall I say, the traditional paper wedding invitation page. It's not 1952 any longer. The little hometown girl is no longer marrying the little hometown boy, and registering their fine china pattern at the local bridal registry shop around the corner. No longer need we call the hometown Mother-of-the-Bride on her land line to ask her where the happy couple is registered.

   This week, Keyshawn Johnson announced the wedding to his long time girlfriend and now fiancee, Jennifer Conrad, with a pre-programmed iPad sent to each wedding guest. Included on the iPad was an index listing all events such as brunches and pool parties, a photo gallery, guestbook, gift registry and a countdown to the big day. On your new iPad, you can conveniently click onto the wedding registry link, order and ship your gift right then and there. No fuss, no bother.

   The guests, of course, adore this new creative (albeit extravagant) wedding invitation. After all, this is Mr. Johnson's second marriage. He plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, they live together and have two children. So, I guess the gig is up. No old fashioned wedding jitters here! At least they are getting married!

   My Mother always said: "Never say never, dear," and I thought I would never say something like this, coming from an extremely conservative, traditional town where I still hand write at least one wedding response every Summer, but, I like this modern, ecological, efficient, convenient way of being invited to a wedding.

   What do y'all think???

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pretty Paper For Your Thoughts on a Hand Written R.s.v.p.

It happens every Summer. The inevitable invitation which must be responded writing! Yikes, you say. Oh no, I don't know how to write a written response. Well, don't fret, dear reader. Once you know how to do so, you'll never forget how to do, and you may put your mind at ease.

The following is, in general, the basic format, wording and layout acceptance and regret for a party, dinner, or wedding:

Mr. and Mrs. James Smith
accept with pleasure
the kind invitation of
Mr. and Mrs. John Carpenter
for Saturday, the fourth of July
at seven o'clock


Mr. and Mrs. James Smith
regret they are unable to accept
Mr. and Mrs. John Carpenter's
kind invitation for
Saturday, the fourth of July
at seven o'clock

So, there we are, just the basics. Variations of this format may be looked up in any complete book of etiquette. Be sure to use quality note paper (can be plain ecru which is not expensive) and use a fine tip, black ink pen. Best wishes and happy writing:))