We’re Just Friends

Posted on July 31, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Dear Lora,

Would it be strange if I invited my girlfriend’s husband to be my ‘date’ to an upcoming formal event?  Both my husband and his wife will be out of town on work trips.  He and his wife are close friends of ours, they are new to the area and it could be a great way for him to meet more people.  I’d also have a dance partner. 

Dear Formally Introduced,

Simple answer:  No.

Minors don’t take coal to the coalmine and you shouldn’t take your friends husband to a formal.  Nothing good can come from it – NOTHING!

Although I’m positive your intentions are pure, the risk of what others might think, in a negative way, is just too high.  I know, I know, we’re not supposed to give a darn about what other people think, but let’s be honest, we do. 

No one likes going to any event alone, unless they are a pickpocket, and even then, they usually work in numbers.  I completely understand why this seems like a good idea, but you’ll have to trust me on this one, it’s not. 

Just for a second, let’s pretend you do take him, how do you introduce him?

“Hey, I’d like you to meet my good friends husband…no, she’s not here tonight, it’s just us…he hasn’t worn this tux since his wedding, so we thought, what the heck!”

Then comes the unavoidable follow-up question:

“Where’s Biff, your husband?  And Buffy, his wife?”

You answer:  “They’re both out of town.”

I’m getting geeked out just typing it.  Enough said.

Catch a ride with another couple and go solo.  You may not get to bust a move as much, but you also won’t have to dance around the uncomfortable question of whether you’re having an affair the next morning when texts start flying around town.  And trust me, they would.  No dirty dancing necessary, just a few no-goodnicks with dirty minds.

It’s better to cutback on the two-stepping, rather than risk a two-timing rumor. 




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Hungry Husband Help

Posted on January 23, 2012. Filed under: Couples, Family, Home, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Dear Lora,

I am a terrible cook and a busy working mom.  Every night I limp by in the kitchen serving my family tragic meals of chicken fingers or mac and cheese.  My husband grimaces when he sees the meal and constantly rides me about becoming a better cook.  That would be great it I had the time and energy, to take on one more thing, but I don’t.  Help!

Hectic & Hungry

Dear H & H,

I’ll bet you squirm every time you hear the old “The way to a man’s heart is through is stomach”, don’t you?  The pressure that one line has put on all of us is huge.  Although that can be countered with “Diamonds are a girls best friend”, the reality is, men expect us to cook everyday, while we never expect diamonds, right?

Case in point: my husband, Scooter, expects me to cook every night of the week, except 2 – Friday, when he plays hockey and isn’t home for dinner and Saturday, which is date night, where I’m allowed to super size my #4 meal.  Romantic, I know.  Honestly, I’m happy eating anywhere someone else is doing the dishes, or wiping done the trays, as the case may be.

The other 5 nights of the week, I have to come up with the menu, of course no one in my family ever offers up any suggestions, but are all quick to complain the minute the food hits the table.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

No matter whom you’re married to, I’ve come to believe our husbands expect us to do it all – cook, cleaning, caretaker and co-bread winner.  The reality is, it’s just not possible!

I don’t care who you are, or how well you think you’re doing it, if your plate is that full, something needs salt.  Unless, of course, you don’t sleep, but then you’d be a vampire and we all know, thanks to those Twilight movies, even they have to hunt in the middle of the night for food – yuck!

Bottom line:  It’s impossible to be Martha Stewart, that’s why there’s only one.  Who else could plant her own peas, paint the pantry and plan a 5-course meal all in one day?  The reality is, she has an entire team of creative folks helping her keep up the façade.  And, here are a couple of key ingredients to her recipe for doing it all:  1.) She doesn’t have a husband or 2.) Small kids at home!  Unfortunately, the picture of perfection she’s created has caused quite a conundrum for the rest of us common chicks.

So how do you let him know it’s nearly impossible to be Rachel Ray (who, by the way doesn’t have children) every night after work?  Before you hit your boiling point, I suggest cooking up a plan.

I’m going to guess your husband isn’t a culinary wizard in the kitchen either, so I recommend choosing one night a week, where you, your hubby and possibly kids, all learn to cook together.  It could end up being a fun family night and helpful for all of you.  Thursday would be good, as most men are starting to mentally settle down work-wise around Thursday night – don’t select Monday, as that would likely be a recipe for disaster!

Despite my aforementioned comments, I suggest picking up a book like “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook” – yes, Martha Stewart!  It’s a highly rated beginner cookbook, which she probably didn’t write by herself anyway.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Before you suggest this appetizing adventure, I’d figure out a way to approach it in guy terms, try using the word “team”, instead of you and I, tell him you have whipped up a tasty “game plan”.  Let him know you’re willing to learn how to cook, but would really love it if it was something you could whip up together.

I would also suggest making the night before a take-out night, where you pick up dinner, instead of trying to cook.  Nothing fancy, maybe just pizza and salad.  Next thing you know, 2 of your 5 weeknights are covered, leaving only 3 that you need to stress about.  Hey, it’s a start.

If it sounds boring to do the same thing every Wednesday or Thursday, keep this is mind, schedules create sanity.  Especially in men and children, when they know what to expect, things just run smoother.  Although men would like us to believe they like to be surprised – they’re probably taking about being surprised in another room in the house, not the kitchen.

Once the mystery is taken out of cooking, it’s actually a lot of fun, especially if you have a small army of elves who can clean up after you; in our house they’re called the kids!

And there are other benefits to cooking up a storm — in my kitchen I use it as an indirect line of communication, sometimes even warming one of Scoot’s cold fronts.

For example, if I make fish, Scoot assumes I’m upset with him, and candidly, sometimes I am.  He can’t stand fish or mushrooms, so if either show up in a dish, he knows he’s in the doghouse.  On the other side of the menu, if I make something he loves, like chicken and dumplings, he assumes I’ve used the credit card a bit too much and am looking for leniency.   Both have a surprising success rate.

And here’s the good news, you don’t have to learn how to cook like Julia Child to make a big impression.  In fact, sometimes, it’s the presentation that makes the meal.  Here’s what I’ve learned from my mom Norma Jean, put away the paper plates for a week and use real dishes.  N.J. has always said anything you’ve spent time cooking deserves a real plate.

Stick a tablecloth (one you can toss in the washer) on the table and light a couple of candles.  It’s amazing how much better food tastes when you light a 10 cent votive!

To help you start your culinary crusade, I’ve included a super simple recipe my whole family loves.  This spaghetti tastes exactly like the one made from scratch N.J. has made my entire life.  Since I don’t have time to let sauce cook all day I’ve created my version – enjoy!

Dear Lora’s Super Simple Spaghetti

1 lb. of ground turkey or beef

2 Jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I use Paul Newman’s Sockarooni)

2 T. of sugar

¼ C. of whipped cream cheese

1 whole bay leaf

1 box of your favorite pasta, cooked according to the directions on the box (I use whole grain thin spaghetti)

Parmesan cheese for serving

In a large pot, brown meat and drain.  Return to heat and add sauce, sugar, cream cheese and bay leaf.  Stir until well blended and the cream cheese has melted.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until ready to eat.  Remove bay leaf, pour over pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve with a salad and garlic bread.

If you’re trying to avoid carbs, microwave a spaghetti squash, use a fork to remove the strands and substitute for pasta.

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