Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On The Hunt

I am not a network TV watcher. I don't watch any shows like "Lost" or "Grey's Anatomy" or any of those other things people are always going on about. I am not interested. This does not mean that I don't enjoy being entertained by TV. I just like the channels you have to pay a cable (or, in our case, satellite) bill to see.

It will be no surprise to hear that my most watched network by far is HGTV. And, yes, I do have a favorite show. This is the part that will probably seem strange. My absolute favorite show right now and of the last several months is...House Hunters International. It is fabulous.

I love learning about other places in the world, and this format - a house hunt - lets you know more intimate things about a place. If you watch a Rick Steves travel show on PBS you're going to see a lot of wonderful places to visit, but you're not going to get to tour three average family apartments in three different districts of Budapest, are you? It is so fascinating to me. I love imagining how other people live their daily lives, and this show helps me tremendously. If you haven't ever watched it, give it a try. It's on every night right after the regular House Hunters, which is also not bad, but seeing different homes in Wichita just doesn't have quite the same appeal as seeing three different homes on New Zealand's Hibiscus Coast. Hooray for vicarious travel!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quiz: Do You Know Who Emily Post Is?

Have you ever heard of a thing called etiquette? Apparently, many people haven't, especially the "rising generation". I guess etiquette is kind of old fashioned. It was even when I was growing up. That didn't stop my parents from raising us with a very defined guide to good manners. We did things that certainly none of my friends did. We had family rules for many situations.

Rules for answering the phone:
If it was for someone other than you who was home the conversation went:
You: Hello?
Caller: Is your mother there?
You: Yes, just one moment please.
Always. Always the exact same phrase.

If it was for someone other than you who was not home the conversation went:
You: Hello?
Caller: Is your mother there?
You: No, I'm sorry, she isn't. May I take a message?
Again, no variation here, ever.

(You may notice that in these examples the caller is always requesting my mother. That was usually the way it worked.)

It was for you:
You: Hello?
Caller: Is (insert your name here) there?
You: This is she.
I was shocked in college to her my roommate say "This is her". She had to tape a sign over the phone that said "This is SHE" so she would say it properly.

Just a side note, in Romania the conversation would go like this:
You: Hello!
Caller: Is (insert your Romanian name here) there?
You: I am!
I just always loved that short and precise declaration "I am!". In Romanian they say "sunt". Just one word - even better.

Other ways in which we showed proper etiquette were things like not starting to eat your dessert until the hostess first took a bite of hers. We ended up amending this rule slightly to "unless the dessert includes ice cream" because my mom was notoriously slow at taking her first bite and everyone's ice cream would be quite melt-y by the time she finally settled down.

We also never wore white dress shoes or nylons before Easter or after Labor Day. As we got older we could wear "winter white" or cream, but not true white.

When we finished eating our dinner we always said "May I please be excused?" before leaving our places.

We said "excuse me" when we sneezed or yawned. Other bodily functions were not allowed :).

When we went to bed, we always gave our parents good night kisses on the cheek, and if our grandparents were visiting, we had to give them good night kisses on the cheek too, which I never really wanted to do.

Even when I was an adolescent my peers thought all of this was strange. I was given a nickname by friends of "Miss Priss", because they felt I and my family were so prim and proper. I never minded, and I still don't. I like it. I hope to pass much of it on to my kids, even if other people think it's strange. I feel it will be easier now that we live in Texas. In fact, my kids may be seen as the ill-mannered ones because they don't refer to Tyler and me as "Sir" and Ma'am".

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I have another blog where I post pictures of the kids. If you're ever interested in the more traditional "family blog" you can check it out:


Monday, December 1, 2008

Apple Pie and Romance

Last night we were enjoying some of Tyler's famous shredded apple pie that was left over from Thanksgiving. I know what you're thinking - leftover PIE? From Thanksgiving? How is that possible? Well, maybe it will help you to know that we went to Thanksgiving dinner at Tyler's uncle Wendell's house. There were 22 people there, including all of the little children. We had 14 pies. To be more acurate, 13 pies and 1 pumpkin cheesecake. That's more than half of a pie per person. We just didn't have it in us to make much of a dent in all the pie after the biggest dinner of the year. So, we ended up bringing 2 1/2 pies home.

Eating it last night reminded me of the first experience I ever had with Tyler's shredded apple pie. It was the summer of 2003. Tyler and I had been on a few dates - maybe 3 or 4. He invited me to a bar-b-que at his brother Ryan's house to meet his mom and brothers. He was in charge of bringing pie, and had to make it before the evening festivities.

I offered to help him make the pie over at my apartment. I am not embellishing this story in any way when I tell you that his response to me was, "No...I don't think so. I'm not sure if I want to spend that much time with you."

Can you believe I actually married this person? Truthfully, I think I respected him more than I was offended, because his reply sounded like something I would have said back then. And just 3 months later we were engaged. And he baked these latest apple pies all by himself this time, too.