Your Holiday Buffet. . . Will it Include Warren Buffett?

pumpkin pieWhat is it about standing in line for food that brings out the DMV in people?  This holiday season, whether you’re (smart and) eating out at a restaurant, serving the hearty meal in your own home, or partaking in the holiday at someone else’s house, chances are the scene will not resemble a Norman Rockwell painting. People will be getting up from the main table to obtain food from what we call a “Buffet.”

We do know this is pronounced Buffay, correct?  It’s not spoken like a line from a famous nursery rhyme.  “Little Miss Muffet sat on a Tuffet to eat at a Buffet!”  Right?

Now that we’ve cleared up the French influence on our language, you’re in luck!  Little Miss Menopause has some tips and rules to offer about Buffets, along with giving her thanks for your readership!

But first a little lesson on the types of individuals you are likely to encounter at a Buffet:

A Buffeter Surveyer – – These are people who have read “helpful” articles with tips about losing weight during Thanksgiving and have come to view the offerings in their entirety prior to making their careful selections. They have been promised that if they have a calm, relaxed demeanor and a predetermined game plan approaching the Buffet, they will not gain five pounds. Most of these people will methodically walk the length of the buffet before diving in head first.  It’s best to back up and give them a running start.  Note:  If you’ve read the same articles, it’s far too late to remind them that using a salad size plate instead of entree size can fool the eye and trick the stomach.

A Buffeter Overstayer – – They think of the buffet as their home base. They will continuously loiter, integrating all kinds of tasks into the buffet. Talking, eating, wiping, consulting, organizing, refilling, and generally becoming a permanent fixture at a buffet. They are not compatible with the next type…

A Buffeter Get-out-of-my-Wayer! – – He means business.  Napkin tucked, first in line, and making appreciative sounds that make you wonder if a nearby barnyard has taken attendance recently.

A Buffeter Prayer Sayer – – A religious woman who’s extremely graceful.  Literally.  She makes sure Grace has been said in all languages, in all cultures, as she prays for starving people everywhere. Very thoughtful too – – if there are leftovers she will pack a doggy-bag for God.

A Buffeter Cabareter – – Usually a former preschool teacher who know lots of holiday songs and won’t hesitate to coerce people in line to join in with “Ten Little Indians” or “Pumpkin Pie in the Sky!” And you better at least lip synch when she divides you up into sections for her round of  “Gobble, Bobble, Wobble” or she’ll belt it all out on her own.

A Buffeter Delayer – – You know they want food, they know they want food, but they will stay seated until the last person gets up, not wanting to appear overeager.  Then they will talk until next year about how you didn’t prepare enough grub.

A Buffeter Weigher – – Such a killjoy.  They recite calorie counts for everything and whip out their little kitchen scales to do an official cranberry calibration.

A Buffeter Layerer – – This person is obsessed with rearranging the sumptuous spread and digging through layers of turkey or yams looking for who knows what.  Tongs are their favorite tool of choice but they can function just as well with a spatula too.

A Buffeter Sprayer – – It would be less offensive if this person was merely having an allergy attack. But that’s usually not the case. Need I say more? I needn’t.

A Buffeter Okayer – -You’ll not meet a more pleasant, jovial person in the line tomorrow. The answers to the following questions will always be “Okay!” 1. Can I go in front of you?  2. How’ve you been since last Thanksgiving?  3. Do you think I should goose cousin Cindy as she takes some goose? 

A Buffeter Trayer – – They frequent cruise ships and Las Vegas so they are professionals and bring their own tray.  It looks suspiciously like the one at Soup Plantation.  But it helps them with efficiency because balancing full plates is really not their thing.

A Buffeter Bouqueter – – These are gardening people and if the hostess has thoughtfully decorated with floral centerpieces, that’s all they will talk about.  You’d think they would prefer Roasted pale pink Roses or Fried Fuschia Freesia to light or dark turkey parts.

A Buffeter Betrayer – – Intimately acquainted with the hostess, they won’t hesitate to tell all they know. “That salad she claims is organic?  Nope.  And it’s a Costco pumpkin pie this year.  Skip the sweet potatoes, she doesn’t wash the skins.” Etc.

A Buffeter Clichér  – – Like the turkey, this guy’s vocabulary is stuffed full of stupid puns and double entendres. While staring at the carved bird, he’s bound to remark, “Looks scary….it’s a Goblin!” Or “I’m suddenly in a Fowl mood!”  Tell him you gave up laughing at stupid jokes ‘Cold Turkey’ and move along. 

A Buffeter Halfwayer – – They nearly get to the end of the food display when they realize they forgot to grab a ladle full of salad dressing some twelve platters ago. Now they’re gonna stand frozen and flummoxed in line, wondering how they can politely go backwards.  Say this: “Grandma, want me to get you some Ranch?” Problem solved.

A Buffeter FoulPlayer – – If it’s accidental, it can be forgiven – –  but younger buffet-goers will drop a cherry tomato into the gravy to see if it floats or sinks.  That’s just the beginning of the havoc they can wreak and I hesitate to offer more examples lest I give them other ideas.

A Buffeter OyVeyer – – Being Jewish, I’ve met more than my share. Starts with, “Oy Vey, my doctor says my triglycerides are sky high lately.”  Ask them what a triglyceride is and they’ll just sigh deeply and say, “Oy Vey, I really shouldn’t be eating that.” or worse, “Oy Vey, should YOU really be eating that??”

A Buffeter Essayer – – Someone who goes around observing and interviewing people in line at buffets in the hopes of writing a funny blog post because she has nothing better to put out on Thanksgiving. The nerve.

A Jimmy Buffetter Buffeter — Related to the Buffeter Cabareter (above) but you’ll truly be impressed with how much of the “Wasting Away in Margaritaville” lyrics they actually know. “Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt. Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know, it’s my own damn fault. . . ” is only the beginning!

That blonde in the lower left is about to get her fingers slammed in the chafing dish lid. Not just chaffed, SLAMMED!

That blonde in the lower left is about to get her fingers slammed in the chafing dish lid. Not just chaffed, SLAMMED!

And now for some quick rules.  Just a few though, because everyone knows the rule is “there’s no rules on Thanksgiving!”

Don’t Go Astray And Disobey the Array of the Display at the Buffet!   (The 10 Commandments)

1.  Thou Shalt Not Cut The Line – – I know, I know….you just want seconds on the lamb.  But isn’t that a different holiday food anyhow?

2.  Thou Shalt Not Switch Direction: Buffets go in one direction only. Don’t start making your way through the line from the opposite direction. A big hint — you will find yourself carrying food in your hands because the plates are on the other side.

3. Thou Shalt Watch Thy Children: Always escort young children, say 10 or younger, to the buffet. And give them second helpings of the creamed acorn squash in the hopes that one of the ingredients is Valium or Xanax.

4. Thou Shalt Keep Thy Fingers to Thyself: Kids aren’t the only offenders here. Adults are just as likely to get excited and grab something quickly because nobody is looking.  I see you.  I always see you.

5. Thou Shalt Not Move Tongs: Never, ever move the tongs from one platter or hot food station to another. What if the person behind you has allergies to shrimp and you’ve just moved the tongs from a shrimp dish to a turkey dish? What if that person is kosher or vegetarian?  Ever think of that you “Tong Trader” you?  Need a gentle reminder?  Hum the “It’s just Wrong to move a Tong” song.  Don’t know that one?  Make friends with the preschool teacher who sings in buffet lines mentioned above.

6. Thou Shalt Not Eat in Line:  It’s amazing how many people you run into who are suddenly extremely diabetic or hypoglycemic and must have their food right NOW at a buffet.

7. Thou Shalt Not Take More Than Thou Can Eat: Buffet dining, by its very nature, is gluttonous, but that doesn’t mean you have to be! “If you’re a glutton with the mutton, you’ll need to move your shirt button! La, la, la, la!”  Okay, so I dine with a certain preschool teacher quite often!  Similarly, don’t take the last baked potato because it’s rude to leave the people behind you with an empty serving tray.  If you do, stealthily stick up a little sign that says, “Kilroy was here” so they can at least laugh at their ill-fortune.

8. Thou Shalt Use a New Plate Each Time: If you go back for seconds, leave your original plate at the table and get a fresh one each time.  Why this is, I’ll never know . . .  but I get admonished for it all the time.  (Perhaps a hygiene specialist can elaborate on how this could cause cross-contamination in the comment section?)

9. Thou Shalt Wash Thy Hands: Sticking with the cleanliness theme, always wash your hands before getting in the buffet line. You might not be touching the food directly, but you will be handling the serving utensils.  And I actually GET this one, so no explaining in the comments section will be necessary,  you Germaphobes.)

10. Thou Shalt Not Make a Doggie Bag: Don’t even think to ask.  There are no doggie bags at buffets, NO exceptions. A napkin squirreled quickly away inside your purse will always suffice. Men without handbags are outa luck and will need to be super nice to their wives for leftovers back home.

It was not beyond me to do this at a Buffet.  Yes, food was served inside wagons, dump-trucks, watering cans, pails and eaten with shovels.  Rest easy, it was for a kid's party!

It was not beyond me to do this at a Buffet. Yes, food was served inside wagons, dump-trucks, watering cans, pails and eaten with shovels. Rest easy, it was for a kid’s party!

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Is Profanity Legal in Scrabble?

couchEvery writer plays Scrabble at least once in their life, right?  Form a seven letter word, score 50 pts, use your Q without a U, challenge your opponents version of “EUOUAE” (a consonant-less word that’s legal? Yep!) clink teacups, and call it a fun night, right?

That’s all well and good when it’s a friendly game around your kitchen table with family.  But playing with a competitive stranger online from God know’s where, who also cheats? Well that’s quite another story!

It all started when my children coaxed me to download the App, “Words With Friends” on my cellphone.  What a neighborly sounding game it was! A few clicks and voilà! (I always wanted to work “voilà” into a post!) suddenly it was just as I remembered from my own childhood– except you could take all day to make one word and nobody minded.

That was rather nice – – mulling over the letters whilst mopping the dining room floor or leisurely contemplating a compound word as you auto-shuffled the letters “sexycat” around, searching for something better during a gynecologist appointment.

And you could even send gracious messages back-and-forth like “awesome word!” or “you got me there!” No rush, no muss, just clean, polite, old-fashioned fun.

Until none of my children would play with me anymore. Or my ex-husband, my cousins, my neighbor, my babysitter, my accountant, my Rabbi, my boyfriend, and not even my Tupperware Lady.  Right, like she was just soooooo busy – – when’s the last time you were invited to a party that featured burping plastic containers?
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Poor sports and sour grapes, every last one of them, just because I clobbered them all! One by one, I went through my Facebook victims, err contacts, systematically challenging familiar names to a friendly game until they all dropped off in defeat.

Then it happened. The invitation from “1OldTortoise” appeared–I took one look at his innocuous name and eagerly clicked “Accept.” Easy pray.

But who was he?

His first word utilized all his letters — “ratines.” A noun meaning “heavy, loosely woven fabric,” my eye! Looking back, that’s when I shoulda smelled a rat.

But I gave him the benefit of the doubt and made a few of my own 7-letter words. First “coupons” followed by “toenails” playing off his ‘S.’ Ha! Let him dispute that toenails wasn’t all one word. Then a message came across in that cute little thought bubble–“I was just clipping mine.”

Okay, ewww! And seriously? I needed to know an Aging Reptile’s grooming habits? I don’t think so. Also I was immediately reminded of the Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare” because the sudden alacrity in which he sent his words across was astonishing. He beat me three times in a row just that one morning.

Gone were the relaxing days allowing me to pause and brainstorm for an hour. If I hesitated to respond in twenty minutes, a message would appear with an impatient ding, prompting, “1OldTortoise is waiting. Make your move!”
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Really? Well he can just pull his wrinkly head back inside that cracked shell of his and sit tight. What business did he have rushing me like that? It’s just a form of recreation, after all. Besides it’s humiliating getting beaten in a game of wits and skill by someone like this. He was quickly turning “Words With Friends” into “Language With Enemies!”

And worse yet, I had the distinct impression that he was using a dictionary. His words were just too obscure. Nobody has a vocabulary like that. And once I lost by 200 points because my 8-year old “borrowed” my cell phone for twenty minutes. Still, it was infuriating.

And if he wasn’t using a dictionary, then he had some other devious way of drawing all the best letters for his own rack while leaving me with nothing but “ffhzxns.” Whatever that was, I so yearned to pluralize it!

Then one day it happened. I actually beat him! But as I rejoiced, a thought bubble popped up all aglow. “Congratulations,” it proclaimed. “You managed to beat my young grandson who happened to be playing with my phone!”

Oh that was rich, really rich. What was this? He’s trying to diminish my joy. Make me feel foolish because I celebrated out-spelling a small child. One who probably called himself, “1Tinyturtle.”

The guy was so slippery, he may as well have been a snake. And persistent as all hell. Hell in a tortoise shell! The moment he won, like lightning, another invitation flashed across the screen–“Accept a new game with 1OldTortoise?”  I had no choice. If I clicked “decline,” I knew on his end it looked as if I resigned. I wouldn’t give him that satisfaction. I played with a 102 degree fever, in the middle of movies, while studying for an exam, and even as I wept because our cockatiel died.

Finally I developed that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude. I downloaded another app called scrabblecheat.com. I am not proud of this behavior. But the tortoise was going down… I was determined.

Now I couldn’t sleep because of my obsession with winning. When I did manage to grab a little shut eye, I dreamt of glass enclosures at the zoo, housing 200 year-old (did they live that long?) terrapins. (Small edible turtles!) Or I would awaken shouting out, “QWERTY!”
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The whole situation became truly absurd — he was cheating, I was cheating–it was as if there were two computers playing against each other. A tech war.

One night my mother came over for dinner and as we prepared the brisket and mashed potatoes together, I showed her the current “Words With Friends” game board in-progress on my cellphone.

“Ma,” I implored. “You were a high school English teacher, what intelligent word can you make with these letters?” She fished out her reading glasses and furrowed her brows. “Oh you’ve got a worthy opponent here,” she said. “But use your Y and make “gravy.”

Bingo! With her help, I felt confident I would finally make turtle wax outa him. And that’s when I heard it. The familiar ding, and then the thought bubble with a message inside.

“Gravy! Clever word you made. Now make some for your brisket. It’s always dry.”

As I peeked into the living room, I saw my mom typing into her own cellphone, beaming while nudging her glasses back up on her nose… Her old tortoise shell glasses.

“1TinyTurtle” was probably my own 8-year old little boy that she occasionally babysits. And my mom actually clips her coupons (not her toenails!) while playing me in “Word With Friends.” Good to know!

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This is my 100th post since Jan 1st 2014! I’d be thrilled if you’d leave me a comment to celebrate as well as introduce yourself–if you haven’t already?  And please visit me on The Huffington Post to laugh some more…. Click HERE

I Hate Annie and Her Stupid Song!

sunshineYeah, yeah, I guess it’s a given that “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!”  And then there’s all those Beatles hits . . .  “Here Comes The Sun!” or  “Good Day Sunshine!”  or “I’ll Follow The Sun!” But quite honestly, I am just burnt out!  At this point, I don’t even like Sonny (from Sonny and Cher!)

Apologies to the rest of you who live in climates where you would give anything to sunbathe, but in Southern California, we have had non-stop temps in the 80’s and 90’s since May (when we had the Firestorm wild-fires).  And here it is almost Thanksgiving, so by rights I should be able to choose whether I’d like to roast a turkey in an oven, slow cook it in a crockpot, deep fry it in a pan, or just grill it on the BBQ.  But no!  I can simply barricade a live bird in my backyard, tell guests to bring their own stuffing . . . and Ding! By dinner time, it will be seared enough to gobble down. Perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but I daresay not by much!

Please don’t leave comments convincing me how great the sun and the heat is because that just confirms why we got a divorce (sorry, that was an aside to my ex-husband who I know lurks here and is a certified sun-worshipper)  The rest of my lovely sun-kissed readers, let me try to explain — I think I have the opposite of SAD (or a summer version of it) where people NEED exposure to sunlight.  I need exposure to clouds.  I equate sun with skin cancer and wrinkles (it also depletes my energy, drains my creativity, not to mention melts my makeup!) and so on Friday, I ran off to Seattle for some much needed “gloom” and rain. Everybody knows that’s the place to escape the sun, right? And since I’ve been here, do you think I have even once sat in front of a fire with a nice cup of cocoa belting out, “Singing In the Rain?”  or  “Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up?”  Absolutely not!  It’s been SUN, SUN, SUN  in Washington as well.

But I did develop a nice winter cold and between that and traveling back home, I’m not sure when I will be back to post. I miss all the wonderful blogs I normally visit and I promise to return soon when I’m feeling better and not so sun-damaged.  Meanwhile, please visit an interview that was done with me recently.  Interview With Little Miss Menopause  And on Thursday, I had the wonderful honor of visiting the gifted Vikki Claflin at Laugh-Lines when she invited me to guest post.  Please indulge in her hilarious brand of comedy after reading my short post about email right here:  Female Email.  Lastly, I was thrilled to be nominated for a “Best Comedy Blog Post” by The Public Blogger Awards.  Just click HERE and scroll down to the 6th clown! Winner announced 12:01 am on  New Year’s Eve.  Guess I won’t be kissing anyone for too long at midnight!

And again please forgive me for not “Walking on Sunshine” today, even though I admit it’s a catchy tune — but instead I’m off to write my version of that famous children’s book, “Goodnight Sun!”

You Rock!

photo-426Myself: 17%
Together: 25%
I gave guidelines:  11%
I gave direct hints: 13%
He surprised me: 34%

What are these statistics for? These are the results of a survey given by The BAA (Bridal Association of America) to recently married females.  The question:  “Who picked out your engagement ring?”

I am focusing on the bottom 34%.  This is NOT directed at couples who decide together to get engaged and then opt to go together to get the woman a ring.  Nope.  I am thinking about that hopeful guy who has gathered up all his courage after a thoughtful shopping trip and then goes the extra mile to propose marriage inside a fortune cookie or on a Jumbotron at a basketball game.

This is also the result of a conversation I overheard today (Warning:  Yes, I AM on the loose in public places, eavesdropping for ideas to write about!) in a Starbucks.  Shall we listen in?

Bride-To-Be:  Just look at this pathetic ring.

Friend:  I can’t. I left my magnifying glass at home.

Bride-To-Be:  OMG — How can I ever put this on Facebook?  Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to spend at least three months of his salary?

Friend:  Maybe he thought that was after taxes?

Bride-To-Be:  Can I say “yes” to his proposal of marriage, but ‘no’ to this ring?

I cannot ignore this poor Bride-To-Be  (and others like her) in her time of need.  But first a guide to preventing this in the first place.

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Who remembers this episode? “Only a real diamond will cut a glass window!”

HOW TO GET THE RING YOU DESERVE AND STILL BE SURPRISED

Drop hints with food:  1.  When you order fish in a restaurant, bypass the shrimp on the menu by looking coy (not Koi!)  and exclaiming, “I think size really does matter, don’t you?” (Expect this to carry over into the bedroom that night)  2.  Consistently munch on two or three whole carrots whenever you’re in his presence. 3.  Keep digging through boxes of Crackerjacks, remarking that you can’t wait for the ‘prize.’

The Letter C:  Tell him how important you think the 4 C’s are  (and not Caviar, Cars, Children, and Chutney!)

Marilyn:  Dye your hair platinum and sing verses like, “A kiss on the hand may be quite continental!  A kiss may be grand but it won’t pay the rental.”

Names:  Tell him your parents almost named you Tiffany. And that he looks like a Harry Winston.

Movies, Television & Music:  1.  Keep renting the James Bond film,  “Diamonds Are Forever.”  2.  Rewind the Cave of Wonders scene in Aladdin where Jafar calls him a “Diamond in the rough.” 3.  Cheer and applaud every time Charlie Brown mutters, “I got a rock.” 4.  Sing anything by Neil Diamond (except “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore” which will cause him to pull roses from a neighbor’s garden.

Symbolic:  Explain that you believe the size and quality of a diamond represents the depth and strength of your committment, not to mention that it will be interpreted as a measure of his success in other people’s eyes. Does he really think it’s a coincidence that “ring” rhymes with “bling?”

Fidelity:  The larger the diamond, the more visual a “Stay away” sign sent to other men.  And the larger a reminder for you not to flirt — Otherwise you might forget and he wouldn’t want that.

Aging:  Don’t hesitate to add that if it’s too small, you will be forever squinting to see it — and that will cause wrinkles.

Telephone:  Instead of telling him to call you later, ask him to “give you a ring.”

Cubic Zirconia:  Tell him how romantic it would be for him to propose with a “placeholder” ring. And then once you say “yes” you can go shop together for the real diamond ring.  Awwww.

Sports:  Take a sudden interest in baseball Diamonds and boxing Rings.

If None of This Works and He Proposes With a Ring You Don’t Like:

Get a pink satin jacket, bob your hair, and wear the ring on a chain around your neck, claiming you’re a product of the 1950’s.

Tell him you’re highly allergic and break out in a rash with any diamond under a full two carats.

Explain that the ring didn’t fit but when you took it in to be resized, the jeweler dropped it down into a floor heater grate.

First make sure he’s not an I Love Lucy fan.  Next, tell him the ring slipped off and fell into a bucket of mortar.  Now it’s somewhere inside a brick BBQ that you were building with your friend Ethel.

Tell him you are superstitious and if a woman permits another woman to try on her engagement ring, the other woman will steal the heart of her betrothed.  Whom did you let try on your ring?  Your mother.

You take your Beatles very seriously and while listening to “Lucy in the Sky w/ Diamonds, your ring flew away, attached to a kite.

Or just do him a huge favor and try the honest approach. Say this:  “I want a large diamond to compensate for the fact that I have a very small heart. If you can’t understand why this issue would be so important, maybe you should find a girl that doesn’t care about such things.”

He will get down on one bended knee to thank you.

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Lucy didn’t care about her the size of her ring – – she just wanted the original one back for sentimental reasons.