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    July 2, 2003    PAGE FOUR      
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          The Gangís All Here: by Jo Cordi Sica

                                               "Everything that irritates us about others
                                                      can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."
                                                                              Carl Jung

If your shoulders are up around your ears from stress over the upcoming holiday get-togethers, you are in good company. I am looking forward to my upcoming party with some extremely mixed emotions. There are guests and family members I thoroughly enjoy seeing, yet there are others that the mere thought of sends me scurrying to the medicine cabinet for a double dose of Excedrin. I suppose I should explain, but it might be easier to show you this video of our last party. Here, pull up a chair, grab some pork rinds and enjoy the show.

[Camera zooms to the dining room where Nettie Naysayer is fanning herself.]

Poor Nettie never has a good word to say about anyone or anything. Sheís had a miserable life and never misses an opportunity to share every detail of her ghastly existence. Nettie is also quick to point out why Low Carb is bad for your health, doesnít work, and will result in you gaining weight. She makes faces and turns her nose up at anything even remotely low carb. Of course, dear Nettie has to stop between servings of cake, pie, bread, and pasta to take her medicine because she is diabetic. She also has heart problems and a host of other illnesses which make it difficult for her to maneuver through the house, which, by the way, has a poor layout. Inevitably, she will be sick for days after attending any party because the food, air conditioning, and ventilation are all inadequate.

[Fade to living room]

In the back corner of the living room is Eddie Eatandrun. Eddie and his clan arrive just as the food is being served. He wouldnít dream of bringing something with him as there is always plenty of food and drink already there. Eddieís group fills their plates with large quantities of every available item and retreat to a corner so as not to have to interact with any of the other guests. Once finished, they load up with doggie bags and dash out the door because mom/daughter/cousin/brother is sick and they need to get home. Eddie claims to have a home but no one is certain since he has yet to invite anyone to his place.

[Wide angle pan to kitchen]

Here in the kitchen we have Mary Martyr, Candy Competitive, and Tillie Takeover. These three travel as a group. Mary runs non-stop taking care of everyone and everything. Itís hard, back-breaking work, compounded by her arthritis, tendonitis, and gastric upset, but she gladly tends to every need. She is quick to point out how she has taken care of everyone on the planet for the last 50 years. Mind you, she is happy to do it and doesnít expect anything in return, but it would be nice, once in a while, if someone thanked her for all the hard work. Candy is often mistaken for Mary because she too takes care of everything and everyone. You can tell them apart if you pay attention because Candy has done twice as much as Mary for twice as long, while suffering from twice as many diseases. Tillie stays close to Candy and Mary, but she may be found anywhere there is a job to do. The minute someone starts setting the table, washing a plate, or tending to the children, Tillie is right there taking over the task. It is best to move aside and let Tillie finish because she knows the best and fastest way to accomplish everything.

[Fade to back yard where Cousin Rosie Rumor is chatting to the neighbors]

Cousin Rosieís mission in life is keeping the world informed. She has it, from a reliable source that Dr. Atkins fell because he suffered a massive coronary due to high cholesterol from eating all that beef. Rosie also personally knows three people who have suffered kidney failure and brain damage from being on that all-meat diet. She is genuinely concerned about my health and hopes I come to my senses soon. Rosie also knows, because she heard it from a friend of a friend, that cousin Phil was seen last week sneaking out of a hotel with a mysterious red head. Please donít repeat that, because Philís wife, Ellen would be absolutely devastated if she found outÖ
[tape stops abruptly]

Sorry about the sudden ending, but one of the kids shot off a firecracker which scared the dog causing her to jump up, knock over my husband, and send the camera flying into the fence. In any event, I imagine youíve seen some familiar characters by this point. My experience is that no matter where the event is, or who is hosting it, the same people are always in attendance.

This time around, Iím going to take a different approach to make the occasion more enjoyable. Rather than knocking myself out, feeling overworked and underappreciated, I am facing this holiday party with an entirely different outlook and a sound action plan.

First, I am setting realistic expectations of others and myself. Iím not going to hope that Mary, Candy, and Tillie will have miraculously had a personality transplant. I will accept them the way they are. Iíll find the humor in their behavior and consider it free entertainment. Better yet, Iíll sit back and enjoy the day while they take over the hostess and clean-up duties. As the old saying goes, if you canít beat Ďem, join Ďem!Ē

Next, Iím going to cut myself a little slack. Typically, I expect far too much of myself. I spend days making certain the house and the food are perfect. Then, after all that effort, when the criticism begins, I am hurt. Well, not this time! Instead, Iíll settle for a presentable house. Why kill myself to have a perfectly spotless house? After all, ten minutes after the guests arrive; itíll be a disaster anyway. Rather than baking six or seven elegant desserts, Iíll make two or three simple ones. Instead of making several carb-laden side dishes, Iíll simply make two or three low carb vegetables and ask each person to bring something. Those people whom I truly want to spend time with wonít mind at all, and the Netties will complain no matter what I do.

Finally, Iíll use the time Iíll save by scaling back on preparation to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure. The money Iíll save on food can be better spent on a new outfit to look fabulous in at the party. And, when the door closes behind the last guest, there will be a long, hot, candle-lit bath calling my name. HmmmmÖ. Iím suddenly looking forward to this party!

                  Jo Cordi Sica
                  SPHR Organizational Development and Training
                  jwcordi@aol.com




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