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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, February 27, 2006

Grand Finale

FYI, it all went swimmingly.

Whatever nervousness I had, was really ameliorated by having Luz, the housekeeper we hired for the weekend.

Her fine eye for condiments guided the process beautifully, and just having her there, meant I didn't have to go around like the proverbially beheaded chicken.

After I got the meal started, she finished it, as I slung my black Vera Wang pantsuit (hi Mrs. Bush!) in my bedroom, without having to worry if anything got burnt in the meantime.

As to the family, I find them refreshingly conventional.

Not overly political, not overly intellectual (rather, cultured, which is different), not at all dysfunctional, in the way we in America have been hammered to believe families are.

The kids were rambuctious, but affectionate and respectful of their parents.

But more than that -- and this is true of almost all Latin Americans, in my experience:

All of them have a gratuitous tenderness of their parents, which shines through all the time.

That frosty generational distance so often seen in America, is nowhere to be found here -- they like being in each other's company, and that is true of even the oldest son, aged almost 17.

Having praised Latin Americans for their sweet interdependence, let me just say it's not all smiles and roses.

The mother smokes, and we three of us, are severe anti-smokers.

But the thing of it is, is this:

Although my father is particularly anti-smoking, not only because of his profession, but because lung cancer killed both his parents, neither he, nor my mother, and certainly not I, raised the least objection to the mother smoking in our home.

Heck, at long last, someone got to use my collection of beautiful Waterford crystal ashtrays.

But man, just being around a smoker reminded me of my college days, when I moved out of my friends' home in North Oxford, and chose my flatmates because they were American Rhodes Scholars.

Why? Because it's well-known that Americans are usually non-smokers, bless them.

But you know, having preambled about my dislike of the cancer sticks, you'd think I would join Rob Reiner and Prince Charles in their militant anti-smoking campaign, right?

Not a bit of it.

As you can tell by my admission of the ashtrays, I let common sense and good manners guide me in this matter.

People who come to my home, are guests. And guests should feel at home. Good guests won't abuse any gracious gesture, as this lady certainly didn't.

A quiet word would certainly have put things right, if it had.

The last thing in this world that I am, is a Losertarian, but in the matter of cigarette banning, in all public spaces, I am definitely against any such ridiculous and intrusive notion.

There I go again, Jimmy.

I was talking of my wonderful evening in the company of nice people, and suddenly I digress into a diatribe of my anti-anti-ban smoking attitude.

Tomorrow, they leave and I can concentrate on the Brazilian Carnival (bloggable, obviously), on watching the recording of the Torino 2006 Closing Ceremonies (surely it was not as bad as the Opening ones...was it?), and on sprucing up my beloved Sundries.

Thanks for your collective patience during this hectic time.

And light one up on me.

15 Comments:

  • Glad to here all went swimmingly.

    Never in doubt, though (surely).

    And still waiting for that link, my light, Clio lite.

    (just being annoyingly needy and self-involved, but really the impetus is more to hear your thoughts, which I'm sure will be enlightening, engrossing and entertaining)

    By Blogger XWL, at Mon Feb 27, 04:25:00 am GMT-5  

  • Congratulations on being the hostess with the mostest!

    On smoking, I am in agreement regarding guests in one's home. However, once all the dangers of second hand smoke started being discovered, I understood why non-smoking had to become the rule in airplanes, the workplaces and other public areas.

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Mon Feb 27, 08:59:00 am GMT-5  

  • Way to go, Victoria! But, like xwl said, things were never really in doubt. Not for your fans, anyway.

    By Blogger Pete, at Mon Feb 27, 09:20:00 am GMT-5  

  • Glad to here all went swimmingly.

    Well, actually it went tennisingly and boatingly, but that's another story. ;)

    Never in doubt, though (surely).

    I didn't doubt either, if I can be arrogant for a moment (yeah, right), but I did think maybe the cuisine would fall flat, given that I was cooking up something they eat every day.

    Turns out, her cousin Rodrigo, is a famous chef in Peru, and this guy dislikes the Peruvian insistence on always eating their national cuisine.

    So, they have followed his lead, and gone for mostly Meditteranean cookery in their home.

    It was a "welcome treat" to eat Peruvian! Fancy that.

    And still waiting for that link, my light, Clio lite.

    Oh! Top man. Thanks for reminding me. :)

    (just being annoyingly needy and self-involved, but really the impetus is more to hear your thoughts, which I'm sure will be enlightening, engrossing and entertaining)

    Are you nuts!? That blogpost was da bomb.

    I just have to rework my timing this week, as I don't want your link buried under a pile of posts.

    I have a Carnival post planned for Tuesday, so I'd say, Wednesday.

    Hang in there, my fellow quirk-blogger!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 27, 02:19:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Congratulations on being the hostess with the mostest!

    I WAS going to serve them Cafe Bustelo afterwards, but then I remembered that Renato sent me an espresso roast from Italy, called "Moak -- Caffe morbido" (which doesn't mean what we think it does!).

    Perhaps I should have done the Bread pudding, but a flan, though...

    Oh well, it was great. :)

    On smoking, I am in agreement regarding guests in one's home. However, once all the dangers of second hand smoke started being discovered, I understood why non-smoking had to become the rule in airplanes, the workplaces and other public areas.

    Well, in that sense I am completely in agreement with anti-smoking.

    When I found out that a single 'rette on an airplane is the equivalent to smoking 10, I blanched in horror.

    Pobrecitas, the airline hostesses!

    But as far as banning them even in sidewalks, gimme a break.

    And that business owner that not only banned smokers from doing so on the job, but also fired people for smoking AT HOME...that's just nuts.

    It's enough to control smokers in the workplace, for the greater good.

    But firing people because they smoke at home? No way.

    I rarely make such a statement, because it's so overused and misinterpreted, but surely this is the one moment when I can say, "That's Fascist".

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 27, 02:25:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Way to go, Victoria! But, like xwl said, things were never really in doubt. Not for your fans, anyway.

    Thanks Pete!

    In related news, the lady has a brother who studied at the Univ of Oklahoma. :)

    (Or is that at an university IN Oklahoma...)

    Anyway, he's an engineer and I thought of you. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 27, 02:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Would you have a similar dislike to pipe or cigar tobacco being smoked in your home?

    I think it's fine to like one and dislike the other.

    My sister-in-law and her husband are both smokers. Yet, they step outside to smoke even in their own house. They, too, don't like the smell to linger in the carpets and drapes. Imagine that!

    Don't forget to Apprentice blog as I won't be watching this season. It conflicts with my beloved "24."

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Mon Feb 27, 02:32:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Would you have a similar dislike to pipe or cigar tobacco being smoked in your home?

    My grandfathers (both), smoked pipes, so that even evokes a cosy, nostalgic feeling in me.

    And I used to date a cigar-smoking Cuban-American boy, who however, drove my parents up the wall with his stogeys.

    Last year, I spoke to him, and he said he no longers smokes them (you recall that cigar-smoking was at its virtual height, post WWII, in the late 90s)

    I think it's fine to like one and dislike the other.

    Could be. For the record, my tolerance is much greater than both my parents, who loathe 'rettes, even though at one point in their lives, they smoked!

    I used to smoke clove perfumed cigarettes, but never tobacco ones. And of course, I do have a cigarette collection from around the world.

    Ahhh, University days.

    My sister-in-law and her husband are both smokers. Yet, they step outside to smoke even in their own house. They, too, don't like the smell to linger in the carpets and drapes. Imagine that!

    I hate that! Like Brooke Shields said in that 80s PSA, smoke gets in my hair, ech.

    Don't forget to Apprentice blog as I won't be watching this season. It conflicts with my beloved "24."

    Oh Geez! I have the first full night of Brazilian carnival tonight.

    I may have to put the Donald to record.

    Unfortunately, though, I shan't be pulling an Ann here, and blog about TA.

    But I do intend on commenting copiously over there, in her no-doubt, excited blogposts about it. :)

    What is 24 about?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 27, 03:22:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh. Forgot.

    Like Bill Clinton, I never inhaled.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 27, 03:23:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Is there anyone online who, on sheer graciousness alone, I would rather have host my dinner party than Sundries? I think not! And, it appears, all went as we thought it would!

    Light up that Cohiba, Victoria...

    By Blogger Ron, at Mon Feb 27, 03:49:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Is there anyone online who, on sheer graciousness alone, I would rather have host my dinner party than Sundries?

    One day, hopefully soon, I will have my very own home, which will include a home screening room, with a proper projection cubbyhole and everything.

    Obviously, soft plush seats, and screens where you can place orders, just like one does in SkyBoxes.

    Then I'll invite all who want to, to come watch a movie with me, in said screening room.

    Caveat: you bring the wines.

    And you choose the film.

    My suggestion for a cinematheque-evening a deux with Ron:

    Anything by Di Sica.

    I think not!

    Thanks, Ron!

    And, it appears, all went as we thought it would!

    Just about. I'm just finished throwing away all the accumulated rubbish bags, which we kept in our closet. (!)

    I also paid the housekeeper, who just left. Sniff. I could get used to having her there, I can tell you.

    Light up that Cohiba, Victoria...

    From the Dominican, to be sure. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 27, 04:44:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria: "24" is in its 5th season on Fox. It is an hour-long political/action/thriller. Its star is Kiefer Sutherland who plays agent Jack Bauer of the CTU {counter-terrorism unit}. He's an almost indestructible superhero. There's intrigue at the highest levels. The hook is that the show is one day---played in real time.

    Extraordinary! Kinda like that Titanic film, which actually took longer than the real sinking of the doomed ship. ;)

    The season comprises one jam-packed day, with every minute of every hour covered.

    That's truly a writing tour-de-force.

    You have intrigued me, Madam.

    There are multiple story lines going on and it almost always leaves you with a cliff-hanger each week. Soooo worthy of watching. Last season [Day 4] starts with an Islamic sleeper cell springing into action to launch a nuke on American soil.

    I wonder if the Torie Clarkes, Rumsfelds of this world watch it...

    The Chi-coms get involved around hour 15. Available on DVD.

    Sure. I've seen it at my local Blockbusters.

    Oh, this I've been meaning to observe for some time:

    Have you (all of you) noticed how there is now a wall at the BBs, which is devoted entirely to TV shows?

    That didn't used to be the case, when I was growing up.

    That is, there were no videos of TV shows being rented at these places.

    I can think of a few reasons, some to do with the DVD format, which is handier for such "season" type collections, but I wonder why that is?

    Are we perhaps watching American television have it's second Golden Years?

    The quality of the drama shows, like Law & Order, Grey's Anatomy, and now you say this 24, certainly seem to indicate that.

    The producer, Joel Surnow is an out-of-the-closet conservative in Hollyweird.

    LOL! Hollyweird. I will use it!

    So but okay -- he's a Con, but he hires as his hero a committed lefty?

    Hmm. I suppose you can't ask for the world with Hollyweird.

    I highly commend the series to you. It'll only take you 4 days to get up to speed.

    I will certainly consider it!

    Slightly off-topic: what kind of smackdown did professor A deliver over on the Audible Althouse comment? Playful primate my ass!

    Ruth Anne, I'm a rather direct person, so forgive the quick reply about this matter.

    I've always disliked being told that there are bad or heated comments awaiting me at such-and-such a place.

    I know you meant it in the best possible way.

    But if you see something related to me, in a negative way, elsewhere, let me find out about it, on my own.

    I won't consider it a lack of loyalty if you didn't bring me the news yourself.

    On the contrary.

    P.S.: I replied. I know Ann reads my blog, so I just want to say, no big whoop. I had my say. She had hers, and I replied.

    Case closed.

    ...hey isn't that a TV Show? :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 27, 06:31:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria,

    Actually, we have several fine universities here in Oklahoma. The best engineering school is at Oklahoma State University but there's also a good one at the University of Oklahoma, as well as a great petroleum school.

    It's good to be thought of.

    Go Sooners! Whoo

    By Blogger Pete, at Tue Feb 28, 07:32:00 am GMT-5  

  • Excellent work Vicky!! I knew it would go swimmingly. Good to know the espresso came in handy after dinner.

    Do you have anything planned for when they return from Disney World?

    By Blogger Renato, at Tue Feb 28, 12:17:00 pm GMT-5  

  • When I smoked - I only quit December 22, so the story's not complete yet - I always smoked outside. Well, usually.

    When visiting family I went outside, no matter what, or I did without.

    "I have ashtrays, you don't have to go outside!"

    "Nonsense! This will stink up your place. I'll be right back, but thanks!"

    And out I would go. I know how people are - even ex-smokers, as my parents are - they really don't want to smell it in their own homes.

    And where's the sacrifice, eh? Some fresh air, a few delightful puffs under the early evening sky. *Okay, now I'm wanting a ciggy!*

    So, wonderful hosts never had a thing to fear from this ex-smoker. LOL

    Sounds like you are having a wonderful time, Victoria. Great!

    *Hugs!*

    By Blogger benning, at Tue Feb 28, 05:34:00 pm GMT-5  

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