New Year’s Diss: Why Did They Leave at 12:01?

Cherished readers, The Lady wishes you all a most Happy New Year! She was enjoying coffee and reading emails as is her habit in the morning and she found this correspondence there…sent to her at 116 AM this morning.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I had our annual New Year’s party earlier. My husband and I invited about 40 people to celebrate with us and we had the usual food and beverages available. It took a lot of work, preparation, and planning to get things set up. The party started at 7 PM and things seemed to be going well. At 1130 we started to watch the festivities in New York and anticipated the ball drop. After much to-do and the countdown and obligatory toast to the New Year…three quarters of my guests decided to leave. The time was 12:01AM! Barely a minute past midnight!!! I am quite offended but am not sure that I should be. My husband says that it was a long evening for everyone and some of our guests needed to work today, but I cannot help but feel that it is rude to up and leave so close to midnight. May I have your thoughts? 

Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation

Dear Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation,

Ah, The Lady understands your pain. The Lady also understand the pain of those who must work or those who a bit of age on them. The Lady’s mother would often entertain on New Year’s (back in the Dark Ages known as the 80s) and would have a party much as you just described. As most of the people attending the party were older folks (by older The Lady means in their 70s and 80s) it was often the case that once the ball dropped, the champagne glasses were drained, and New Year kisses shared, these people had their coats on and were headed for the door! The Lady’s mother (indeed no one) ever complained because the family had spent an enjoyable evening in their company. The Lady begs you not to feel offended. There was nothing ill-mannered in their behavior. In fact, why not begin the New Year by extending the benefit of the doubt and being happy that you were able to share the end of one year and the start of the next in good company.

Best 2018 Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Food Friday: Ask The Lady

Cherished readers, what a timely question this is. The Lady so enjoys Thanksgiving for the family togetherness and of course, the opportunity to show off a properly set table! But just what if the table will be filled with those on opposite sides of the political spectrum?Let us examine…

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I am a 53 year old woman who is beyond the point of tolerance for my family members. Maybe it’s my age, but I have no patience, time, or inclination to deal with people who are letting their opposing political views get in the way of my Thanksgiving celebration. My darling cherub children and their cousins are pretty much guaranteeing a big family feud as we carve the turkey. I have seen with my own eyes the posts on social media. I find this whole thing absurd and feel caught in the middle. What can I do? I told my husband I am ready to cancel the whole thing and go eat my Thanksgiving meal in peace at Golden Corral. 

Pissed Off Mother of 4

Dear Pissed Off Mother of 4,

Firstly, The Lady would like to point out that this is the precise reason that politics is on the No-No Topic list for polite conversation!

Second, while The Lady doesn’t have a problem with Golden Corral, she is unsure that you will be satisfied entrusting your Thanksgiving enjoyment to this place on what will probably be the most crowded day of the year.

Third, The Lady reminds you that the gathering will be at your home and YOU make the rules. If this animosity if being broadcast across social media, you have every right to send an email or make a call informing the warring factions that they are to leave their political squabbling at the door and not bring it inside. That is NOT what a family meal is for. And as you mention cousins will be coming to your home, The Lady would include their parents (you or your husband’s siblings) on the email or calls. MAKE IT VERY CLEAR (in a mannerly way, of course) that this is a non-negotiable house rule. For example:

Dear Children and Dear Nieces and Nephews, I am looking forward to seeing all of you on Thanksgiving and enjoying much-anticipated family time. I request that we use this day to celebrate family and gratitude and not use it to squabble over politics, religion, or any other divisive topic. I want to hear all about YOU, your families, jobs, and achievements. I love you all and I know that you will respect my wishes as you come to my home. I would be very disappointed to not continue our family tradition due to this matter. We will be family longer than any one person will be the President. Love, Your Pissed Off Mother and Aunt

The Lady is quite frankly tired of the political climate, which is why she frequently watches re-runs of Designing Women and The Golden Girls and has fond memories of the 80s and the Reagans. (The Lady shows her age!)

Please write back after Thanksgiving with an update.

Best Thanksgiving Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Manners Monday: Photographic Stress in The Family Shrine

Cherished readers, recently a dear friend came to The Lady for advice on a sticky subject of family photographs. She is an older lady with three children and several grandchildren. Her problem was that two of her children have children with their former spouses, but are now re-married. The bone of contention is this: Her new daughters-in-law both resent the fact that she has family photographs on the wall that still clearly display the old spouse. The Lady’s friend insists that it is her house and that the former spouses will always be the mothers of her grandchildren, so why shouldn’t she display their pictures?

The Lady offered this advice:

Yes, while it is true that one can display any and all pictures that one wishes in their home, The Lady feels that others’ feelings must be considered. The display of pictures of ex-in-laws can certainly send the message that the new spouse is not welcome or taken very seriously by the family and The Lady assumes that her friend is intelligent enough to know that this can cause strife in a marriage. (Do you really want to add another stress to your adult child’s life? It’s hard enough as it is without this petty problem) This advice applies to everyone: Regardless of how you feel about your child’s ex, when they have moved on to a serious relationship, support them and this includes taking down old pictures of the ex. It will go a long way to creating harmony in the family.

Best Framed Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

A Banshee Roommate: Don’t Be One

Cherished readers, The Lady has an extensive collection of vintage etiquette books that she regularly peruses and consults. I wanted to share this little gem from the 1972 edition of Amy Vanderbilt’s Etiquette (Princess House edition…interestingly, Miss Vanderbilt was a special advisor to the company)

This is from the section The Agreeable Wife, page 624, where Miss Vanderbilt gives advice on being an attractive roommate (I chortle with glee every time I read this section of the book)

“I wonder how many wives could resist rising up in unholy protest if husbands suddenly took to wrapping their heads up in wire and head rags, greasing their faces, tying up their chins, putting on oiled mittens for the night. If a woman has her own room I suppose she can safely dedicate herself to the pursuit of beauty in her sleep, once she is alone. But if she shares her sleeping quarters, she is obliged to make herself an attractive roommate, not a banshee.”

Well. Times have changed, as I know no one who ties up their chin anymore or wears all kinds of hair curlers to bed (OUCH!) but I do think the advice is sound. We shouldn’t ‘let ourselves go’ and should strive to be as attractive as possible for our partners. This applies to both gentlemen and ladies.

Best Banshee Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Household Tip: The Dirty Top O’The Fridge

Cherished readers, here is a short post today and one that I hope you will find useful.

The Lady Hooper-Brackett is not ignorant of the fact that kitchens become grimy and yucky. And without household help, it almost becomes impossible to keep the top of the fridge clean. So what do I do  as someone who is interested in keeping a tidy home to solve this problem? This tip was passed on to me year ago and it has never failed me.

A simple and inexpensive solution is found by using plastic wrap. Put rows of the plastic wrap over the top and when it is time to clean, remove, discard, and lay new pieces back down.

The Lady Hooper-Brackett says Easy Peasy!

Best Tidy Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Towels in the Bathroom: Are They Off Limits?

Cherished readers, it is always an adventure to settle down with my cup of coffee in the morning and read through my emails to see what is concerning my darling friends. I came across an interesting problem this morning.

My friend went to a First Communion party at her niece’s house and when she used the bathroom facilities, was dumbstruck that her niece had only provided a small hand towel for the fifty or so guests that she had in her home. Her shock did not come from the fact that there was only one towel, however. The shock came from seeing others using the facilities and then discovering that the towel was perfectly dry…it had not been used! She found wet spots near the sink and the soap was wet, so hands seemed to be washed…so why not use the towel?

The Lady Hooper-Brackett can recall a time in her childhood when she was admonished by her dear mother to not use the ‘guest towels’ that were specially hung on a bar near the sink. So, I never used them. She had elevated them to sacred status in my impressionable mind. For years, even when using the facilities in other’s homes, I avoided touching the guest towels and wiped my hands on my pants! (Yes, I know…the horror of it!!!)

I believe that there can be a solution to this problem, however.

  1. Provide enough small washcloths for a couple of dozen to use. A beautiful stack right next to the sink. As the host, you use the first one…crumple it up, place it in a basket near the sink, and hope that this subtle message tells other guests…it is OK to use the towels! They are no longer sacred and off limits!
  2. Get a festive box of disposable paper towels and leave them near the sink. Perhaps guests do not want to feel that are creating more laundry for the host, but will feel free to use paper towels.
  3. Leave no towel in the guest bath at all, after all no one is using it anyway.

Best Clean Hand Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Household Tips: Help, An Oafish Guest Spilled Wine on My Tablecloth!

Hello cherished readers, I’ve no doubt that in the course of entertaining friends and family, there has been an instance where someone with a bit of clumsiness knocked over a glass of ‘something’ onto your table linens. One hopes that it was only water…but if it was wine…here is something that may help. *

Firstly, never show by word or action that you are peeved at your esteemed guest. Though your teeth may be clenched so hard you are cracking your crowns, smile and tell your guest that all is well.

When your guests have left, you may then feel free to scream and curse and cry over your Great-Great-Great Aunt Catherine’s linen tablecloth that she sailed across the Atlantic with when she emigrated to our fine country.

This tip is for fabrics that are bit stronger, so please do not use on flimsy fabrics. Boil water, preferably in a kettle for ease of pouring. Cover the stain with salt and set your timer for five minutes. When your timer dings…fasten the stained area over a bowl with a rubber band. I would use as large a bowl as you can find. Put in sink or tub (can be messy!) and cautiously pour the boiling water over stained fabric from about a foot above the bowl. Please do not burn yourself.

Best tidy wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

A word from The Lady:

*this tip has worked for The Lady Hooper-Brackett and her friends. No guarantee that it will work for you is implied. You assume all risk in trying.*