Hostess Dog Gift | Abbreviations | Recipe from Micah


Dear Ask Micah,

Tell me if you think this is absurd or not. We are invited to a party and expected to buy the Hostess’ dog a gift! It was in the evite! It says, and I quote, “Please no gifts for me but Lucky (the dog) isn’t opposed to one”. My husband thinks she’s crazy. I think it’s just a little presumptuous to expect your guest will make time in their holiday shopping to go out and find a dog toy.   I don’t mind getting the dog a gift but it seems sort of tacky. Don’t you think so?

Nina

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Dear Nina,

Oh dear God Nina, just buy Lucky a squeak toy!   I really don’t think this is that big of a deal. Was it presumptuous to add that to her evite? Possibly. But evites have always been a little less formal than a standard invitation anyway and it’s easy to add little notes to them like this one. I don’t find it particularly weird.

I don’t know this woman, but it sounds to me like she isn’t married and doesn’t have any children living at home with her. If that really was the actual invitation that you quoted, I read it to mean that she singularly is throwing a party. There was no mention of “don’t buy US a gift” or “don’t bring the KIDS anything.” So she’s a single woman with a dog throwing a party. Okay, then it’s simple to understand. Every year she probably gives gifts to people and possibly their children, and if she’s lucky (pardon the pun) she may get a gift in return. But she has no children at home to receive gifts, so she is always giving out way more than she receives back. Not that Christmas is about receiving, but it can get pretty arduous and expensive for a single person to have to buy multiple gifts for one household and they always get back just one present.

It sounds like this year she wants her dog in on the getting. Lucky is her in-house child and her companion, and she’d like the enjoyment of seeing him or her with some presents. Also, consider this party. Are children coming to the party? If it is a kid-friendly party, this woman may have little gifts for the kids. There again she is forking out money to make everyone’s Christmas a happy one. Even if it’s just an adult party, she will be going to some expense to feed and water you. So just take her dog a small gift and don’t judge her so much. Christmas can be a hard time for some people and it sounds like she is alone in the world and she is throwing a party to feel connected to the people she loves for the holidays. So run that one extra little errand and give this woman the pleasure of seeing her dog have some of the same Christmas fun as other people’s kids do.

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Dear A.M.

I abbreviated the salutation on purpose because that is part of my point. Kids are wrecking the written word and the spoken language. I hear it from my own children’s mouths every day. Kids have invented words that aren’t really words, like “imma”, “bling” and “shizzle”. I read their messages to each other and they have changed the spelling of words or abbreviate everything to make it shorter and, I assume, faster to communicate. It’s like the world has just gone shorthand crazy. I just wondered if you ever take notice of that and what your thoughts are.

M

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Dear M,

I haven’t spent too much time worrying about it today, but I have noticed before how bastardized written and spoken word has become. But I also have to say I can remember when teachers would scold us for saying “ain’t” and though it sounds hick, sometimes “ain’t” just expresses the thought better. “Y’all” is another example. Northern friends love to make fun of that one but “y’all” just fits and takes less time. I am sure my grandparents got flak from their parents when they said things like “swell” and “bee’s knees.”

Generations have always moved language in new directions, and some of it sticks and some of it fades away. We still say something is “cool” if we like it, and that became popular over 60 years ago. So think of your kids as not ruining language but conducting it and composing it. Some of their words may fade out, but a few will stay around for years to come.

As for the shortening of the written word, same thing applies. The word picture became “pic” and instead of telling someone you thought something was funny you can now just write “LOL.” It does dumb things down a little to create a new form of shorthand, but we did it, too. Television became “TV,” telephone became “phone.” Photo Identification became “I.D.” So it’s not a new thing to do what they’re doing. If generations didn’t do this, then we’d all be walking around Birmingham saying words like “thoust,” “halt,” and “whenst.” So, leave the kids alone and let them do what they want with the words. You’re just older now, and they are getting around to changing the words that your generation already changed once and it’s nagging you a little. It’ll be all right, Grandpa. It’ll be fine.

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Dear Readers,

I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy New Year! No matter what holidays you celebrate, I hope that you surround yourself with the people that you love the most and that love you the most. We have all had some struggles in 2014 and we’ve all had some joys in 2014. I hope all of our 2015’s will be truly great. Instead of a third Ask Micah this month, I thought I’d just share a fun recipe that can be made for the holidays.

 

Pecan Cake Bars

For crust:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

 

For topping:

1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 cups chopped pecans

 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, leaving enough for a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

First make the crust by creaming together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add in the flour and salt and mix until crumbly.

Press the crust into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan and stirring it over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute, then stir in the chopped pecans.

Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust spreading it to cover the entire surface.

Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Remove the pan and allow the bars to fully cool in the pan.

Use the foil overhang to lift out the bars and transfer them to a cutting board. Peel off the foil, slice into bars and serve

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