In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 21, 2006 / 25 Tamuz, 5766

Frenzied attempts to please company

By Marybeth Hicks

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When I roll out of bed and put my feet on the floor, I already am running behind. Our dinner guests are coming in just 10 hours. Right away, I have to concede there will be no time to clean the garage.

It's not that I didn't get a jump on the preparations. Yesterday I had two children outside with me to pull weeds, putting in more than 12 man-hours to create the illusion that we maintain our landscaping on an ongoing basis.

I grab a cup of coffee and look out over the yard, realizing there is an entire section behind the house that looks abandoned. There are weeds that provide shade and a cool spot to read a book and sip lemonade. Come to think of it, maybe I should leave them there.

Thankfully, the weather is beautiful, which means we can host our dinner gathering on the patio. I send two children outside with instructions to fill up the wheelbarrow with all the plants that seem to be thriving. (That's how I know the weeds from the actual shrubbery.)

It is "T minus eight hours," and I can see we're in trouble. The children pull just five weeds before discovering a bird's nest with eggs in it. Attention diverted. Progress interrupted. Sigh.

It's just 10 in the morning, but already I have worked myself into a pre-dinner-party frenzy of stress and panic. I'm not nervous about my role as hostess. Serving dinner is the easy part. Rather, I obsess about the condition of my house. For reasons I can't explain, I'm only comfortable welcoming people into my home when I know it's clean from top to bottom.

I worry that someone will open my refrigerator to refill a drink, only to find the multiple rings of chocolate sauce where a can of Hershey's syrup used to sit. Worse, a guest could reach for the iced tea but find instead a plastic container filled with something that used to be pot roast, or maybe it was lasagna — hard to tell.

My guest might extrapolate that the food I'm serving tonight is tainted because the icebox in which it is stored also houses science specimens that formerly were leftovers. I can't risk it. With just seven hours until our company comes, I empty the fridge and wipe it clean.

My weed crew takes a lunch break, which means the kitchen is a mess again. To keep myself from following them around the room with a mop, I make a trip to the grocery store for the items I need to make dinner for our guests. I have a list in my head, so I don't bother to write it down. Naturally, without a written list, I forget to buy a bag of ice. (Must remember to tell my husband to buy one on his way home from work.)

By the time I get back from the store, I'm down to five hours of prep time. I conduct housekeeping triage. There's no chance I'll tackle every room and still have time to prepare the meal and bathe before our company comes, so instead I have to be selective.

I map out the path our friends will take from the front door, through the hallway and kitchen, and out the sliding door to the patio. This is the area that needs immediate attention. If I clean these few spaces first, plus the guest bathroom, they might assume the rest of my home is in a similar state. Of course, if they happen to wander upstairs, they'll learn otherwise. I start thinking of excuses to keep them from seeing the whole house. (Some people like to tour the homes of their friends.)

I could tell them there's a dangerous loose stair that might give way. Maybe I even could put orange cones on the steps. We used to have some to mark a backyard soccer field, but the garage is a mess, so I can't find them.

I make a mental note to stop by the police station for a roll of yellow "crime scene" tape. This would be a fitting way to mark my teenage daughters' room, in any case.

The clock is ticking, but instead of showering, I run the vacuum while muttering "bag of ice, crime-scene tape, bag of ice, crime-scene tape." Before I know it, I have just two hours left until our guests are due to arrive.

Entertaining might be less stressful if I weren't so fussy about my house, but in truth, there's probably more to it than just a desire to be perceived as hygienic. No matter whom we host in our home, I want people to know that their visits are special to me. It's not about how our friends view us but about communicating how much we value them.

Somehow, when the doorbell rings, I am clean and dressed, a roast is in the oven, music is playing on the stereo, and even the weather has held up.

We sit on the patio with our friends, enjoying a spectacular summer evening. Nobody notices the weeds my children missed while examining sparrow eggs — we're all too focused on great conversation and a good meal.

The best part? No one has bothered to look in the garage.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 19 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2006, Marybeth Hicks