The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

mostly civilized thoughts

Some mostly civilized thoughts from an almost civilized mind…contrived during my quiet weekend. Here they are in no particular order of relevance or significance:

1)  I am not as young as I think I am. I like to go to bed early. I use a LOT of wrinkle cream. Ergo, I’m getting old.

2) A couple of you asked about the Potato Frappe recipe I mentioned in a blog post last week. To be specific, it was the post about how I screwed up Halloween for our children, held a raucous dinner for my non-raucous parents-in-law and got ratted out by my husband for using boxed potatoes. Click here to enjoy the moments for yourself.

So, here’s the way you can go from boxed to bodacious: Cream Cheese…The Answer To So Many Of The World’s Problems. It is my expert opinion that Hungry Jack Mashed Potatoes are the best. Under no circumstances should you buy the off-brands that use the words ‘instant potatoes’. That will make you feel cheap and insecure. Don’t ever set yourself up to feel cheap and insecure. People will notice and think you have something to hide. Be bold with your potatoes.

Follow the directions on the box. At the end, stir in a half block of cream cheese and some garlic salt to taste. Put it in a pretty (it’s all in how you present it) oven-safe bowl and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Pop it in the oven (350 degrees) until the cheese is melted. The final thing is this: protect yourself. Don’t let what happened to me happen to you. You should a)use these potatoes on the sly so no one in your big-mouthed family (I’m sorry, maybe  that’s just my family) will call you out in front of your guests. or b) fess up only to them, but tell your big-mouthed family to keep it on the down low. Remember: the key to a successful dinner party is to avoid the avoidable.

3) I text a lot which may seem contradictory to #1, but it’s true. I need to make sure I’m not texting in place of having a real conversation with people.

4) I had a manicure on Saturday to get ready for…ahem…the book signing tonight. It had been years, literally, since I’d had a manicure so while I had heard of a paraffin wax treatment, I had never had one. Did you know you put your hands into a pot of hot wax, pull them out, put them in plastic bagsindividually – , and then put them in these pockets that are heatedi-n-d-i-v-i-d-u-a-l-l-y ???  I can’t explain it, but I thought I was going to pass out. My hands felt claustrophobic and the panic was trying to take over the rest of my body. It was soooooo hot and my hands looked like something that didn’t pass muster at Madame Tussaud’s. And, of course, my nose started itching. And, I couldn’t scratch it. It was too much. I have friends who get manicures every couple of weeks. Surely they don’t put themselves through that every 14 days.

That’s it. Take what you can. Use what you want. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the potatoes.



6 responses to “mostly civilized thoughts

  1. Jay Remer November 8, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    This is a delightful column which made me laugh a lot. Thank you Kate for sharing your humor and really helping to bring civility into the 21st Century, where it is so badly needed.

    • katetlewis November 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm


      What an honor that you would stop by! Thank you! I’m glad you found some humor and maybe a nugget of something useful – although you could teach ME a thing or two. Come back often and be sure to share your thoughts with us!


  2. Jay Remer November 9, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Believe me when I tell you what a breath of fresh air you bring to the ‘scene’. I am working on a series of podcasts which I had planned to call “The Etiquette Minute”, but do not want to tread on thin ice. Essentially I believe that etiquette is for everyone and they are in fact practicing it all the time whether or not they realize it. It’s not all about knives and forks, but really about being civil in all situations. Humor and real life experiences will help tomorrow’s leaders become more aware of civility and just how important it is and how it affects everyone, near and far. Thus, the idea of the podcast is to bring etiquette into the 21st century, a minute at a time. How do you feel about this. Feel free to send me an email if you prefer not to clog up your blog with a personal conversation. Best wishes and thanks, Jay

  3. Tammy Griffin November 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm


    After receiving my Two Friends e-mail update on the book signing, I thought the name Kate Lewis was quite familiar. So of course I had to google. Low and behold Nan’s sister! ( Don’t you just love that) I am so proud of you! What a cute, entertaining, and informative blog! I wish you all the best. Keep the posts coming, and hope to see you at the lake……..Tammy Griffin

  4. katetlewis November 9, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Tammy! Fancy meeting you here! Thank you for your sweet comment. I have your email now (behind the scenes info) and I’m so glad…now, I can email you when we are headed to the lake. We enjoy seeing you and Danny so much. Hope you all are doing great.

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