I tried another of the appetizer recipes for a get-together and I am ready to make a report! This time I tried Emily's party bread, which a friend of hers posted about here. It's a loaf of Italian bread, cut into cubes that don't break through the bottom crust (so that it all still stays together), stuffed with a pound of cheese, drizzled with a stick of butter, seasoned with garlic, and decorated with poppy seeds (I also used parsley flakes for additional visual appeal). Then you bake it.
I was worried because the party was 15 minutes away; I could have done the second heat-up at her house, but I felt nervous about that and preferred not to, so I took the bread directly from the oven, put it into a bag, and ran from the house. It was just fine for the party: not piping hot, but still plenty warm. If I keep going to these get-togethers, I might buy some sort of insulated transportation bag.
Next time I'll bake it longer: the cheese in the middle hadn't melted. But the edges were great. People kept going back and picking at it more. There were about seven of us there, I think, and we ate about half the loaf---and that was with six other appetizers to choose from. It seems like it would be a nice flexible recipe that could handle a bunch of different kinds of seasonings. I've added the recipe to my recipe box.
Okay, so what I really want to talk about is that these get-togethers are getting me all agitated, and I don't know if it's good or bad. It's really hard to tell the difference between "Getting outside your comfort zone! good for emotional stretching and growth! relationship/community-building! change of pace! social needs! wheeeee!" and "This is not a good fit for me, and is resulting in distress and agitation instead of the good things that might be experienced by a different person."
And sometimes in a situation there might be the additional issue of telling the difference between "Not everyone is going to get along with everyone, and one of the benefits of a group is that it's good for us to have experience dealing with people we wouldn't have chosen and/or people who have different views on a subject" and "Yes, and that can be true of dealing with the rest of the people in the group because they also have upsides, but this particular person is a humorless, strident, pushy, aggressive, oblivious ASS, and contact with her should be severely limited, and she ruins the entire event so maybe these alleged group benefits should be experienced with a DIFFERENT GROUP."
...Okay, just typing that out was a big help. I think I will continue to get all RILED: it's not only a matter of there being one person I find challenging, it's even MORE an issue of general overstimulation (TONS OF PEOPLE! TONS OF TOPICS!), plus all the usual party issues of "Did I talk too much/little, was I boring, did I say something I shouldn't have, did I keep killing the conversation, was I too quiet/loud?" But overall, and for now, I want to keep going anyway.
Plus there's this issue: if she's so awful, why is she still in the group? Maybe I'm the only one who finds her insufferable. Maybe everyone else finds her sufferable.
And even with the insuffering, the good outweighs the bad. Just for starters, these are the moms of kids in Rob's grade. EXCELLENT INSIDER INFO AND NOTE-COMPARING. And also I do like THEM. And perhaps I will learn some tips on how to deal with the particular sort of person I mentioned, since there seems to be no world shortage.
I also noticed two other things that lead me to wonder if a Difficult Person can actually enhance a group:
1. You know that thing about friendships being based on shared dislikes? Another guest and I made a huge leap in friendship over one single "o.O" facial expression.
2. I noticed that the one strident person's strident views seemed to make everyone else more open to the concept of assorted views. Like, a conversation might be getting a little intense and divided---but then Stridentella lets loose with her views, and suddenly everyone else is saying things like "Well, different choices make sense for different families." It's like she shows us a caricature of how our own views were shaping up, and that makes us all want to back away from that.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...