Food and Dining, Work and Occupation

Two by Four

A friend I’ve known since grade school is an aspiring actress. She was an “extra” as early as age 16, and has had bit parts in a few TV shows, and a movie she says is set to come out this year.

She recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of a career in acting, and I know she’s going to make it. She came home for Christmas break, and we got to talking about the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary to get good roles. She’s facing one of those decisions right now.

One for the Team

fat woman considering whether she should overeat or exercise
Think it over

The studio wants her to gain 30 pounds. Now, this girl has been fit for as long as I can remember. She was a cheerleader in high school, and taught aerobics part-time once she turned 18. She always eats right and pays attention to her figure. Don’t get me wrong. She’s not a huge dieter, and she’s not vain. She just likes to keep fit and healthy. So I was floored when she said she’s probably going to gain the weight!

She brought up an interesting point, though, by saying that people gain and lose weight every year and don’t even think about it. She says she would be ‘smart’ about the weight gain, and not pig out on junk food to get there. Then, after the film is over, she plans to get right back down to where she is now. She said it’s a good role and she needs to make a name for herself, so has decided getting fat is worth it in this case.

For Love of the Job

I just think it’s interesting. I mean, I tend to put on at least 15 pounds in the winter (during what I call the “fat/sweater months”), and I don’t get anything out of it but a sour mood and bad attitude. At least she’s going to get paid, and hopefully this will open the door for something else.

I know her, and I know she’ll get the weight off, too. She does what she says she will. I just think it’s a different way to look at things. Kind of a reverse New Year’s resolution, I guess, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

by Samaris Nuñez

Suri Says

(Not So) Sweet Connection

Dear Suri, I’m part of a ‘networking’ group. We meet formally every month to discuss things, go over agenda items, etc. Every few weeks, we also have an informal get-together, where we have fun, meet new people and just enjoy ourselves. Now, the group wants to start a monthly ‘birthday bash,’ and they’re trying to get everyone to sign on to the idea. The thing is, I am just not into it.

It’s not that I don’t like them, or don’t want to have a good time and celebrate their birthdays, and I’m not one of those people who tries to keep their own birthday all quiet.  There are other things happening here.

First of all, I am on a diet. I really need to get a handle on my weight, and I’ve decided to start eating better and exercising more. I know I don’t have any self-control, so I really don’t want to put myself in a situation where there will be cake and sweets. I just know I will fall off the wagon!

Don't let this be a monthly dilemma
Don’t let this be a monthly dilemma

Also, everyone who participates in the birthday bashes would have to bring something, either homemade or store bought. I don’t want to make stuff at home for the same reasons as already stated. I can see myself making an extra portion of whatever I would bring to the party, and then just eating that in front of the TV. I don’t want to buy something, either. I’m not cheap, but taking on an extra monthly expense is not something I want to do right now. I know that might sound bad, but I just don’t feel like it.

But with all that said, I don’t want to seem like I’m not a ‘team player,’ or have people alienate me from the group because of this. I can’t really tell anyone there about my feelings. They might not understand, or might get mad and kick me right out of the group! I just don’t know what to do. — Cheryl T. | Bozeman, Montana


Dear Cheryl, Networking is important to both social and professional advancement, however your involvement in any group that would turn its back on you for such a personal conviction may need to be reinvestigated. This is assuming your notion of alienation would prove correct.

If an explanation is warranted, could you not detail the reasons you have just expressed? If not the expense portion, perhaps focus on your new health regime? Surely no one could fault you for wanting to keep in shape. You may find others are feeling the same way and, perhaps, the idea will be abandoned altogether.

Kudos for your social involvement, as well as your commitment toward personal health. Best of luck to you in both endeavors. ~Suri 


Suri Says™

by Suri Syrtawnya Advice | Residential Life Magazine 

Work and Occupation

Workplace Woes

Dear Suri, I love my job. I feel like what I’m doing is important and useful. The people are nice and respectful. I get a good compensation package, complete with paid time off, discounts and health benefits. So I know with all this I shouldn’t let things get to me, but they still do. Let me explain:

I work with a team of eight people. Our skills “cross” to an extent, but for the most part we are considered “experts” in our respective fields of focus. I’m not sure if that makes any sense?

Just another day at the office!
Just another day at the office!

In any event, because we are all considered ‘equals,’ we always have to run projects and ideas by the entire group before anything can become part of the business plan. This method has worked fine for a while, but today I had to ‘take a moment’ in my car so I wouldn’t say something I would regret.

Part of my job (I won’t bore you with all the details!) is to draft proposals and considerations for customer review. This one report took a long time to finish, Suri, and then my co-workers just went and shat all over it! I mean real petty ‘suggestions,’ if you can even call them that. People saying I need to put in more detail here, or reference a prior case there. I think they were just making stuff up for spite. And to top it all off, they hit ‘reply all,’ so now everyone (including my boss!) saw the suggestions, and if I don’t put them in the final proposal I’ll bet there will be hell to pay!

I don’t think I want to quit, but I’m just tired of it. I’ve had it up to here with their stupid ‘recommendations.’ I bust my hump every day, and the only thanks I get is a big ‘screw you.’ It makes me mad, and makes me wonder if it’s all worth it. — Stressed in Saskatchewan
Dear Stressed,

Workplace dynamics, to be sure, can try even the most patient among us. From what you’ve described, however, it appears the team review is less about ‘checking up’ on co-workers, and more about ensuring a consistent and quality message is being delivered to the company’s clients.

While your feelings are certainly valid — and there is something to be said for the amount of time and effort you’ve mentioned went into this report — it may be helpful to focus less on the people making the recommendations, and more on the suggestions themselves.

Personal attacks should not be tolerated, and busy-work tasks are counter-productive for everyone. However, if the points raised will ultimately benefit the company’s relationship with clients (by extension benefiting every employee) you may wish to re-focus your efforts toward producing — with your co-workers’ assistance — the most complete and effective presentation materials possible. Best of luck to you! ~Suri

Suri Says™

by Suri Syrtawnya | AdviceResidential Life Magazine 

Suri Says


Dear Suri, My wife has decided to ‘go veg’ this year, as part of her New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and stay fit. The trouble is… she doesn’t like vegetables! It’s so stupid. I want to be supportive and all that, but I just think she’s going to have a real tough time with all of this, and then I’ll have to say “I told you so.” Maybe I should tell her that now and get it over with! Ha! — Steve Sakks | Payson, Arizona

Dear Steve, The decision to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle — whether for ethical or health reasons — is often a difficult one to make. People typically devote a great deal of time and effort toward weighing their options, and determining the rewards and risks of such a choice — the latter of which sometimes includes potential fallout from family and friends.

While advice in this regard can be insightful, it is ultimately a choice we all must make for ourselves. Once the decision has been made, however, it is important that the person can depend on loved ones to embrace their cause and support them, rather than belittle their choices or “wait for them to fail.” I wish you and your wife the best of luck in your endeavors, for this year and beyond. ~Suri

Suri Says
by Suri Syrtawnya

Health and Wellness

Wellness Woes

I know this guy, he’s a health nut, but he’s always getting sick! What a dumb-ass.

He always blames it on his kid. I’m sure that skank is a real germ-factory, a living petri-dish, but that’s not the main reason why he’s always snorting and hacking all over the goddam place.

Who's "fit" now, tough guy?!
Who’s “fit” now, tough guy?!

He eats all the time, various foods that he calls healthy, even though they all smell like the inside of my ass. He works out a lot, I guess, but I know he’s had to call into work more than a few times when he’s pulled a muscle. Douche. He says it’s just minor injuries when he’s “doing something good for myself.” I think it’s his body’s way of telling him to eat a dick and stop making it work so hard.

This guy’s a real germ-freak, too. He always has this huge bottle of hand sanitizer with him. Pricko. I hope he chokes on that stuff one of these days!

Look, the bottom line is that this guy thinks he’s being so healthy, but he’s really just setting himself up to get sick. His immune system is so used to getting a free ride, not having to do a damn thing, that it’s just sort of checked out. So whenever some virus comes along, it’s got free reign! It brings that SOB to his knees! I love it.

I’m not saying I have all the answers, and I know that sometimes I eat too much and don’t get maybe the amount of exercise I should be getting, but I only get sick about once a year, if that.

So all you hippie-ass, health food jackasses can shove it. Next time I see one of you cocksuckers sick, I’ll slap you right upside your goddam heads! I can’t wait for it!!

by Abraham “Able Abe” Aenstograafik | Residential Life Magazine 

Food and Dining, Hobbies & Fun Stuff

Keeping the Doctor Away

I start each week with the full intent to eat healthier. For the most part, I meet this goal. But when it comes to “an apple a day,” I can’t seem to get my act together.

The result — at the end of the week — is ‘five servings of fruit’ sitting on my desk, begging to eaten, hoping to be spared the fate of rotting throughout the weekend. I want to aid them in their plight. I really do. But downing five apples in one sitting is a task even Superman would find daunting. So I have to improvise.

I cut them into small chunks to put into a salad. I pare down thick-cut wedges, then fill the middle with peanut butter to make a sort of boat — complete with raisin ‘captain.’

The work is piling up.
The work is piling up.

I bake them, fry them, slather them with caramel and peanuts. I sauce them, roast them, use that weird core-and-peel thingie (if only to entertain myself for half a minute).

I let them dry on the windowsill and marvel at how much they look like old people. And sometimes I just huck them at the wall, and instantly feel bad about it, then mad at myself for creating a mess that no one but me will clean up.

And through all of this, I’ve never once considered just not buying apples. I mean, they’re good for you, right? And if you buy them, then you are health-conscious and at least making an effort at improving your health.

And even if you don’t eat them, at least you get an ‘A’ for effort. Or I guess ‘A’ for apple and ‘E’ for effort, but no one can really say that with a straight face. Not even Superman.

This weekend, I am faced with the reality of consuming no less than seven apples. I only hope I can finish them before buying more.

by Federico LaDuenza | Residential Life Magazine 

Suri Says

Green Thumb, Red Thumb

Dear Suri: I am a heterosexual male who likes plants and gardening. I specify my sexual orientation only because most people I meet ask if I’m gay, right after they learn I like to garden. I think that’s rude and ignorant, but that is not the reason for my question today.

Lately, my female neighbors (and their friends!) have been giving me unsolicited advice about how to care for and present my plants. You must realize here, that the plants are in perfect health and look wonderful. I spend a great deal of time ensuring this is the case. So their “advice” is nothing more than pandering!I am tired of it, Suri. I wish these women would get out of my business and leave me be. I’m not saying I want to be a hermit, but just because I am male, does not mean I need “help” when it comes to gardening, cooking, or anything else!! — Walter McG., OK City, OK

Dear Walter: I’ve a feeling at least some of these women may be using the guise of gardening advice as a means by which to strike up a conversation with you. Some people — both women and men — struggle at initiating interpersonal communication, and offer advice as a tool to “break the ice.”

english gardenWith that being said, your described situation could be explored and acted on through two very different avenues.

While gardening, the next time you are confronted by a female you would like to interact with (as a friend or potential mate), you may wish to politely thank her for her advice, then either change the subject, or steer the conversation away from your own gardening skills, toward general discussion on the hobby as a whole.

On the other hand, should your desire be to truly work independently, you might — politely and respectfully — make this sentiment known. The women will then likely understand that you are not interested in a friendship or relationship, and also do not appreciate their unsolicited advice.

Whichever method you choose to employ, I would stress the importance of civility. Take care not to hurt  the feelings of others, and make a conscious effort to confront this situation in an always gracious and courteous manner. ~ Suri

Suri Says™

by Suri Syrtauwnya | Advice | Residential Life Magazine