Dear Annie: I am 49 years old and have been a “flexitarian” for 10 years, with fish being my primary protein source. My question is: When I go to other people’s homes for dinner engagements, should they provide a fish entree (for me), should I be satisfied going vegetarian for the meal, or should I bring my own?
My friends usually provide for me, as do my in-laws. But my parents and siblings do not. Even at holiday gatherings, I bring my own entree while the others are eating prime beef.
When I entertain, I pay special attention to all of my guests’ diets from vegetarian to meat lovers, and I expect to get the same respect in return. Am I wrong? — M.F.
Dear M.F.: Most flexitarians are willing to try meat on occasion. We would consider you a pescetarian — one who eats fish but not meat.
Those who know about your food choices should make some adjustment when they invite you. However, you cannot demand it.
Your family members seem particularly unaccommodating, but they are entitled to serve what they wish. Most vegetarians and pescetarians can find plenty to eat in the side dishes. It is fine, however, to bring your own entree if your hosts do not object.
Dear Annie: How do I deal with smokers in the workplace? My office has a no-smoking policy, and our state recently passed laws to that effect, but we still must endure people smoking one cigarette right after the other.
My fellow workers and I have made comments about the secondhand smoke and have posted various brochures and articles on the subject on the bulletin board.
We have put up “NO SMOKING” signs, to no avail. Anything we do just seems to make these people puff more.
You can always tell where smokers have been by the ash, smoke and the smell. Heaven help the poor person who has to ride with a smoker in one of our trucks to a job site when it’s below zero and you have to hang your head out the window to gasp for air.
Past efforts to get smokers to control their habit have only gotten smoke blown in our faces, literally.
The problem is further compounded by our company manager and other top company officials are also heavy smokers. We are hesitant to ask management directly to do anything about the smoking because of possible job repercussions. What can we do before we all die of lung cancer? — Up in Smoke
Dear Smoke: Unless you are willing to report your boss (and the other smokers) to the police for violating state law, there isn’t much you can do. If your workplace has a human resources department, try lodging a complaint there.
Otherwise, you might get better results by talking to your boss, calmly and without judgment, explaining that the secondhand smoke is making it difficult for the rest of you to breathe and you’d be most appreciative if he would set a good example.
Dear Annie: May I add one more response to “Going Gray”? I am 55 years old and lost my lovely red hair due to chemotherapy. It grew back a dull brown, so I started to color it.
I later began dating Andy, who is 12 years younger and was already dyeing his hair and beard when we met. I never gave it a thought until he was admitted to the CCU with heart issues and the nurse said to him, “Gosh, it’s nice that your mother came with you.”
I knew I had a keeper when Andy let his hair go back to its natural and lovely gray. We married the following October. (I still color my hair.) — Julia
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.