A hungry vegetarian at a barbeque

Dear Annie: With summer in full swing, we are preparing for and going to lots of barbecues. I am always grateful when our family is invited over for a barbecue on a nice summer night. The problem is that I’m a vegetarian. Every time we go to a friend’s barbecue, I can’t find anything to eat. I usually just politely say it’s fine and take a bun or some of the sides (if they are available). The hosts are usually understanding and accept my choice.

Last summer, we were invited to my husband’s client’s house. When I said “no, thank you” to his off-the-grill burger — in what I thought was a gracious way — he got very huffy with me. I said I am a vegetarian. And he said, “Oh, come on, it’s the Fourth of July! Have a little meat.” Thinking about what a big client this was for my husband, I said he was right and took the burger. Needless to say, I was sick all evening. I told my husband that I would never do that again, and he agreed.

Well, fast-forward to a year later, and we are invited back to the same client’s house for the Fourth. He is one of my husband’s largest clients, and my husband really feels that we should go, but I’m hesitant. I don’t want to be rude, but I also don’t want to spend the whole night with an upset stomach. — To Take One for the Team or Not

Dear TTOFTTON: You already took one for the team last year when you were sick for the entire evening because you ate meat. One option would be to bring your own veggie patty to the party. Explain to your husband’s client that you loved the way he grilled that burger last year, and tell him you would like for him to grill your veggie burger. That way, you’d be complimenting his grilling style and not insulting him while also not upsetting your stomach.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Doing a Life Sentence With No Parole.” I was in the same situation as this 57-year-old lady. I was stuck in an empty marriage, and my soul was very unhappy. I also felt as if I had to stay for financial reasons and the children. Plus, I was just plain scared to leave.

The best thing I did for myself was take night courses two nights a week to become a counselor, even though I already worked full time during the day. I thought I needed to learn how to help people find fulfillment. The more I educated myself the more I realized I needed this course for my own life. I left my 31-year marriage and have been with a wonderful man for the past six years.

If you don’t respect yourself and set the bar high, then your children won’t respect you and they will end up choosing the same life. — Still Have 30 Years Left

Dear Still Have 30 Years Left: To anyone who is unhappy with his or her current circumstances but feels it’s “too late,” let this be a lesson. The time is always right to begin living your best life.

I wish you many fulfilling decades.