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from the get go
set foot
a lot on one's plate
steer clear
try one's hand at
money is no object
let one in on something

Dinner at John and Tabitha's (episode 7)

We arrived at John and Tabitha's at around 7. John had already grilled the trout and is now in the kitchen chopping up tomatoes and onions and warming up some corn tortillas. He wanted to _____ making fish tacos and was definitely doing a nice job at it. Tabitha was making flan for dessert.

They told us to make ourselves at home as we took off our coats and to help ourselves to some chips and salsa on the dining table. There was so much food that they thought of inviting Ted from down the street, but he was out of town. Jim and Linda, next door, had _____ at the moment. They had reports to write for work and science projects to plan for the kids, so they took a rain check instead.

As we ate, we asked John if he'd ever consider going back to his old IT job were they to offer him more money. He gave us a firm "Oh, no." and said that he'd never _____ at that place ever again. He would probably miss the salary though, he added. At his old job, it felt like _____ whenever he went shopping. Now, he'll have to watch his budget closely. He definitely won't miss the stress, though, we thought.

We asked Tabitha what she thought of the neighborhood. She said she loved it _____. We told them we were glad they liked the frog fountain we gave them. We noticed it sitting on a shelf in the living room. We knew we picked a present that _____ a couple of frog lovers, and it definitely went well with the rest of their amphibian decor.

During dessert, John and Tabitha suddenly looked at each other as if they were about to _____, ... and they were. Tabitha's pregnant! They didn't want to tell anyone yet until after the first trimester when they feel they're past the baby's critical developmental stage. They're also taking the right precautions. They're _____ of certain fish that are known to contain high levels of mercury, and they're minimizing their use of the microwave.

As for the wedding, they don't mind waiting a while. With John's parents in Montreal, Tabitha's parents in New York, and both of them in St. Louis, they may just forgo formal wedding preparations, go off on their own, and make it private and romantic.
    Jake: These tacos are awesome!
    John: Thanks. I got the recipe from one of those
    cooking shows on T.V.
    Katy: There are some really nice cooking shows on
    T.V. now.
    John: Yeah, they actually teach you stuff you're
    supposed to learn in cooking school, like how to
    hold a knife and how to chop an onion, ...
    Jake: I like the ones that incorporate travel, too,
    and show you the culture and the food of the area.
    John: There are a couple of good ones that do that.
    Katy: So, Tabitha, where did you learn how to make
    Tabitha: Oh, we lived in a Mexican community in
    New York for a long time, and I used to go to
    friends' houses after school and sometimes watch
    their moms cook.
    Jake: That's awesome. ... and where are your
    parents from originally?
    Tabitha: They're both from North Carolina. They
    met in college at UNC Chapel Hill. Then they both
    moved to Queens, New York after college.
    Katy: So you were born in New York?
    Tabitha: Yup, born and raised.
    John: Have you guys been to New York?
    Jake: I've been once, a long time ago. Katy's never
    Katy: We're actually thinking of making a trip there
    this year. Maybe you guys can give us some tips on
    places to check out.
    John & Tabitha: Absolutely.
    Katy: Have you been there several times, John?
    John: Well, when we first started dating, I used to
    take the train down from Montreal on long
    weekends, or she would take the train up.
    Jake: Where did you guys meet?
    John: We met in Montreal. She was on Spring Break
    with some friends, and they stayed at the Youth
    Hostel where I worked during college.
    Tabitha: He checked us in and then offered to show
    us around the next day.
    John: It was my day off.
    Jake: ... and the rest is history.
    John: And the rest is history.
    Katy: What a nice story.
    John: Thanks. Well, are we ready for some flan?
    Jake: I know I am.
    Katy: So am I!
    John: Alright, let me get us some plates.
    Tabitha: I'll help you.
Here's the dinner conversation among Jake & Katy
John & Tabatha in the story on the left.

three friends and practice the dialog. Do it
several times. Once is never enough.

... and
have fun!
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