Hmmmmm……..

Wonderings and Rants

Resolutions? Really!

resolutions

It’s that time of year again.  That time when we take a look at our lives and decide to make changes in the coming year.  It is a pointless exercise for most of us because we very quickly lose momentum, get distracted, or just forget what we resolved to accomplish altogether.

So why do we resolve to make changes when we have failed again and again to the point that we just shrug our shoulder, laugh and say “Well, there’s always next year”?

Here is a bit of wisdom that I have garnered regarding Resolutions:

  1. Change cannot be contradictory. If you are determined to lose weight, go to the gym, stress less, and spend more time with family, then, while all these SOUND wonderful in and of themselves, they are really quite self-defeating.  Losing weight requires dietary changes and exercise changes.  Change CREATES stress!  And stress tends to cause us to isolate ourselves from our families.  Not to mention you will have the fitness gurus screaming at you that “It’s EASY IF YOU JUST TRY!” or the ever famous “If I can do it, YOU can do it!”.  Ever notice that most of the fitness gurus who do most of the screaming and wielding of the guilt stick are the ones who are thin and have the energy of the Eveready Bunny?  Very seldom do you have people who are just as out of shape as you are asking to become part of a team so you can lose weight together.  Hmmmmm….
  2. Change must be achievable.  Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that one of my resolutions is to eat healthier.  Sounds good, but what does “healthier” really look like?  Does that mean I go from eating cheeseburgers every day to nibbling on celery instead?  Yeah, THAT resolution will last.  Set goals that are achievable.  Healthier eating might mean you have salad instead of fries and drink two bottles of water for every soda you consume.
  3. Change must be enjoyable. I have people in my life who are dead set on setting my changes for me.  Not only that, but they never miss an opportunity to remind me of the changes THEY have “encouraged” me to make.  Here’s the way change works for me, if I don’t like it, I won’t do it.  This applies to eating habits, exercise habits, work habits, any change I need to make.  If it feels like slavery, that change will not last long and I will become resentful of those pushing me.
  4. Change works best as a team.  This is true in pretty much any format.  Get a bunch of people who are pretty much in the same situation and you have a team.  If the team sets a goal, then the team can make the goal a reality.  Encouraging each other, being accountable to each other, working together, pretty much any goal can be realized.
  5. Change will only happen when I make a plan I can stick to. I am NOT a morning person by ANY stretch of the imagination.  I have absolutely NO inclination to drag myself out of bed before daylight so I can go to the gym and torture myself while my brain is trying to make my body die so rest can be had.  So if my resolution is to get to the gym, then I must make a plan to do it.  Therefore, I can go to the gym instead of stuffing pizza in my face at lunch, or I can go when I hit that mid afternoon slump and just need a think.  If I make a plan that my mind can work with, the resolution can become a reality.
  6. Change can only work if you are willing to forgive yourself.  When we start making changes, we’re going to slip up!  We’re going to miss a day at the gym.  We’re going to indulge our craving for meat once in a while.  But if we beat ourselves up over these slip-ups, or worse let others beat us up over them, the guilt will destroy any hope of lasting change.  If we mess up, okay, we messed up….get back on track and try to make the time a little longer before we mess up again.
  7. Change can only happen if it is realistic.  We’ve all heard the fantastic claims by the “Healthy Eating/Exercise” companies who peddle their powders and machines and supplements and “systems.”  They all claim that you can have the body you always wanted in just a few months if you will only go broke, sign over your life, and surrender everything to them (and if you help generate more followers of their cult, you can “get rich” too).  Listen, the body I have always wanted is currently being occupied by someone else who doesn’t know I exist, so let’s just put that puppy to rest.  The body I currently have could use a bit of renovation, but nothing drastic.  After all, Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day or a month or even a year.

Hopefully you will join me in welcoming the new year with realistic, achievable resolutions!

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Those Aren’t My Pants, Officer!

Businessman Hiding Face Not My Fault

A 38 year-old male lives in a small camper trailer in his mother’s driveway, has no job, doesn’t not want to do anything with his life, and tells his mother that it’s NOT his fault because he’s disabled.  Now before judgement is passed, understand that this claim of being “disabled” is a recent claim he has made and there is no documentation or substantiation to this claim.  Prior to this sudden revelation, he would get a part time job, keep it for about 6 months and suddenly “lose” the job through, amazingly, no fault of his own and then he would collect unemployment.  Once unemployment ran out, the cycle would repeat itself over and over and over for 20 years.  But nothing is his fault!

We are very good at declaring, and believing, that nothing is our fault, that we bear no responsibility for any of our actions or words.  The liar is not responsible for his lies, no matter who they hurt or whose reputation or life is destroyed, because he claims it’s not his fault he spoke without checking the truth.

The drunk driver who kills someone claims it’s not his fault because the bar served him the alcohol or because his mommy and daddy never taught him the difference between right and wrong.

If we are truly not responsible for our deeds and words then who is?

Here’s what I witnessed when I went as a civilian ridealong with one of my friends who is a police officer.  A young male was pulled over for a traffic violation (failure to stop at a stop sign).  The officer approached the car (while I stayed put in the car watching the dash cam recording).  The officer stated that there is the strong smell of marijuana and alcohol coming from the car and asks the young man to exit the vehicle.  The young man gets out, the officer does a “pat down” to check for weapons but finds almost 1/4 of a pound bag of marijuana in the young man’s front pocket.  The following conversation ensued:

Officer: “Is this yours?”

Young Man:“Dude, ain’t never seen that before! These ain’t even my pants.”

Officer: “Not your pants? Then whose are they?”

Young Man: “Dude, I was at a party and when I got ready to hit the road I just picked them up and put them on.”

Officer: “But you don’t know whose pants these are?”

Young Man: “No Sir! I have NO idea whose pants these are or how that weed got in my pocket.”

Officer: “So they’re not your pants but the pockets are yours?”

Young Man: “Nah Man! Ain’t my pants!”

Officer: “Help me out here…you went to a party where pants are not allowed or were you there as a male stripper or what kind of party was it?”

Young Man: “Nah man! These are my cousin’s pants.  Yeah, these are my cousin’s pants.”

Officer: “What’s your cousin’s name?”

Young Man: “Ah man, I don’t know her name!”

Officer: “So you’re wearing ladies pants?”

This conversation went on for half an hour until another officer came on scene to assist.  Eventually, it was discovered that the name tag sewn into the waistband of the pants was the same name as the young man and the same name on the ID card he had provided.  But the young man continued to blame everyone else for his actions instead of stepping up and taking responsibility.

When I was growing up, my Dad taught me very early on that if I did something wrong, I needed to take responsibility for it.  If I did it, and took responsibility for it, the punishment (which was painful) would be a LOT less than if I lied about it.  Granted, I had to learn this lesson the hard way, but it only took once.

Yet taking responsibility for our words and deeds is still something our society refuses to accept.  We love playing the “Blame Game.”

 

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I’m THAT Guy!

I am THAT guy

I’m not handsome.  I’m not athletic. I’m not outgoing.  I’m not gregarious.  I’m not anyone who would stand out.  I’m not the person who would garner attention.  I’m not the person anyone would pay attention to.  Yeah….I’m THAT guy.  Invisible!

Yet while I may be invisible, I notice things.  I see patterns.  I hear the whisperings.  I notice the subtle.  Because I’m that guy that no one takes into account, I am also a fountain of knowledge and information.  When you dramatically tell someone how much they mean to you and then tell others what a complete idiot they are…I hear and take notice.

When you think no one sees, I’m that guy who notices.  You see, to the popular crowd, I don’t matter.  To some, I don’t even exist.  But I notice.  I listen. I make a mental note.  I see.

I know how you are.  I know what you do.  I see when you don’t want people to see.  No, I’m not a pervert…it’s because you don’t think I matter enough to care.

I notice that the melodramatic responses are lies in disguise.  I notice that you use people.  I notice that you think I’m not worth your time because I’m introverted.  I notice that I don’t “fit in” because I’m socially awkward.  I take special note when you try to intimidate me because you think I’m a push over.

I’m a LOT smarter than I appear.  I am MUCH more observant than you want me to be.  And I am NOT invisible just because you don’t think I’m worth your time.

Yeah….I’m THAT guy!

 

 

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AHHHhhhhhhh…….

peaceful

There was a time when I had not a concern in the world….and then I was born.  It’s amazing the things I found to be stressful as a child.  Having to make new friends at school was absolutely terrifying for me, being an introvert.  Having to learn math and spelling and grammar and history and learning to deal with the cliques….it was stressful, to say the least, and led to many sleepless nights.

These anxieties continued throughout my school years, with the inclusion of having to learn geometry, trigonometry, calculus, the sciences, foreign languages, more clearly defined cliques.  Life had become quite the challenge.  Most days I didn’t want to even get out of bed, but if I didn’t get out of bed, I wouldn’t go to school and if I didn’t go to school, I would have to endure it all again next year with a whole new pool of people.

FINALLY, I managed to graduate high school!  The sense of freedom was incredible…until my parents gave me the choice of going to college, joining the military, or getting a job. So off to college I went.  The first year was the absolute worst, again because of being an introverted introvert.  It’s not that I didn’t like people and wasn’t sociable….I was just extremely awkward around people and even more so in social situations.  But I put on my calm face and followed Shakespeare’s “Henry V” by going “Once more into the breach”.

Throughout the bits of my life that I remember, I was seeking to be absent from the world by finding that place where could fit in and be accepted.

Fast forward through the misery that was college and the 8 years of military and a divorce and I now find myself still seeking that place where I can find peace and fit in.  While I have no clue where to find it, I do know what sort of place it is that I feel most at peace.

I like quiet.  I like the environment to be of cool climate.  I like a gentle breeze.  I would like something of a stream or other water.  In a place like this, I could find peace.  There would be no expectation of having to deal with others.

I once thought such a place truly existed.  But am now not so sure.  If it does exist, it is beyond my reach at present and the feeling out of place in this world continues.

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Encourage Me…Don’t Tick Me Off!

Better Motivation

I need to lose some weight. And I need to move more…I get it.  Way back when I was in the Army, I didn’t have a problem with weight loss or moving more because we all moved as a squad.  Rather an “All for one and one for all” arrangement.  We encouraged each other and if one needed something we ALL took the burden on.

That was then.  I honestly miss those days quite a bit because that tight-knit group of comrades has long since gone their ways, have their own families, and lives.  So here I am trying to go it alone with the moving and the weightloss without their support.

I have begun changing some of my eating habits, mainly because I like simple foods.  By simple, I mean, as little effort as possible.  I eat my salads without dressing because I discovered that most of the fat content in the salads is found in the dressing, but mainly because I just don’t like salad dressing.  I opt not to use condiments, except for a pinch of salt or pepper, because I want to actually taste the FOOD not just have a mouthful of condiment guck!

I do have friends and family members who believe they are being helpful in their methods of “encouragement.”  While I do appreciate their desire to help me become healthier, their methods are reminiscent of Drill Sergeant Hartman from ‘Full Metal Jacket’ or they nag continuously.  Neither approach is what I consider encouraging because the only motivation I get from that is to let my stubborn bull-headedness dig in its heals and tune them out.

When I was with my Squadmates, we all started in the same basic shape of, in military terms: “out of.”  Together, we began from basically the same starting point, and together we worked our weight down and our shape in.  And it worked perfectly, like a greased herd of hogs through the arms of the catchers at a County Fair were we.

Now I am older and my job requires little movement because it involves mostly brain work and listening.  And I honestly admit that I have become “comfortable” with my life.  I like SIMPLE!

I have people trying to show me how to count calories and then count the calories of proteins, carbs, fats, sugars, measure cholesterol intake, waste output, multiply it by .247 times the distance from the Sun to Uranus, swing that flaming mossy branch over the smelly shoe inserts……you get how my mind finds this quite overly complicated.  I like SIMPLE!  By “SIMPLE” I mean: I like it, I eat it, I’m done!  Don’t complicate things, just fix it and be done!

This is why I am NOT a nutritionist.  Nor am I an exercise nut.  I am willing to walk as long as I enjoy doing it.  When it becomes a chore, I stop.  NO! I’m not all gung-ho about pushing myself.  Yes, I realize I am going to die, at some point, because we ALL do.  So guilt no longer works on me; pushing no longer works on me; nagging no longer works on me.

If I like it, I will eat it.  If I like it, I will do it.  It’s JUST THAT SIMPLE!

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I’m NOT Weird! Well….Perhaps I Am. But Just A Bit!

people

I like people, generally speaking.  Some I find more tolerable than others.  Some of the more gregarious ones tend to make me feel completely exhausted, and also arouse my suspicions as to their sincerity.

You see, I am very much an Introvert! I am quiet, by nature, and prefer to observe rather than lead.  I notice….oh yes, I notice more than I say.  Didn’t think anyone saw you picking your nose during staff meeting? Yeah, I noticed.  Didn’t think anyone heard you belch into your napkin so delicately pretending to sneeze?  Yeah, I noticed that too.  Not much subtlety escapes my notice, I just don’t feel the need to voice it.

I like to sit quietly and read or write.  Whilst engaged in this pasttime, I am still quietly noticing.  I use reflective surfaces as mirrors, so I noticed you adjusting your “unmentionables”.  My ears are sensitive and hear your whispers.

No, I am not some creepy prowler.  I am just a quiet observer.  I like working by myself.  I like spending as much time being quiet as I possibly can.  Loud people who are loud just for he sake of being loud or in an effort to be “intimidating” piss me off.  Just because I am quiet does not, by any stretch, mean that I am weak or afraid.  I am calculating when I must be.

I like thinking things through.  Granted, not all of my thoughts work as imagined, but I learn from that and file it away for next time.  I am constantly learning; constantly thinking; constantly observing.  My mind wakes me up at night because it wants more input when my body wants sleep.

Because I am constantly thinking, I am also caring.  I am a wonderful listener.  I enjoy spending one-to-one time.  I do have friends, but my true friends are a very small and tight knit group.  I like to vacation to places that are off the beaten path.  I like to sing in the car (partly because I sing very badly but mainly because I feel comfortable when alone in the car).  I am perfectly comfortable sitting in silence.

I am an Introvert, not anti-social.  I may be an Introvert, but I also have feelings.

I am an Introvert!  And you cannot change that about me, so please don’t try!

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Time….It’s What You Make Of It

clocks

Truly it is an amazing, and often astounding, sight to see people rushing through their lives completely oblivious to everything except their electronic devices and their schedules.  You see, time is a continuum whilst our lives are momentary snapshots of that continuum.

This is a lesson I learned many years ago when I chose to spend my time reading a book, and one of my professors happened by and commented on my “wasting time” in reading a tome that sparked my brain to think.  I like to think.  I embrace it wholeheartedly.  Never have I thought that thinking was a waste of time because time does not change or alter its stream for me or anything I am doing.

Granted, there are scenes in life’s grand play where time seems to stand still….like waiting to be called from the big waiting room in the doctor’s office to the little waiting room (which is also called the “exam room”).  Then what happens?  Time goes into warp drive when the doctor comes him, spends a total of 4 minutes diagnosing you and off you go back into the stream of time.

As a child, I thought Christmas Eve made time stand still so Santa could make all of his deliveries by Christmas morning.  I didn’t, for one moment, believe Santa could go all over the world in a single night, so time HAD to stand still for him to accomplish such a Herculean Task.

There are those who say that Time is relative.  Well, I can assure you that time is no relative of mine.  My relatives are a rather gregarious mob, with a couple of introverted members, who enjoy raucous laughter and stories to embarrass the rest of us.

But think about this, why do we wear watches?  So we know what time it is.  Why do we need to know what time it is?  Because we have very busy schedules.  Sadly, those schedules have not slowed in the least, despite advances in technology.  And why do those people who can afford the latest technological gadgets always smile?  Also, what do they do that they can always afford the latest technological marvel?

But, you see, time never speeds up nor does it slow down.  Time always moves forward.

Illusion

My question to you is this, Gentle Reader, during your time swimming in the stream of time, what shall you do to make it memorable?

Categories: Hmmmmm........, Wanderer's Wonderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Word About Christmas……STOP ALREADY!

Sick of Christmas

When I was a child, I loved the Christmas Season.  There was a chill in the air, so we got a crackling fire in the fireplace and hot chocolate.  We would go play in the snow until our appendages were numb then we would come warm up by the fire, before heading back out for more snow filled fun.

I remember the street light posts had Shimmering decorations put up by the city workers, who were not above wishing you a “Merry Christmas”.  But these workers wouldn’t dare put of the Christmas Decorations before Thanksgiving was done.  The stores would, at least, wait until November 1 before they started hammering home their “sales.”  People moved at a much slower pace back then.  We could park the car and walk to every store we needed to go and there was always plenty of parking.

I do remember one girl, from a rather well-to-do family, getting to take an extra week off at Christmas because they were going on a ski trip to someplace out West.  Wasn’t jealous of her, and actually none of us seemed to like her much because she was rather snooty and uppity.

I used to love the sights and smells of the Christmas Season and it would bring a smile to my face.  But that was then!

Today, you can’t even get to Labor Day before the Christmas onslaught of “BUY, BUY, BUY, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND” is shoved in your face at every turn.  And since when did a luxury automobile become a “Christmas Gift”?  All these merchants have had ALL YEAR to bolster their bottom lines, but they wait until Christmas to have the sales where people get so angry they start fist fights, kick children, steal things from the elderly person’s cart, and trample people to death (without a single twinge of remorse).  Christmas has turned from a Season of Giving to I Gots Tuh Git Mine So Sumbody Else Won’t!

The radio runs ruined Christmas Carols on a loop with the latest sensation adding their version of the song (complete with endless vocal aerobics).  The Internet and television are filled with people who put Santa hats on their none-too-happy pets and their “I haven’t a clue what’s going on” infants expecting all the world to tell them how adorable and cute the photos are.  Then there are those idiots who like to post videos of their hyped up children ripping through their gifts like sharks in a feeding frenzy, followed by further videos of the children fighting over who got what or tearing their gift up then demanding to know what else did they get.

Now I completely understand why many people prefer to spend the Christmas Season in a bar or someplace away Far From The Madding Crowd!

I used to like Christmas.  Now….Stop!  Just STOP!

 

 

 

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Being A Server IS Challenging

Server

Let me begin by stating the glaring truth: BEING A SERVER IS CHALLENGING!  Customers can be the most graceless, arrogant, idiotic, selfish, obnoxious, rude creatures that ever crawled out from under the swamp.  I understand that.  I have heard many horror stories about rotten customers who think the world revolves around them.

On the other hand, I have also heard many horror stories about horrible servers who think they are above doing their job of serving.  And I understand that perspective as well.

I hope you will allow me to point out a few things which might help reach a place of mutual toleration between the sides.

I’ll start with those who are the Customer:

  • When you come into the restaurant, put your cellphone away, especially if you wish to hear the specials or if you wish your server to clearly understand your order.
  • Understand that your server is there to make your dining experience one you will want to have again.  However, that does not entitle you to act like you are the ONLY person in the world and demand all the server’s attention.
  • If you want your server to smile at you, then smile at them.  If you want courtesy shown, be courteous.  If you want your server to be polite, then be polite to them.  The Golden Rule applies.
  • PLEASE avoid wearing strong scents.
  • Berating the server, manager, staff, bartender, because something was not to your liking or because some error was made merely proves you weren’t worth being served in the first place.
  • Children…….please keep control of them and keep them quiet.  This means you need to teach your children from day one how they are to behave in public.  You have come to a restaurant, not a playground or zoo.  Keep your little monsters contained!

 

Now, a few practical points for the Servers:

  • I came to spend my money at the establishment where you work.  I chose to come here when I could have gone elsewhere.  Please appreciate that fact by at least acting like you are happy I came to your place.
  • Ladies…..if you are wearing short sleeves or a tank top, please have the courtesy to SHAVE!
  • Remember, older customers usually have more expendable income.  NOT a group you want to ignore and then complain about getting bad tips from the younger crowd.
  • Please do not wear strong scents.
  • If I show you courtesy, please be courteous.
  • Please stop saying “No Problem” when I ask you for something.  If I thought it would be a problem, I would not have come to where you are to dine.
  • Please be aware that if you show me your breasts, I will look but that will not alter the amount of your gratuity.  Gratuity is based on SERVICE not the view!  If I wanted a view, I would have gone to a strip club.

And here’s my final tip for both sides of this battlefield:  If you want good customer service, BE A GOOD CUSTOMER!  If you want a good customer, BE A GOOD SERVER!

Here’s my normal mode of operation, when my server greets me the gratuity starts at 75%.  It will be adjusted according to how I am treated.  I am not difficult, but I do have some expectations.  For example, I like just plain food (not drowning in sauces or condiments), I realize the server does not prepare the food, but they DO communicate with those who do.

If you remember my name and greet me warmly, your gratuity has just increased to 90%.  If you remember my name, greet me warmly, AND remember my drink of choice, you are entering the 125% range, because this means you have taken the time to get to know me, accept me, and want me to be a regular in your section.

Ignore me because I am older and no longer athletic looking and you have lost my respect, my patronage, and your gratuity!

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Are You SERIOUS?

Homer on a treadmill

Just so you know, I have nothing against people enjoying exercise.  No….seriously…..I’m not kidding…..I have nothing against people who enjoy exercise.  I DO have a problem with the subset of those people who:  1) talk about nothing but the gym. 2) Bash those of us who chose to not spend every waking moment at the gym, thinking about the gym, or have habits and hobbies NOT gym related. 3) Sell those supplements, food replacement shakes and products.  They hit you with the sales pitch like a shark goes after a seal!

Now you must understand, coffee and I have QUITE the love affair which has endured for all of my adult life.  However, one of those rabid salespeople pitching Advocare gets bent out of shape each time I mention coffee or have coffee.  She starts barking like a chihuahua: “You need SPARK!  Try SPARK! Drink SPARK! SPARK! SPARK! SPARK!”  And to listen to this person, Advocare apparently has the cure for every single ailment and condition.  Overweight?  Buy and use nothing but Advocare products and you will have the body you always wanted in no time!  How do they know what body I’ve always wanted?

Okay, my doctor did mention that I could stand to lose some weight and getting some exercise would be a good thing.  I get it.  But I have no inclination to become a gym-rat, not do I have any desire to have a body that will take a lot of maintenance and upkeep.  I am built for comfort and I like that.  I will exercise to lose some weight and to help with cholesterol (which Advocare seems to have the perfect product for which will only cost you four month’s salary), but I refuse to become so fanatic about working out and weight loss.

The salesperson for Advocare I was describing earlier gave me a price list with her “discount” already applied and my response was, “Are you SERIOUS? Are the delivery boxes big enough for my family and I to live in? Because if I get this “plan” you’re pushing, I won’t be able to live anywhere BUT in a box!”  And she had the gall to tell me that she was offended.  Needless to say, I am not one of her customers and we are still friends, and she keeps plugging for me to get with the program.  Ahh…one has got to admire the Multi-Level Marketing people who can get others to go after customers like a rabid honey badger in a bad mood.

Let me be clear….aggressive sales tactics are the absolute WRONG approach if you want me to consider your products.

 

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