Posts Tagged With: People

I’m Just Weird That Way

Bacony Bacon

I have tried.  I have tried many times, and have failed miserably each time.  I like to eat. I’m just weird that way.  I like to eat and I’m not ashamed to say it.

The issue I have with so called “nutrition plans” is that I am a simple guy.  The plans I have seen require that you calculate more equations than a physicist trying to define string theory!

  • How many carbs did you have?
  • Were they good carbs or bad carbs?
  • How many good carbs versus bad carbs?
  • Did you exercise today?
  • How many steps did you take?
  • How fast were you stepping?
  • How much protein is in that salad?
  • Did you have cheese on that salad?
  • Thank you for posting the picture of the salad.  Is that BACON I see on your salad?
  • Did you eat it?
  • Did you eat ALL of it?
  • Did it make you feel dirty?
  • How dirty?
  • What were you wearing?

You see how these things can degrade into something other than helpful.

As I said, I am a simple guy, and I like simple food.  I eat salad.  No onions, peppers, or dressing.  I like cheeseburgers without condiments or vegetables added.  The only condiment I use with any regularity is black pepper.  I like rice, most beans, lentils, barley, beef, most pork, chicken, and some fish.  I am from the Southern United States and, yes, buttery grits, eggs and bacon with biscuits are staples.  I don’t mind oatmeal though.

The difficulty I have with changing my eating habits is everyone has a different plan and they are all “easy” (like hemorrhoids) and want me to STOP eating most of the things I like and START eating things I wouldn’t feed a pig.  Let me be very blunt: If I don’t like it, I will NOT be putting it in my mouth! End of story.

Why can’t someone come up with an eating plan that actually takes inventory of what I like to eat, and make a plan from that list?  Is that REALLY so hard?

Cookie-cutter eating plans do NOT work for me and the Energizer Bunny types who push their plans or “Eating Systems” annoy me enough to want to see them fall into a hole liked with barbed wire!

Keep it simple or shut up!

 

 

Rant over for now.

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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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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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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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It’s The Little Things

small kindnessIt’s the little things that reveal the true character of a person.  Believe me not? Consider this, you are exhausted from manual labor; you are sweaty and stink; you have lines in the dirt on your face where the salt from you sweat has left a trail; your breathing is labored and your whole body aches.  Then two people come by…the first is your boss who greets you with “Take off an hour early so you can rest up to get a jump on this in the morning.”  The second person pulls up in a large pick-up truck with the bed full of ice and cold bottles of water for you.  Which small act would you most appreciate?

Consider this: when we do things to be seen or just for a photo-op or just for the Facebook post likes, what good is that other than self-aggrandizement?  It is in the small acts of kindness that we reveal ourselves.

During the flooding in Columbia, South Carolina this past week, I witnessed many grand gestures and have noticed how many people post photo after photo of themselves “helping in the community.”  Truly?  You want everyone to believe your acts that you had photographed and posted were completely altruistic? In my mind, it would be better if you just stayed home and out of the way!

I saw one young boy who looked about age 4 or 5 walk up to one of the First Responders and gave them his juicebox he had just gotten from the Red Cross Truck, and then he hugged that humongous firefighter’s leg.  Let me tell you something, that enormous man who would not hesitate to run into danger, broke down and cried because of this one simple act of kindness by a child who wanted nothing in return.

Small acts of Appreciated Kindness:

  • buy coffee for the person behind you without telling them.
  • send a Thank You Card to someone because they helped you out.
  • give someone a hug who could use one.
  • smile at someone who normally doesn’t smile.
  • If you see someone reading…don’t start talking to them…let them enjoy the peace and quiet.
  • how about the simple act of saying “Thank You”

It really isn’t expensive or difficult.  It just takes a little time and effort.  Give it a try!  Reveal your true self by your actions!

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You Are Weird! So Wave Your Flag Proudly!

Weird Flag

Don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who doesn’t seem to truly “fit in” with any particular group or clique. My childhood was spent feeling awkward and out of place.  And to a large extent those same feelings continue today, but the difference is that now, I really just don’t care if I fit in or not.

I was taught that everyone was unique.  Similar, perhaps, but unique.  Cliques were nothing more than a gaggle of folks who want so much to be like their leader that they live false lives.  They live this facade until they even begin to believe their masks are real, which is the true tragedy because the world needs individuals working together in harmony to create that unique situation called “community.”

Imagine life with no masks, where we are real (as frightening as that may seem), where we are more concerned for others than for ourselves because we know others are doing the same.  Yeah, Utopian Ideology.  But my mind can wander through that dream can’t it?

So raise your Weird Banner and wave it proudly with me!  “To thine ownself be true and it must follow, as the night the day, that thou canst not then be false to any man” – Bill Shakespeare.  Methinks Ol’ Bill got it right!

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Contemplative Contemplations

I recently performed the funeral for a wonderful friend.  Less than two weeks earlier I had performed his daughter’s wedding. So this has been an extremely emotionally month to say the least.  It is never easy to say “goodbye” to a friend.  How does one do that and remain sane?

You never say “goodbye” to a true friend.  They are part of you and they have touched your life in ways you never realize until you see their personality spring forth from yours or you see their family as yours or you notice things you do as being things you picked up from them.

It is never easy to say “fare thee well” to a friend. But it did spark my mind and heart to think. My friend was never one to be considered “religious” because of the sheer callousness reputation of “religious” people.  We had many chances to discuss the matter and we were in complete agreement: “Religious” people are complete assholes!  The whole concept of “What Would Jesus Do?” is answered in a simple “Probably Not What You Think.”  Jesus was NOT afraid to meet people where they were. He went TO the people, He never waited for people to come to Him.  He was NOT afraid to be seen with people the “religious” thought to be inferior.  He did not hide His disdain for the “religious” and wasn’t afraid to call them what they were: “Bunch of SNAKES.”

It is never easy to say “fare thee well” to a friend.  It is never easy to discuss the end of life with someone. But it IS worth the emotional pain to know they are at peace.

Just as a matter of note: when my time comes…I want this to be played on a loop at my memorial: Memorial Music

 

 

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It Just Doesn’t Seem Like Christmas Anymore

Norman Rockwell Christmas

The Holidays are here again. Seems like the shopping ads begin earlier and earlier every year, I guess the holidays are no longer about spending time with family and enjoying one another. Now the holidays seem to only be about spending, end of story.  The more you spend, the more you show people how much you “love” them.  It’s as if the old adage, “You can’t buy love” has never met the shallow materialistic world we live in.

 I asked one of six-year-old at church what he wanted for Christmas, and his response was “A new iPhone 5s AT LEAST! This iphone 4 I got last Christmas just sucks!” This darling angel went on to list more devices from than I had ever considered.  My mind reeled and faded back to my own childhood when for my 6th Christmas I got a bicycle and was THRILLED.  I also got excited because that was the year my Mom got a new refrigerator AND a new stove, so every kid in our neighborhood came over to play in the boxes! That was a WONDERFUL Christmas.  We laughed and had a ball playing with cardboard boxes and riding bicycles.  Now, it’s all about the latest electronic goodie. Not to mention, what on earth does a six-year-old need a high-end cellphone for anyway?

Christmas just doesn’t seem to be Christmas anymore. 

 I used to love the smells of Christmas.  Mom baking batch after batch of homemade Chex Mix (she called Boat Trash).  Now you can buy it ready made in a bag although it doesn’t taste anywhere as good as Mom’s. 

 I also remember going to my grandparents house, the smell of Grandpa’s pipe, Grandma’s chocolate goodies she baked, the sounds of laughter as my cousins and I ran outside to play in the snow until we couldn’t feel our fingers, toes, or nose anymore, then we would come back inside for hot cocoa made with real milk.

 On Christmas Eve, we would walk the three blocks to church to hear the Christmas story (same person read us the story since I could remember), then we would have communion, and as we walked home, we would sing Christmas Carols.

On Christmas Morning, We would dash into the front room (where the fireplace was) and find our stockings stuffed with Lifesavers candy, bags of homemade buttered pecans, oranges and apples. And we were happy!

Christmas just doesn’t seem to be Christmas anymore.

I remember the only places that were open on Christmas Day were the gas stations, hospitals, fire and police departments, and one diner where the workers in these occupations would eat.  My Grandpa took me there a few times.  We would walk in, the bell on the door would ring, and everyone would turn and wish us a Merry Christmas. 

We would sit at the counter and have pie. I had hot chocolate while Grandpa had coffee. The fireman let me pet the firedog, who had been allowed inside just this one day out of the year. The policeman let me admire the badge on his hat that he kept shined with great pride.  The nurses and doctors would let me listen to my heart or remind me to eat lots of popsicles during the summer so they would have enough tongue depressors next year.

Christmas just doesn’t seem to be Christmas anymore.

 

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