World Peace Begins with Good Manners

I’ve been flabbergasted by recent media stories which illustrate the poor behavior of many. What happened to treating each other with respect? Has no one taught their children manners since the 1970s? I thought the holiday season was supposed to be all about brotherly love. I’m beginning to think that’s a lot of rot!

Here are some examples of people demonstrating complete absence of manners/cordiality:

Sadly, there are many more examples of shoppers gone wild, which reminds me of a quote attributed to Mark Twain: “Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn’t any. But this wrongs the jackass.”

Honestly, there is no frelling product out there that is worth this hullabaloo, and how can it be worth one’s time and loss of dignity to save a few dollars at a sale? There is no better time of year to ask, “What would Jesus do?” If you can’t make that inquiry, then consider, “What makes sense and will do no harm?”

I wish I could say that ill manners were seasonal. The sad truth is socially appropriate behavior seems to be going the way of the Siberian tiger. Soon, I expect good conduct will be extinct. It seems so simple to me to express and demonstrate courtesy. Why is it so difficult for others? For example, why did one woman yell ‘boring’ during a symphony performance (one in which her daughter participated as a musician)? I hate to think of the complicated relationship they must have, but overlooking that, why would anyone behave in such a way?

I really do think we could improve the world if we considered others over ourselves momentarily each day. If everyone made a conscious effort to be considerate to others, particularly to those individuals we don’t know, for 30 minutes a day, wouldn’t things actually be easier for all of us?

Here are some ways to begin our march toward world peace:

  • Let someone slide in front of you in a flow of traffic (Watch as this courtesy pays forward. I’ve done this little experiment many times.)
  • Open a door for someone or let someone enter an elevator before you.
  • If someone is a few cents short at a cash register, give them some change to pay their bill.
  • When someone says, “Thank you,” reply with “You’re welcome.” Don’t say, “No problem.” I don’t know when this entered our lexicon, but I’m making an effort to make it go away. Being courteous shouldn’t be considered an inconvenience!
  • If you see someone struggling with shopping bags, loads of fertilizer, whatever bundle that would be better handled by a pachyderm, stop and ask if they need assistance.
  • Be kind to those who wait on you – restaurant staff, store clerks, etc. Smile. Thank them for their service.
  • Think of something nice to say to everyone. Remember what Thumper’s mother told him, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Good luck! If you think of something you’d like to add to this list, please leave a comment. We’ll all have to work at this together!

Read More

Guilty Pleasures

After ordering a venti iced green tea without sugar and a marshmallow treat at Starbucks, I began to think of my guilty pleasures (these being two). Here’s a list I’ve devised:

  • Medium rare rib-eye steak and a fully loaded baked potato
  • Long, hot bath with a good book
  • High-end bar soap
  • Having the swimming pool all to myself for lap swimming
  • Giovanni Body Butter
  • A glass of port
  • Eggnog with rum/brandy and nutmeg
  • Laying in bed reading, knitting, or watching a movie
  • Time in a bookstore or library
  • Week day afternoon movie at the theater
  • Chocolate covered peanuts
  • Opening all of the windows to circulate cool, fresh air throughout the house
  • Reading the print version of The New York Times
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • High-end yarn – the kind you’d want to be smothered in
  • A jewelry purchase (this is a rare pleasure)
  • Super soft bed sheets and fluffy down pillows
  • Laughing (I don’t get to do that nearly enough)
  • Figuring out a math problem
  • Sleeping (I’m an insomniac)

I could easily come up with a list of pet peeves too, but why spoil things. What are your G-rated guilty pleasures?

Read More

11-11-11 and 11 Memories of My Son

This was made by my son when he was in Kindergarten or first grade. It is a place mat. He made another that is a cornucopia and includes a prayer. I just adore the apple tree.

Since this is the season of thanks and giving, I thought I would share 11 memories I have of my son Andrew. I am most thankful to have him in my life. He is my greatest joy!

  1. Without  him, I may have never grown up. Once I became responsible for another human being, I had to put aside my own selfishness. It wasn’t always easy though. When he was in high school, I found out he had been skipping school for over a month. He pretended to go in the morning, but as soon as he knew I was out of the house, he’d go back home. It’s pretty funny now. At the time it happened, I was shocked. He easily made up the work, but he had to spend a lot of time in suspension on Saturdays. When I think of Saturday school suspension now, I wonder at the ridiculousness of it.
  2. When he was between the ages of 4 and 7, there was a popular cartoon on television about the Ghostbusters. He loved the Ghostbusters, and often at night we would make up stories together about their adventures. One of us would start with something and then the other would pick up and we’d go back and forth until we had an entire story. It was so much fun! Sometimes we’d do drawings like this too. Drawings could be about anything. I’d draw something (e.g., an alien space ship) and then he’d draw something (e.g., an alien) and we’d again go back and forth until we had a picture story. It was such a joy to imagine things together. This is one of my fondest memories.
  3. I recall us going to the grocery store one late afternoon as a storm was approaching. Andrew was around 4-years old. When we came out of the store, a flash of lightening burst across the dark horizon. He said, “Look mommy, the sky is breaking.” He was right. I thought of what  a chicken sees when its egg first cracks. First light to a baby chick would look like what Andrew described. I think all parents would agree that sometimes their  kids blow their socks off with what they say.
  4. Andrew has always had a unique appetite. He never really liked peanut butter and jelly, but he always liked fish, including sushi and more exotic fishy things. He was still in elementary school when one weekend we ventured into a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant (my memory fails me here). I ordered something like spring rolls and he ordered the fishiest smelling and grayest soup ever made. He ate every bite and did not get sick. I was nearly sick from smelling and looking at it.
  5. Still on the subject of appetite. Just after Andrew finished high school he became very serious about physical training. During this time he drank protein, ate protein, lived protein. There were shake cups all around the kitchen sink and in the dishwasher; the cupboards were full of giant containers of powdered protein; the refrigerator was full of containers of egg whites; the freezer was stocked with chicken breasts. There were containers of protein everywhere. Despite his dietary concentration on protein, we couldn’t be away from the house for 20 minutes before he’d say, “I’m hungry,” and I’d say, “You just ate.”
  6. One day I was home early, I don’t recall why, but it was a nice day and I decided to go for a walk. I was walking past the elementary school Andrew attended when it let out. I saw Andrew with two of his 6th grade pals. They were laughing and having such a good time. He did not see me. I watched for awhile and then continued my walk. It made me so happy to see him happy. That’s really all I have ever wanted for him – happiness. I don’t know if I’ve ever told him about this. I kept it as a secret pleasure.
  7. Andrew and I went to a movie almost every weekend from the time he could appreciate an animated film (age 3) to the time he was in high school. When we get together now, we usually go see a movie. It’s so much fun to share a movie with him. We recently saw the movie Moneyball starring Brad Pitt. We had a good conversation about baseball and hockey after the film. We also enjoy a lot of the same television programs. Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire are two favorites. It’s fun talking about the characters in these programs.
  8. When Andrew was two he slipped in the bathtub while I was giving him a bath. His chin landed on the edge of the tub and split open. I rushed him to an emergency doc-in-the-box clinic. I was more hysterical than he was. The doctors wisely made me wait outside the room where they stitched him up.
  9. I can remember two times when Andrew and I were together and something funny happened and we laughed until we cried. Once we were listening to a radio talk show and the three hosts were relating a rather gross but funny story. I was driving at the time and I remember it was hard to see through the tears. The other time, Andrew and I were sitting in the living room chatting. Our calico cat was sitting in the middle of the room minding her own business. Our tuxedo cat, a goofball (think Lenny in Mice and Men), went and sat on her head, butt first. We started laughing. We’d never seen anything like it. He moved when she did, but once she was settled again, he went back to sit on her head. I guess this is one of those “you had to be there” moments to appreciate it. We certainly did.
  10. The school Andrew attended from K3-4th grade had a Christmas shopping event for the kids. It provided an opportunity for them to shop for gifts for their parents. Parents would send money and kids would select gifts in the “store.” Andrew was so excited the first time he did this. He could barely keep my gift a secret. Of course, this was the first thing I opened. I was so pleased with his choice. It was a ceramic bell with a mommy bear and a baby bear on it. I’m teary eyed just thinking about it. He must have really looked hard to find what he thought was the perfect gift. I still have it!
  11. Andrew was born a month early. He weighed 5lbs and 6oz. He could fit in his daddy’s hand. He was a fussy little nugget. He’d only sleep if he was rocking in the windup cradle, or if the vacuum was running, or if we drove him around in the car, or if he laid on my stomach or his dad’s stomach. His dad and I used to debate over who’d get to have him for a turn on our stomachs. It felt good to have that little body resting on you. I can still picture him on his daddy’s stomach resting peacefully. Both looked happy as pie.

Read More

Seasonal Love Letter – You Suck at Parking!

Ford F150I recently purchased a Ford truck, very much like what you see in the picture. This is my second truck, and I don’t think I’ll ever revert to a smaller vehicle again. I formerly drove a Honda Civic (too small for Texas roads). Driving something large is in by best interest. Everything on the road in this state is jumbo-sized. Driving a big truck is self-defense!*

Any how, the point of this story is that recently I annoyed someone with my parking skills – or lack of parking skills. I so distressed this person (I think female; though, the handwriting looks male) that she took the time to write me a note. At first reading, I was bothered. I did not take up four spaces (I took two – there were no parking places for large vehicles, everything was labeled compact car – why do these crazy little spaces still exist? This isn’t Europe!) and there were plenty of other places to park! Obviously, the whole Christmas shopping thing had frazzled her last nerve. I came to that conclusion after a second reading of the note. On the third reading I laughed, and every reading thereafter has delighted me!

Here’s the letter for your enjoyment. If you’re sensitive to foul language, you best stop here!

You're Parking SucksI love the assumptions in this note.

First, it’s assumed I’m male (and tough). I’ll have have you know that girls, those whom are not debutantes, drive trucks too!

Second, it’s assumed that if I had another vehicle, I would park differently. I could easily take two parking spots with a car. I’ve seen others do it.

The cherry on top of this note is “Have a nice day!” I just love that. I really wish I could meet this person and give them a big hug. They’ve given me so much pleasure. If only they had taken a picture and submitted it to youparklikeanasshole.com.

*Texas is the “land of pickup trucks,” even charging lower taxes on pickup truck registration (agricultural use only) than on other types of vehicle registration. As a matter of fact, Texans have 14% of the pickups in the U.S., and automakers sometimes offer special editions of their pickup trucks, with names like “Texas Edition” and “Lone Star Edition,” more commonly known as the “Big Horn” in other states.

And here’s something ironic – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is headquartered in Texas, the state in which more people die each year in drunk driving-related accidents.

Read More

A Memory – Summer Job Experience

David Hockney, 1967, English Pop art
Image via Wikipedia

This week I had the pleasure of listening (NPR Radio) to Matthew Debord share his summer job experience as a garbage man. The story was delightful, and it caused me to recall an experience I had one summer while on the job.

For several summers while in college I worked as a lifeguard. In all that time, only once was I required to jump into the pool for a rescue.

It was a typically hot summer day in Texas. The cloudless, blue sky stretched to infinity above the large, blue, L-shaped pool. I lounged under an umbrella attached to my high chair. I monitored the diving end of the pool where two low spring boards and one high spring board stretched over the water. There 12-feet of water accepted divers and jumpers repeatedly.

I enjoyed the graceful dives of the experienced divers and the big splashes of the jumpers. The boys got a kick out of splashing me with their cannonballs. I didn’t mind though because the water felt great in the heat. A few divers I envied with their nearly professional approaches to the edge of the board and confident leaps into the air and splash-less plunges into the water. Inexperienced divers and jumpers made me hold my breath. Many times these jumpers angled themselves at the edge of the boards, and when they jumped they aimed for the pool edge. Thinking about it now, I’m surprised I only had to rescue one person during my life-guarding career.

Things were moving along predictably until a young, African American woman in a ruffled, pink, two-piece bathing suit and dreadlocks that stretched to her elbows ambled to the edge of a low board. David Hockney would have been pleased with such a pool scene. The woman stood with her toes over the edge of the board, the one furthest from me, and peered into the water below. I thought she hesitated because she wasn’t sure if she wanted to get wet. I expected her to leave the board if the height frightened her. People did it all the time. Also, if you know you can’t swim, you’re not going to leap off a diving board into deep water, right?

After a wave to her friends, she pinched her nose and jumped off the board. Once in the water, her hair swam around her face; it was as if a squid had swallowed her head. I thought for a second she was waving her arms and hands to push the hair from her face, but another second later I realized that she could not see where she was, and she could not swim! I did a split jump into the pool from my chair and swam over to her and pulled her to the surface and then over to the ladder.

I was furious. I questioned her sensibility. I could not fathom why she jumped in when she knew she lacked the necessary skills to maneuver in water. My heart pounded. When I completed my rant, she strolled away from the deep end and me and stayed in water no higher than her navel for the rest of the afternoon. It seemed as if it were another day in the park for her. For me, it was one of life’s craziest moments.

Read More

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin