Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Monday, August 7, 2017

NO to Public Drama


(Not my pic)

I was out this past weekend at a local restaurant with a friend. We stopped for a quick beer, just one. We were sitting at the bar and said hi to a couple we know from our community. 

I don't know them that well at all but enough to say hi, shake a hand, and chat for 5 minutes before going about my business, that sort of thing. It was pleasant. If this was the mid 20th century, we exchanged pleasantries.

"How is your summer going?" 
"Mine is well, how is yours?"
"Its going great, but going fast."
"I agree, before you know it, it'll be the fall!"

That sort of thing. 

My attention turned back to my beer and I chatted up my friend. The couple sat 3 seats down talking adamantly. I could tell within 2 minutes they had drank way more than a couple drinks each. They started arguing and it got ugly. The woman was accusing the man of treating her badly and began to get louder and louder. He attempted to calm her down, to no avail. 

When that didn't work, he grew louder and louder in return. He was 'upping the ante.' It was as if they were making embarrassing points about each other just so the others at the bar could hear the sordid details of the argument. Personal subject matter was brought up which should never be brought up in public. Neither party was the innocent one.

It was SO extremely awkward. Cursing began. There were other people at the bar and it just grew so silent whilst the two continued their inebriated argument. I glanced at my friend and we both read each other's mind. Time to finish our beers and leave. I don't even remember if I said good bye. I just wanted to get the hell outta there. 

Once back in my car, my friend and I discussed what we had witnessed and the awkwardness of it all. We both realized that they were lobbing accusations loudly at one another on purpose just for the rest of the bar to hear. And we both decided at the same time that it was definitely time to go. I hate public drama and so does he. Some things should just be private. It was absolutely mortifying. 

We talked about what to take away from this experience. What could we learn? One thing was to realize what type of drinker you are. If you are one who tends to become emotional or argumentative when drinking, maybe you need to question how much you are drinking in public so avoid from having a meltdown if you are triggered by another party. 

Another lesson was that we realized from watching it on the other side, how mortifying it is when people air their dirty laundry in public! And this couple was not a young couple. They were the perfect example of a middle aged couple lacking maturity in social situations. Don't be that couple!

Obviously, the alcohol did not help the situation. As a bartender, I do see my fair share and try and curb it by watching people's emotions and reactions to alcohol as the night goes on. 

Public drama between couples is never pretty. It's pretty obvious, don't drink to excess and publicly argue. If you know you have an issue with your emotions when you drink, recognize it and if you need help with controlling them, seek it out. 

The final lesson we discussed was that even when you are SOBER, don't argue in public. If you have an issue with someone such as your spouse, significant other, or even a friend, temper your emotions and deal with it in an appropriate setting. Not a bar. Not a restaurant. Not the local supermarket. No one likes witnessing public drama. It makes the rest of us uncomfortable.

Now I'm not perfect. Never said I was. But at least I can take something away from such an awkwardly horrible situation and learn from it. Though I doubt this couple will. 


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Christmas in July

At the Lodge with my new bartender. 😏

"Christmas in July" events are now becoming pretty popular. Apparently 4 months of Christmas shopping starting in September and leading up to December 25th are not enough so people have to celebrate another month in the middle of the year JUST IN CASE they have forgotten how to be joyously merry. πŸ˜’

The Hallmark Channel has totally capitalized on this month long event. As if the constant stream of romance movies weren't enough to drive you over the edge, you will now have 33 Christmas themed movies to look forward to in the coming months. It is nice though to see that certain 80s and 90s actors are gainfully employed again. I'm sure Candace Burrell, Andie MacDowell and James Denton are happy.

Several bars in the Allentown area are having events for the faux-holiday. One bar is having entertainment and a costume contest. I hope its an indoor ugly sweater contest. I mean how many fully dressed Santas are gonna show up at a bar in summer heat? And unless you and your friends are going as elves or reindeer, there just aren't that many Christmas costume options.

But good things do happen as a result of these celebrations. I've seen many food and toy drives. Food pantries are always in need this time of year. They receive an overabundance of donated canned goods in December and then unfortunately, they are all but forgotten come the summer time.

Visit any weekend yard sales over the summer and you'll see an overwhelming plethora of toys for sale for a quarter here, a dollar there. Gee folks, here's a bright idea, just donate to these unused toys to the toy drives! I mean all that work for $10.00 profit on toys from your yard sale? Save some time, do a good deed by donating the toys, and if you must ... take a tax write-off  πŸ˜•

Our community Lodge had a Christmas in July dinner which featured ham or turkey. It was very popular and sold-out. In years past, Christmas decorations were put up. Unfortunately this year, that did not occur so it was Christmas-in-food only. I blame lack of volunteerism. There just aren't enough volunteers in our communities these days. But that's another blog, another time.

I bartended that evening. I even went to the local thrift store and looked for a Christmas-y t-shirt but none were available. There were row after row of  Christmas decorations available for purchase. I settled for a SpongeBob SquarePants dressed in holiday garb to represent my "Christmas in July" spirit. He also was hired as our replacement bartender since my bud Darren is leaving the Lodge end of August. Hopefully he will be easier to train ... just kidding Darren!

I AM looking forward to decorating the Christmas tree this year. That's a favorite holiday activity of mine. I get out all the ornaments from years past, including a new one I pick up each year. I lay them all out and start deciding where to put each one. My favorite tree ornaments are my Mom's ornaments I received after she passed away, ornaments of my childhood, and various cat-themed ones acquired over the years.  My all-time favorite tree ornament has to be Bugs Bunny Carmen Miranda!

Bugs Bunny as Carmen Miranda


I read online that there is a certain way to decorate trees. Start with the lights at the top, work your way down going round and round. Then drape the garland the same way, top first of course. After that, do the ornaments, heaviest towards the inside, lightest towards the outside. OK WHATEVER. I say open a bottle of wine, beer, or whatever your favorite libation may be, eggnog included, and decorate the tree HOW YOU WANT! All I know is that Bugs Bunny goes FRONT and CENTER!

You better start shopping too, there are only 150 days left until Christmas.
You can 'Bah Humbug!' me later!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

BACK ON TRACK (wit da gym)



"Some days, I feel like a sack of potatoes."

GUESS WHAT PEOPLE!! I took a break from my work-outs. I stopped working out on a regular basis during the month of June and .... OMG ... no... don't say it ... don't even think it ... SAY IT AIN'T SO JOE ... I ... GAINED ... WEIGHT!! OK OK OK, everyone take a breath. Breathe deeply and take a sip of water. Don't mind me, I'm gonna just eat this Hershey's Kiss. NO NO! Don't do it!!! (I did and enjoyed it.)

I've had a stressful month. I mean I went on vacation!! OK OK it wasn't really a stressful month. But I did eat and drink my way through June 2017. Is that wrong? Is that bad??? I mean, I have been so good for this last year!

(By the way.. if you haven't figured it out by now, don't take my ranting too seriously. I'm more harder on myself than anyone ever could be.) 

I initially took a break or two due to injury ... possibly a rotator cuff tear which had healed into scar tissue during a previous injury may or may not have involved a CASE of Dom Perignon falling from a shelf during my Ritz-Carlton days during the early 2000's which was caught by an awesome arm maneuver on MY part which unfortunately I couldn't be drug tested at that time because ... OK another blog another time.

AND I had another injury from tennis elbow due to lifting. NOW anyone who knows me KNOWS I do not play tennis. I am physically uncoordinated for it. There's a law on the books about it in Skook Cty. "Marc Haynes cannot play tennis because he is physically uncoordinated. HOWEVER, Marc Haynes can make drinks for those playing tennis."  LOL 

THEN, I had my 47th birthday which was EFFING awesome because I realized how thankful I am about sh!t! :) I did work out here and there but decided to also eat and drink here and there and enjoy my June. Then what happened??? UM.... I gained weight. I became pudgy. I became chunky again. I felt like a sack of potatoes ... maybe fingerlings? NICE TRY. OK, maybe redskins? NOPE. REALLY? OK who are we kidding, Idaho Russets! wah wah wah.... 

It was tough, difficult, embarrassing. Then I was like, WHAT do I have to be embarrassed about??? I am human! I have been in the best friggin' shape of my life for the last several years! We all get older, we all get stressed out, we turn to ways to help with the stress like food and drink .... we all falter on our workouts. The key is to GET BACK ON TRACK.. Get back on that horse and keep riding! 

But a couple things... Working out is tough. It's NOT meant to be easy my friends. I get into slumps just like anyone else. I get down, sad, miserable, gloomy. It's gonna happen. Being honest, these emotions were involved with me too. Life is tough. We go through ups and down. When you are down, you do not wanna work out. It's easier to grab that bag of chips or a beer and veg and watch an episode of Friends. OMG OMG I still LOVE reruns of FRIENDS. LOLOL. 

BUT, you, me, all of us, need to get back on track. It's for our mental health, our physical health. I'll work the weight off. I know that. Once you start working out for a while, you can gauge how long it would take you to work off 10 pounds. I'm looking at about two months of cardio and serious lifting to get back to where I was feeling good. 

I'll do it AND until I do, I will once again post when I'm at the gym. It keeps me in check. As I've been told and completely appreciate, it gives motivation to other as well. That means a helluva alot, THANK YOU. You know who you are!! And you kids who find it annoying ... Whatever. I've said it before and I'll say it again: don't follow me. (I know some of you already do so no biggie. Comes wit da territory! Don't bother me none.) 

SO ... what to do, what to do ... First, lemme put down this Whoopie Pie (PA Dutch thing) and put down this very strong heavy beer (manly man thing) and get my gym clothes ready for tomorrow's work out. 

If I haven't said it before, I truly appreciate when people like that I am at the gym. I hope that I may continue to motivate you but YOU my friends MOTIVATE ME! Get back on that horse!  (I'd rather it be a kangaroo or giraffe. That's be pretty exciting to ride. Or maybe an elephant! OK, I know, another blog, another time...) 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

FOURTH of JULY



Many fireflies in the yard,
Memories of the 4th as a child,
Hotdogs by the dozen, dripping mustard,
Many t-shirts lost...

Thursday, June 15, 2017

RIP Ralph Archbold AKA Philly's BEN FRANKLIN

Ralph Archbold, the quintessential Benjamin Franklin


Back in the late 90s, I worked at the City Tavern as a server. I've mentioned it before. My server/waiting/bartending jobs set the tone for my wild and crazy 20's.  I became extremely close with a group of other servers from the Tavern and remain so to this day. We were a motley crew of twenty somethings:  men, women, black, white, Hispanic, young, old, single, married, gay, straight .. you name it. We worked hard and then played hard, hitting the sack at the crack of dawn, only to get up 5 hours later and do it again for double shifts at the Tavern. Twenty years later, I loved that time, wouldn't repeat, and still thank God I survived some of it.

For those who don't know, the City Tavern is an accurate reconstruction of a period colonial tavern in Philadelphia on the exact same spot as the original building where we servers would wear colonial garb and serve tourists traditional American fare with a twist. The Chef Walter Staib, still overseas operations since the early 90's. It was called the "most genteel tavern in America" by our founding father John Adams and hosted other founding fathers by the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.

One of the fun aspects of Independence National Park is the opportunity to interact with the impersonators who play historical figures walking around the Park conversing with the tourists. We Servers at the Tavern ran into the historical actors on many an occasion as the Tavern was a popular stop for their wanderings.

Benjamin Franklin, played by the late Ralph Archbold since the 1970's, would come in quite often and mingle with the guests moving from room to room stopping at tables, offering advice, commenting on people's "gadgets" or clothing. He would try wandering into the kitchen and we would kindly direct him back to the dining rooms. Always nice, always professional, he would continue his educational anecdotes and speeches while being directed by staff into the more common areas of the Tavern.

Sadly, Mr. Ralph Archbold passed away this year on March 25, 2017. Mr. Archbold was absolutely incredible at his job. I didn't appreciate his dedication to his job and his craft was until I matured a bit more. Here is a link to the great article written by Jonathan Lai on Philly.com.
http://www.philly.com/philly/obituaries/Philly-Benjamin-Franklin-impersonator-Ralph-Archbold-dies.html

It isn't until I thought about Mr. Archbold's impressions of Mr. Franklin that I really how good he was. This blog post also serves as an apology to Mr. Archbold because my friends and I were a bit of a menace to the poor actor back in the 90's while he just trying to do his job and do it well.

To a twenty something kid who was trying to handle 10 lunch tables at once, Mr. Franklin ... was downright annoying. He would get in my way, disrupt my service, and be the cause of a great deal of stress for myself, a snotty nose obnoxious waiter, serving lunch in the 90' Philly summer heat.

Even between lunch and dinner services, Mr. Archbold would NOT break character. He was devoutly loyal to his alter ego, Mr. Franklin, to the core. For instance, someone would pull out a flip cell phone and Mr. Franklin would inquire, "What is that newfangled device you are speaking into?"
One of us servers would respond, "OMG Ben, it's a cell phone,  you know that ... Break character and have a Coke."
Marc (with Cindy, the nicest server ever)
Mr. Franklin, "Oh I don't know what you mean ... talking into a little hand held box ... how extraordinary! Maybe I'll just have a sherry instead."
"UGH!" we'd collectively reply.

"Oh my look at that horseless carriage? What will they think of next?" Ben would exclaim.
"It's a Philly taxi cab Ben! We are all on break! Now please give US a break!"
"No, no," he'd reply in his slightly faux British-American accent. "Much work to be done today and then I'm off to bed, for remember, early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!"
"Please Ben, it's 99' out, it's hot, and your are quoting us your famous quotes again!? I've got two lobster pot pies in the back I will most likely burn myself on, I need to focus on juggling them to table 10, four pepper pot soups to table 4, and pick up 3 Thomas Jefferson Ales at the bar!"

Ben, I mean Ralph, no I mean Ben, would quote his famous quotes often much to our surly dismay. We'd comment to him, "Oh my GOD! Are you kidding me? Will you not break character? There is no one else around? We are not tourists!"

I was an asshole to be sure, a punk bitch ass ungrateful waiter to be more specific. I get that now.

Ben/Ralph was truly a nice guy. It just annoyed our immature selves that he would be in character 24/7. Hell, even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson broke character every now and then to complain about the hot weather, their girlfriends, the honking taxi cabs or the fact that all they wanted was a beer in the August heat.

But there was Ben, always in character, ever so knowledgeable. "You know when I was a child, we didn't have these large metal electric cold boxes, we kept our ice in an ice house! Do you know I invented electricity?" as he wandered through the restaurant kitchen while we were trying to eat our pre-service staff meal.

"REALLY BEN!!?? Can't we just each our employee meal!? Will you just stop it for 10 minutes while we eat! Then you can go back to being Ben, OK?"

"Oh I surely don't know what you are referring to my good man. Remember ... An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
"Please for the love of God, Ben, stop for just 5 minutes! What does that even mean? I'm just a waiter who can barely pay his rent and have enough money for partying the night away at a local dive bar!"
Ben would just laugh, shake his head, and continue wander the building dropping quotes and missives to unsuspecting tourists.

The man was incredible, he absolutely loved his job. As a young server, it annoyed the hell outta me. But then again, most of the world annoyed the hell outta me. My job did, my apartment did, the summer heat did.

As a (ahem) mature adult, I now appreciate this man's dedication and loyalty to his craft. AND I formally apologize to Mr. Rich Archbold, our Philadelphia's own Ben Franklin.

Rich Archbold, you will surely be missed by your great city of Philadelphia! And actually, you will be missed by me. I wish I could have the love for my job that you had for yours.

Lastly, I am reminded by a quote from Ben Franklin I've just recently discovered. And I thank Mr. Ralph Archbold for it, as I would not have discovered it if I had not started writing this blog post:

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." by Benjamin Franklin 


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wisdom Going into my 47th Year

I won an Emmy for my bullshit work through life. LOL


This year has had its share of ups and downs. Rather than relive the past years events, I figured I would share with you some wisdom and observations I have learned, some which I've been reminded of, and some interesting facts I've discovered.  Some old, some new. As always, they are in no particular order. I spout off as things come into my head. OK OK, maybe serious to silly...

I often get myself worked up trying to get everything done on my "to do" list. Never happens. I am reminded of this voice in the back of my mind. It is my mother's. We were having a quick conversation one morning the year before she passed away. She asked me what I was doing on such a beautiful Sunday. I said I had a list of so much to do but I had to tackle the dishes. The dishes were the priority. She responded to me, "THE DISHES? Marc, the dishes can always wait. Go out and enjoy yourself today. The dishes will be there tomorrow."  With that, I did what she said and I had an awesome day. The dishes were there tomorrow and no one got hurt putting them off for another day! I always seem to go back to her voice in my head, lovingly admonishing me. πŸ’—

Friends are an ambiguous term with regards to today's social media. Use your social media WISELY and make certain people "close" friends, others "acquaintances" and unfollow people that give you stress. It helps. You don't have to unfriend them, just unfollow them for a bit or so. Remember, you aren't gonna get along with everyone and THAT'S OK. I know I've been unfollowed by several people and I'm fine with it. (Honestly I really don't care. I just shrug my shoulders. Life is too short to get worked up over that.)

Or, take a break from social media for a week or so like sometimes I do. You may go through a withdraw for a day or two but trust me,  you'll get through it.

If you wanna be friends with someone, then be friends with someone. Don't let other people (who may not like that person) influence you ... make your OWN decisions.

Over the years, friendships may grow apart. That's natural. But they can also be rekindled. Don't let other people poison your mind or sway you. Again, I know I'm driving this home, make your own decisions about who you want to be friends with. Don't over think it. You can apply this whether you are a teenager or an adult.

Also, try not to give a shit about what people think about you (still even at 47, sometimes easier said than done).

Don't be so hard on  yourself with life in general. It's not easy, wasn't meant to be. We as individuals, are constantly learning.

The older I get .... the LESS I KNOW. Remember when we were 20 something and thought we knew fucking everything??? Yeah, that lasted a New York second.

Getting in shape is harder than ever as you get old so go easy on yourself on that too. Just keep doing SOMETHING, keep moving, and stay active.

One awesome beer is worth more than 3 crappy ones. I still would marry a good Saison farmhouse ale if I could. :)

I'm beginning to channel my grandparents with the tissues and hankies I keep hidden everywhere. (Hey I got allergies, whaddya want?)

I look at my disheveled self in the morning and say to myself, those bums are even lucky I'm making it in.

No tomato sauce after 10 PM. Hits me about 3 AM.

I compare medications with glee to people my own age and older: "Oh yeah, you're on Lisnopril for high blood pressure too? What dose!?" It actually becomes a rite of passage!

I am still NOT cool with checking the age box "45-54."

I looked into the qualifications for becoming a Franciscan Monk this year and apparently, I am TOO OLD! They have an age requirement. I didn't even get to the part that being Jewish might hold me back...

Time for progressive lenses for my glasses, I am playing the dancing paper game in front of my eyes, trying to bring paperwork into focus.

And now for some ridiculously stupid crazy embarrassing fun things I have learned:

Oil Rigs are not attached firmly to the ocean floor by large metal or concrete pylons. They are actually kind of large ships floating in the ocean, staying relatively still adjust to the moving waves/water. It's called a flotation production system. WOW.

Straw and hay are apparently not the same thing.

Custer's last stand is NOT Custard's last stand. The former was at the Battle of Bighorn, the latter located at 7302 Rising Sun Ave in Philly. LOL

I think that's a good place to end this. πŸ˜‰



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Organizing on a Dreary Day



Back in Eastern PA where the weather has been more like Seattle, no yard work was to be accomplished on Memorial Day weekend. Although the temp was cool, I just didn't feel like getting my sneaks wet traipsing through overgrown grass or my knees wet from weeding flower beds. Instead, I decided to pick a project which I had been putting off and finally tackle it.

I spent the 2nd half of my weekend organizing mismatched sets of antique silver plate, a couple sterling, and various serving pieces, some old, some new,  some good shape, some bad. It was the perfect therapeutic activity to calm my mind on a misty, foggy, drizzly day. I enjoy collecting various serving pieces from the Art Deco and Art Nouveau eras. They really only have value to me but I love 'em. Gracefully feminine and delicate features on certain pieces while others showed classically angular chrome Art Deco lines.

Art Deco on the left, Art Nouveau on the right. 
I really like things organized: CDs, record albums, photo albums, books, DVDs all fall into this group. Yes I am old school, LOL I have not yet organized my MP3 files. I organize my clothes by season, then by color. Socks are divided up into work and play. Ties by color. Dishes, Tupperware, pots and pans according to size. Booze on the downstairs bar by type. I think as people, we like a certain structure to our lives. It gives a sense of calmness to chaos.

I'm not talking rigidity to the organization. My bathroom closet definitely gets messed up. My work shirts are sometimes all over the place. Sneakers and dress shoes in one big pile. It definitely happens and I usually trip over that pile of my shoes in the middle of the room. But once you organize that pile, once you line of those books in descending order from tall to short, one you color code those ties ... oh WOW what a sense of comfort.

But what is it about organization that we like to strive for? For me, it gives a sense of therapeutic safety and relaxation. The feeling that this is my stuff, I have touched it, gone over it, and rearranged it into some semblance of order. There is also the satisfaction of going through items such as serving pieces which I have collected over the years and reliving the pleasure and memory of buying them, studying them. Then there is the pragmatic feeling of creating order from a pile of chaos and mess.

The human mind seems to like a sense of order. Looking at a disorganized pile of socks evokes feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and nervousness. Looking at a stack of organized books or CDs gives one a feeling of stabilization, order, and facilitates understanding. And yes, it happens even with a stack of old school CDs or record albums.  :)