Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Saying Goodbye to Your Pet

Smokey the Cool Cat circa 1992


This blog is dedicated to MY best cat in the world: Smokey the Cool Cat

For those people who choose to take care of pets, whether it be dogs, cats, birds, etc., these animal friends become part of the our family. This is especially true when you do not have children. I am sure no pet owner would disagree that your pet becomes your surrogate "child" or family member.

I remember back to when my cat Smokey passed away in May of 2007 and of just how painful it was. I had rescued Smokey as a kitten in 1992 from the wheel-well of my car after he crawled up in there. I heard this tiny little meow, went looking, and saw these beautiful eyes staring back at me. It was meant to be.

Through out the years, my little buddy became that constant presence that followed me where ever I went in my home. He was there, ready to give me unconditional love no matter what was happening in my life. I loved him back. It was something that got me through some extremely dark periods of my life in my 20s. 

When I had to make the decision to put Smokey down, it was the most painful one that I had ever made.  He had been struggling with chronic renal failure and had two episodes where he rebounded and came back. Mr. Raggedy Skin and Bones as I nicknamed him, was a still happy-go-lucky cat but he was getting worse with each passing month. The very last time that Smokey had a painful attack, he retreated into the tub for safety. I decided then and there that it was time. In retrospect I probably should've done it a month or so prior but that just illustrates how difficult the process of deciding "when is the right time" and the fact that you may still end of second guessing your decisions. It's normal.

I made the appointment for the early afternoon and then spent the morning just loving him, petting him, and thanking him for being my best buddy through my ups and downs. The very end was difficult, but I was so glad in retrospect that I was the one he last saw as he faded away. And just like that, Smokey entered into his eternal sleep with our mutual hopes that we would see each other one day again in the future at Rainbow Bridge.

If you don't know about Rainbow Bridge, it has helped so many of us get through the difficult times of losing our furry or feathered friends:

http://www.rainbowbridge.com/Poem.htm


Below is a partial reprint of an article on ABCnews.go.com by ABC News journalist Jonathan Fenaroli from March 22, 2007.  I hope that this blog post and quoted article can help others make that difficult choice.


"Pet Food for Thought: How to Put a Pet to Sleep" by Jonathan Fenaroli


It is a decision no one wants to make, yet most people who keep animals know it is one they will likely be forced to face: when is the right time to put your pet to sleep?

For pet lovers, the idea of euthanasia is tantamount to pulling the plug on a beloved family member, but really loving a pet also means sometimes accepting a sad reality: sometimes it has to be done.

"We always tell out clients this is the last gift you can give to your best friend, "say veterinarian James M. McNamara of the Bethel Veterinary Hospital in Bethel, Conn. "People need to separate themselves from the equation and do what is best for their pet."

There are many factors to consider when making the ultimate decision for one who can't speak -- health, age, and the cost of keeping a sick pet alive top the list. In most cases, a veterinarian can recommend the right course of action, but sometimes the best he or she can do is give you the facts and let you decide.


When and Where?


First, the pet owner must consider when to act. No one wants to see a pet suffer. But at the same time, imagine living with the thought that "maybe we could have done more."

McNamara says it all boils down to quality of life.

"If the animal is beyond the means of what medical technology can do, then the choice is clear," he says.

The hard part, he says, is for the pet own to put the pet's welfare before the owner's.

"I've had people tell me 'money is no object.' But if the animal can't be saved and have a reasonably good life, there is no point."

His advice:  Ask yourself a question, "Am I keeping this animal alive for them, or for me?"

Logistics are key as well. Most euthanasia procedures take place in veterinary offices, but some vets will come to your home.

Anyone who has been there when a pet was put down can tell you how hard it is. For some, the idea is too much to bear, while others wouldn't dream of missing the chance to usher a fading friend into great beyond.




BLOGGER'S NOTE: I do not own the rights to the above article by Jonathan Fenaroli. I am merely reprinting it's contents for informational purposes.







Friday, March 17, 2017

My Obsession with Travel Brochures



When I was a young boy taking annual summer trips across the country with my family, much to my parent's chagrin travel brochures became my souvenir of choice. (Yes, I was an odd little boy.) I would collect them by the hundreds. They were so colorful, filled with exciting pictures of places to go, things to see! The meteor crater in Arizona; Jamestown Virginia; Cars buried front end down in the earth for miles to see in Texas; the Grand Canyon; Mount Rushmore; Wall Drug, South Dakota; the most crooked street on earth in San Francisco; Reptile Land; Mount Vernon; Pedro's South of the Border; and The Empire State Building. I could go on and on and on.

But why this fascination which borderlines obsession? I think it goes back to our summer trips where we would drive thousands of miles across our great country, stopping at various touristy sites, staying at motels along with way, sometimes carefully planned out, other times the luck of the draw. Our trips during the late 70's early 80's included mandatory stops (insisted upon by us kids) at the venerable Stuckey's roadside convenience stores.
Crazy About Brochures! 

Adam, Sheryl, and I would see an advertisement for a Stuckey's at the next exit whether it be in the Midwest, Texas, or Florida and scream "STUCKEY's!" eliciting a strong rebuke from my mother to "Keep it down back there! Your father's driving!" He would end up stopping after our pleadings. Mom would more than not have to use the bathroom anyway and it gave us a chance to explore and look at all the touristy 'chotchkes' the store had to offer.

After much begging, our parents might buy us a postcard or two: a picture of a rattlesnake or a jack-elope; the oldest house in Sante Fe, New Mexico; the St, Louis Gateway Arch; Dodge City, Kansas; or possibly the Alamo. It was rare they succumbed to our pleadings for any other souvenirs. We actually (smartly) held out for the souvenirs when we hit the big ticket tourist attractions like Mount Rushmore, Walt Disney World, South of the Border, or Cripple Creek, Colorado which might include a small toy Pluto dog, a clay miniature Pedro, or a piece of fool's gold from Cripple Creek.

But then my eyes spied a rack of colorful brochures right by the front door of Stuckey's. Each of them telling about some exciting place that I could go to. And the best part about it, the brochures were free! I took one or two of them, then three or four, and then started taking 10 or more at a stop!

We'd hit places where I could collect even more brochures:  visitor centers, museums where racks of brochures would be by the front door or gift shop, airports, train stations, and more Stuckey's than you could count on your hand! I could get 10 free brochures to every purchased postcard! When I got home, I'd glue the postcards AND brochures in a scrapbook. OK, maybe I didn't see the Largest Ball of Twine in Minnesota or Gator Land in Florida ... but I could have!

I still have a habit of taking too many brochures as an adult. It's think its a comfort thing for me. I enjoy it. It reminds me of fond childhood memories and I just see a destination I want to go to and I take the brochure. I'll read one or two before bed time. They are perfect for that 5-10 minutes before you fall asleep. Who needs a novel with long ass chapters? Give me a 4 page brochure and I'll knock that puppy out in no time and then be fast off to sleep! Maybe I'll even dream of that destination if I'm lucky.  πŸ˜Š
Maryland Visitor Center

My sister Sheryl teases me about it. It's OK, I can take it, I'm a big kid now. Sheryl and I traveled down to Washington, DC a couple weekends back and hit up the Maryland Visitor Center. True to my nature, I picked up about 30 brochures on various destinations in or about Maryland such as the Newseum, the Maryland Civil War Trails, Monocacy, Colonial Chesapeake, Sotterly Plantation, the National Archives of the United States, Rivensdale House Museum, and ... of course ironically I found the "Visit South Jersey Visitor's Guide."

You can take the kid out of South Jersey, but you can't take the South Jersey out of the kid. This South Jersey kid is still obsessed with brochures. :)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Something to Consider...

While driving home the other evening, I passed by a church sign with the quote below. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am not the head over heels religious type but I do strongly believe in God as well as consider myself devout to my faith. I just thought it was a great quote. It gave me pause for thought and reflection about my own spirituality and inner peace. 

No God
No Peace

Know God
Know Peace



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How Not to Market Yourself Online

I was recently scrolling through pics of an new online friend seeing what he was up to. He seems like an OK normal guy and we have a bunch of mutual friends in Philly. I have never formally met him face to face. Our friendship is one of those which exists purely on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Tom, as I will call him, is a business man in the Philly area. He has a pretty successful professional career and seems to enjoy life. I figured I'd check out his profile as I do with alot of people who request my friendship on social media.

As a blogger, I sometimes get a couple odd birds that come out of the woodwork. I've learned not to accept everyone but if people want to read my blog, usually I'll give them the benefit of the doubt if they seem pretty normal. I accepted Tom's request and looked at the pics he has posted. All of his pics were edited to be public.

The first pic of him was the professional head shot from his firm which he used as his profile pic. Very dapper in his suit. Kind of like the pics they take at a professional portrait studio with the standard "library-esque" professional background.

The second pic gave me pause. I did a double take and then enlarged it. Did I click on someone else's pic? Um... no. There was Tom, doing his best George Costanza impression stretched out on a couch in his underwear. AND it was public. I won't show the actual pic to keep his identity secret but I'll show you the one floating around online of George Costanza from the 90's TV series Seinfeld. THE VERY SECOND PICTURE looked like this:




Thanks to http://www.seinfeld-fan.net/ for pic.   


Listen, I'm definitely no expert about social media but I consider myself a little more savvy than your average person. If you are going to have a public professional persona online and expect people to be looking at your pictures, make sure they don't look like the one above. That is NOT the way you should be marketing yourself online.


Not every event needs to be recorded by a photograph. Not everyone needs to be tagged. Not every memory needs to be remembered. I usually ask permission before I tag somebody. I honestly do note like being tagged in posts unless its close friends or family and I regularly remove myself from tags. I routinely go through my pictures and delete those that seem a little too risque' or questionable for my online presence.


Think about what pictures you post and what they say about you. They may be counter productive to what you are trying to achieve in your career goals. I sometimes put photos up online when I'm out bar hopping with friends, but the next day after reviewing them, take them down. Also NEVER go on social media when you are intoxicated! Who knows what will end up online! At the beginning of each week, I'll review my posts online and often take down several here or there.


Again if you are fine being tagged in anything and everything, then this obviously does not apply to you.  But there are people out there such as teachers, business leaders, law enforcement, doctors, lawyers as well as others whose work and professional image could be derailed or damaged by a questionable tag or picture. Think twice about tagging yourself or a friend in an embarrassing photo or video. I'm pretty sure that no one wants to be compared to George Costanza reclining seductively on a couch!


I have no questionable pics on my page. OK, maybe just a couple from my most recent birthday last June. At least I'm still in my clothes.





Hamming it up with someone who shall not be tagged! :)






Tuesday, February 21, 2017

1-2-3 Peanut Butter Cookies



I meant to bake more in December and January but that didn't happen. Oh well. I think I focused more on taste-testing various craft beers, bourbons, and Scotch whiskies. 😊  So this recipe is a very easy peanut butter cookie recipe. It was one of the cookies that Mom made for the holidays. No flour, no baking powder, just THREE ingredients: an egg, peanut butter, and good ole sugar! I don't know why I hadn't tried this before. I took me all of 10 minutes to prep, 15 minutes at most in the oven, 5 minutes to cool down, and 10 seconds INTO MA BELLY!


I used honey roasted creamy peanut butter and they came out SO GOOD.
Ready for the Oven!


1-2-3 PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
by Abby Deeds

Set oven to BAKE at 350'F

1. In bowl, stir together 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, 1 cup of white granulated sugar, and 1 egg.
2. Roll mixture into balls (about 1 Tbsp per cookie)
3. Roll balls in sugar if desired (YES PLEASE!)
4. Place on ungreased cookie sheet
5. Bake at 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown (I left mine in about 13 minutes)
6. Cool completely



1-2-3 Peanut Butter Cookies



Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Twin Won $3500


Definition: DoppelgΓ€nger (from Wikipedia)
Dante Gabriel RossettiHow They Met Themselves, watercolor, 1864

From Wikipedia:
"In fiction and folklore, a doppelganger (German origins) is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a paranormal phenomenon, and is usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. In other traditions and stores, they recognize one's 'double-goer' as an evil twin. Doppelgaenger is a German word which also means double walker."



They say we all have twins in this world. Some consider them doppelgangers, your evil twin creating havoc somewhere across the globe. That couldn't be true ... but could it?  Or maybe it's just a genetic coincidence. Could there be someone, who looks exactly like you, with similar mannerism, features, likes and dislikes? Could the world be just a world of various duplicates of 8 billion people?

Either way, there are websites devoted to them. Usually the easiest ones to find are the celebrity look-alikes. There's a photo of a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to George Clooney that is making the rounds these days. He is a Turkish man photographed on a bus going about his business. Is he the evil George Clooney? If George is ever face to face with this man, with there be a "Battle Royal" between the Clooney lookalikes of the world? I can see it now!

The stronger one will take over Clooney's career! But wait! What if George is the evil twin trying to take over this nice Turkish man's career as a shop keeper or government worker? If they ever come face to face, would the world explode? I shudder at the thought of the end of the world being brought about by George Clooney. OK OK,  I digress, back to me and my doppelgangers!

George Clooney and his doppelganger? (From TMZ.,com)


Spicoli
Keifer
Years ago and by years, unfortunately I mean decades, I was told I bore a resemblance to a young Sean Penn. I wish! My nickname was Marcus never Spicoli. I was also told I looked like Keifer Sutherland. OK ... I never saw it. I know my chin bore a resemblance to Jay Leno's but that's about all.


Chin
In 2013, another doppelganger of mine was spotted by my friend Donna at the Hilton in Vienna, Austria while she was on a family vacation. He was younger and skinnier than me but bore a strong resemblance, and ironically working the front desk at the hotel. I have also worked in the hotel business during my 20's and early 30's. Unfortunately, I lost the picture of my Austrian twin. You'll have to take my word for it ... and that I'm better looking.

People have compared me to Jonathan Karl, the Chief White House Correspondent and political journalist on ABC News. I think I only look like him during my chunky times of the year (sorry Karl). He is a journalist and I write my blog. He also grew up in South Dakota and I still have extended family out there. Otherwise, not much of a connection.

Jonathan Karl
And still others think I bear a resemblance to Dan Bylsma, the former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach from 2009-2014 and current Buffalo Sabres head coach since 2015. He's a bigger dude (like 6'1'') but the same age as me, born in 1970. I also like hockey. LOL J  Again, the resemblance is more when I put on my winter weight.

Coach Bylsma
I was told the other night that there is a bartender at a bar in Berks County which looks like me too. I also bartend. Hmmm…. My friend who told me this really thought that either I was now bartending there or my brother was. I think I'm gonna have to seek out this guy and see how much we look like each other.

Lastly, the ENTIRE idea for this blog came about by a text from my friend Richelle in Lake Wynonah. She was watching the TV show Celebrity Name Game with the host Craig Ferguson and she saw me, or rather someone who was named MARC as well! And why are they always skinnier! GRRRR!

I was blown away. I thought the pic she sent me was altered on the computer. There was my name, spelled the same way, captioned underneath some dude in a sweater vest wearing thick rimmed  glasses. The mannerisms were oddly … familiar. I can also be quite excitable when I win larges sums of money. OK, I can be quite excitable in general. LOL

To be honest, this latest doppelganger had my head spinning. Just creepy and eeire to think that there are people who look so much like me living different lives in this world. I had once said JOKINGLY that I wanted to take out anyone else named Marc Haynes so that my standings on Google search would improve dramatically. Now I also have to worry about those that look like me? Egads, that's just too much! I think I'll just share the world with the rest of these Marc Hayneses and look-alikes. I already have too much on my plate.

But to the Marc that won the $3500 on Celebrity Name Game, one question ... Brother, can you spare a dime?  I mean after all, we are twins!



Blogger's NOTE: I do not own any of these pictures. They are borrowed from online.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Online Political Convo? I'll Pass...



As a regular blogger, I am attached by way of email or username to many popular social media websites. I use most of them to promote my blog. Some I just connect to as an observer. My good friend from college, Sharon posted a question on her Facebook page asking how many did we participate in and I was shocked when mine added up to more than 10!

In this day and age, if I want to develop an online presence and following, it is necessary to try and be involved promoting yourself through various social media websites. Some though, such as SoundCloud, I listen to for the music. I do most of my blog promotion on my Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. With everything seemingly online, all of my sites are just a click away. If someone likes my taste in music, maybe they will check out my blog or my tweets and vice versa.

I tend to think of my overall online presence as rather vanilla though. I'll be the first to admit, I don't often get involved in controversial topics. If this were magazine format,, my blogs would probably do well in magazines like Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Life, Saturday Evening Post, Vanity Fair etc. Give me a good old-school variety mag with human interest pieces and I'm sure I would fit right in!

I find myself growing tired of witnessing horrible nasty drag-out fights on Facebook involving people who are family, friends and strangers arguing with one another to the point of embarrassment. I truly don't feel that posting political rants on Facebook creates an atmosphere for a good conversation and dialogue. You don't get anywhere. No one ever seems to change their opinion!

This is how it seemingly goes. Someone posts an inflammatory statement, religious or political. Invariably friends who are in support jump on the band wagon. You have that one brave individual who speaks up against the discussed position. He or she then gets slammed by long vitriolic tirades against them. Who wants to open themselves up to that? Who actively chooses to be cyber-bullied by nameless individuals or strangers? Sorry but I'm not a masochist.

It's so easy to hide behind your phone or computer. If you wanna have a meaningful conversation, try doing it offline. But honestly, I may not engage you there either. And guess what, texting does not work either! Points are misconstrued, people read other's comments incorrectly.

Let just say that I'll leave the arguments for the pundits. I don't have the time to engage in political discussions which probably won't effect me in the short term or when I know neither your opinion will change mine or vice versa. It's a waste of time going around in circles. You are probably thinking, well that's pretty judgmental, how do YOU know Marc Haynes? Well for starters, I see it directly on past posts on various individual's' pages. Not to mention that my time can be better spent in more meaningful ways with family, friends, and home. How much time do people spend arguing back and forth, posting stuff just to rile people up?

It is hard for me to think that any meaningful conversation can occur back and forth on certain social media websites. I liken it to you and I trying to have a thoughtful discussion in a stadium full of strangers. I make a comment, you make a comment. Then all of a sudden, some stranger comes rushing in and makes a rude comment biting my head off. I don't even know this person!!! Why would any sane individual want to subject themselves to that?

Now before you begin to feel that this post is about you, realize it can apply to about 40 or so people that I know online. But it may be about you... or not. Ha-Ha-Ha. And it's not just for my Republican friends, but also for my Democratic friends. No disrespect is meant but just how I see it. It annoys me when I see a political rant with 30+ comments going back and forth with everyone trying to "out insult" each other. More than likely I'll pass on by and keep swiping.

In conclusion, as a blogger, I know that I open myself up to criticism and comments. I accept that. But my blog is not controversial, it's pretty vanilla with some nuts and chocolate chips thrown in (what does that even mean? Ha-ha.). My time can be better spent commenting on the fun crazy stuff of this world like Kellyanne Conway's nutcracker outfit to the Inauguration. I'll let others have all of the nasty argumentative stuff. I've gots no time for that!

Listen, I've had 5 friends, middle aged to senior citizen, pass away in the last two months from various health issues. It gets very difficult seeing your friends pass away. I'd rather spend my time doing more meaningful interactions with family and friends than wasting time arguing online. You never know when your time may be up. My friends, how much time do you spend on ridiculous online arguments which go absolutely no where?