Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

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

Sunday, August 23, 2015

10 Second Memory: You Bastard!

I came home one day from 1st grade in tears. My sister, Sheryl, 5 years older, came running over to me asking me what had happened. I started crying and related how a couple of big kids had come over and called me a bastard! I was so upset and I didn't even know what it meant!

My sister hugged me and comforted me. She told me it was alright and that the word just meant 'bad man.' 

Now ... the debate is still up in the air on whether my dear sister was merely trying to comfort me and steer me away from using the word OR she didn't know what the word meant herself. Sheryl is currently claiming ignorance of the entire event. Right .... LOL. 

For those of you that don't have a 25 pound Webster's Dictionary lying about, the word 'bastard' traditionally means 'a person born of parents not married to each other.' I am, as the definition goes, not a bastard. I don't even think those mean older kids knew what it meant.

Nevertheless, I was comforted by Sheryl and carried on with my afternoon snack of Nutter Butters and milk while watching Scooby Doo on TV.

The next day I went to school determined not to let the bullies bother me. And I didn't as my sister helped to instill a bit of confidence in me knowing that the word 'bastard' could not hurt me. 

Unfortunately, I ended up calling several classmates "You bastard!" thinking I was calling them a 'bad man.' Um ... THANK YOU SHERYL. 

I was sent to the Principal's office with my Mom being promptly called. The Principal calmly asked her why her child was calling half of his classmates 'bastards.'  Oh what a fun afternoon that was after school.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Projects, New Horizons

A fellow old soul urged me to share something which has been on my mind as of late. His advice has always been sound and after some consideration, I decided to listen to him and write this post. By doing so, I am giving myself a bit of a kick in the ass to keep moving on with this passion of mine:  writing!

I have come to a crossroads within my passion of writing. When I started this blog 5 years ago as almost an homage to my departed Mom, I wanted to document my life turning 40. I have notebooks filled with potential blog posts which I have not yet written. Some are just mere ideas or snippets of a memory. Others are fully fleshed out memories almost ready to post. They range anywhere from work, to play, to life, to relationships, to even a more private side of me that only close friends and family know. Some I may never publish, I am just not ready to get that personal with certain subjects in my life. Others are well ... LOL... just NOT that interesting. :)

I have included stories and anecdotes of where I have been, where I am presently, and where I hope to be. I guess you can file this post under the latter two categories.  First of all, once I reach 300 essays published on my blog (I have published 275), I am going to start researching how to transcribe my personal favorites or most popular into a manuscript form. So many of you have asked me about this and been kind enough to suggest it. Well, I am going to do some research on it and see if it is viable. With this in the works, I will seek out an agent to represent myself for possible publication.


New Beginnings
The second "project" I am considering, is writing a memoir of my years in the hotel and restaurant business. I have wanted to do this for awhile and maybe the time has come to give it a go! Throughout my Philly years at Houlihans, the Omni Hotel, the City Tavern, the Ritz-Carlton, and catering, I have kept notes and lists of celebrity run-ins, experiences, mayhems, misses, and fun times. I have detailed experiences of the good times to the bad. An outline is already fleshed out, I just need to get my ass in gear and begin connecting the dots.

I will still be writing essays for the blog but not as many as before. I am also going to complete the blog project of my mother's favorites recipes and am actually pretty close to doing so! The unfortunate part is that I am now getting into the "baking" recipes which is definitely not my forte'. You can expect plenty of burnt cookies and under cooked pies, breads, and cakes.

Lastly, life is about the journey and our subsequent experiences along the way. I am on that journey still learning how little I acually know and being kind of alright with it. I am constantly being reminded that wisdom comes from the experiences and you can't buy it at Walmart or Amazon. But once you have it, it is one of the greatest gifts. With that being said, I am learning that it is also OK to move from one project to another.


Wisdom

I have no current plans to end this blog and have no desire to at this point. But if in the future I choose to end it so that I may pursue other projects, I am OK with that. This blog has been a wonderful experience for me. It has taught me that I can write, write well (most of the time. LOL), and have fun do so. It has been a tremendously humbling experience to have people read what I post. I am truly thankful.

Thanks to the young "old soul" who pushed me into writing this post. Sometimes even the "youngsters" have some good sound advice. (((Shudder at the thought)))

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Stop Texting While Driving

Logo from CHP campaign
I decided last week to conduct a very unscientific experiment and keep track of how many people I passed on my way to work who were either talking on their cell phones or seen obviously texting. There is room for error as some people may have been looking for someone's number on their phone. THIS, by the way, is not an acceptable excuse because you are still reading and scrolling through your phone's contacts while driving.

Each day, I travel a pretty long commute from Schuylkill County to Allentown, the seat of Lehigh County, PA. It's about 40 miles, most of it on one major highway, Route 78 which is highly traveled by commuters and tractor trailers alike.  When I'm on Route 78, I travel with the speed of traffic. And by the way, I won't be divulging my rate of speed except it allows me to pass those in the slow lane.  :)

I counted about 50 cars that I passed over the distance of 40 miles. Within those 50 cars, I counted 10 people speaking on their cell phones without hands free devices and 5 people actively texting with their eyes down on their phones. You can always tell those people in front of you who are texting. They started veering off to one side or the other. I usually try and pass them as quickly as possible. I don't want to be caught up in their bad driving habits.

Now I will say I am not 100% innocent in this subject. I would be a hypocrite if I said I never did it. I would say I am actively reforming myself of those bad habits and I have taken steps to stop them. I now use a hands free device for my phone. If I have forgotten the ear buds, my smart phone allows me to call people via voice commands and I then put them on speakerphone. If I find myself desperately in need of checking or sending out a text, I pull over and put on my hazards or just pull into a parking lot somewhere. A couple years ago, I picked up a yellow rubber thumb ring by GoGo which states: "NO TXTNG-TXT L8R". I stopped wearing thumb rings about 17 years ago so instead I have put it around one of the knobs on my car radio so I see it every morning as a reminder.

You can also get anti texting thumb rings at: http://www.textingthumbbands.com/ From their website comes this interesting and scary bit of info:

"Texting while driving takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of a football field completely blind! Doesn't sound too smart does it?"

Even if you are at a stop light, it is not safe to text. I personally know people who have been in fender benders because they are slowly rolling forward into another car while texting. Or alternatively, they preemptively step on the gas while finishing their text thinking the car in front of them is now moving when they are not!

I am now an advocate for this. I yell at my friends. But I also have my friends yell at me if I slip up and do something stupid while driving. Your life and possibly someone else's may be at risk for your stupid foolish behavior. No text or call is worth a life.

On a lighter note, I passed one child picking his nose. I then passed a station wagon with at least five dogs romping about from chihuahuas to pugs to yorkies. And lastly, I passed a man eating a danish. I secretly hoped it was an apple danish because I really like apple danishes.