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.  :)



Saturday, May 27, 2017

What's In a Name ... Meme?

I grew up with a bunch of nicknames. To my brother and sister, I was Marc the Shark. To my high school friends, I was Marcus. My fraternity name was Schroeder. I was blond, played piano like Schroeder in the Peanuts cartoons, also looked a little like Ricky Schroeder at the time.  During my hotel/bar/restaurant days in Philly in the 90s, I was nicknamed Mitz (long story I will never divulge - unless you buy me a beer or two). LOL

These days, the Internet name generator memes are all the rage. Remember the first one though before the Internet took over? Your porn star name? It was infamous! That was the one where your porn star name was the first name of your first pet and your last name was the first street name you grew up on. Hence, I became .... Smokey Maple. Nice, huh?

The name game memes are ubiquitous on Facebook and other social media platforms. I come across a new one every holiday or season. They have become as annoying as those stories you see on your feed you link into but have to friggin' hit the next button for every new page. I don't have time to hit 'next' 32 times just to see some dude wrestling a boa constrictor! Argh!

I decided to tackle these name memes once and for all. I posted my 15 favorites because I know you are just dying to know what my "stoner elf name" or my "pirate name" is. And I have to admit, it was kinda fun.


Star Destroyer name:  Black Chicken Nugget (now THAT will instill fear in those annoying Rebels!)




Christmas Elf name:  Pixie Glitter-Balls (LOL Yeah, that's me.)



Stoner Elf name:  Buddy Cottonmouth (Nailed it.)




Drunken Elf name:  Lit Snowpee (That is just adorable ...)




Pirate name:  Dead Man Creeper Bart (Nah, I'd rather be Scallyway Squilly Hornswaggle)




Leprechaun name:  Bleary McDoodles (I LOVE this since my Mom's nickname was Abby Doodles!)




Blues name:  Jailhouse Bones Rivers (pretty cool)




Game of Thrones sword name:  Sovereign Spirit (Beware, I'll will strike you down!)



Super Hero name:  Chocolate Tornado (Um, no thanks. It sounds like something that happens after bad food poisoning...)




Snarky Super Hero name:  Plucky Dare Devil (Now THIS I can work with.)



Heavy Metal Band name:  Satan's Death (Kind of an oxymoron though, isn't it? I mean if I love Satan and heavy metal, I wouldn't wanna see him dead.)




Country Star name:  Johnny "Hoss" McDean  ... Famous for ... Nothing Matters Than a 12 Point Buck (Well I do live in Schuylkill County, PA!)




DJ Name:  DJ Cracka Ass Banger (HAHAHAHAHA! PERFECT!)




Wrestler name:  Outlaw Viper (And my move would be the "Shaken Martini" lol - I bartend in the wrestling ring, too.)




AND FINALLY....

Zombie name:  Moldy Haunted Soul



That would be awful as I am highly allergic to mold. I'd be the only Zombie in existence with an Albuterol inhaler for my post-apocalyptic asthma. 





Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Dreaded Red Eye Flight


Red eyed tree frog

My sister and I were discussing this week the dreaded "red-eye" flight for our upcoming June trip out to California to see my Dad. You know the flight. You think it's a great idea at the time because it's SO cheap and are so that you are gonna be able to sleep on the plane and wake up all refreshed on the opposite coast at 6 am. Then you realize after you land that you've just had the sleep from Hell! Hence the term RED-EYE.

There is no snuggling comfortably on a red-eye either (unless you are me, keep reading). The guy behind you is kicking your seat. You hear that overhead "bong bong" from two rows ahead of you calling for the flight attendant at 2 am. There is the turbulence. There is the captain telling you to fasten your seat belts lest you get catapulted out of your seat. And of course, if you are on the aisle seat, there is always the person next to you who needs to visit the bathroom at 3 am. UGH!

This brought back memories of my own red-eye flight back in October 2014 when John and I traveled from San Francisco to back to Philly after visiting family. We had wanted to have a drink before the flight at the airport bar. As luck would have it, traffic driving back into San Francisco was a nightmare. We made our flight with only 15 minutes to spare at the most. We were those guys you see literally RUNNING down the concourse screaming at people to get out of the way, each with a carry on slung over our shoulders, holding onto a personal bag with water bottles, magazines, newspapers, and books dropping everywhere.

We made it onto the flight. John took the window seat immediately, taking over the seat rest with his massive meat hooks. GRRRR. I was sandwiched in the center between him and a very Rubenesque older woman to my right. I was the ham and cheese between to slices of bread. The peanut butter between two crackers. The pea between mattresses. You get the idea.

After we lifted off, I ordered a red wine from the flight attendant. John ordered a Scotch. My lady next to me jokingly asked, "Is it happy hour somewhere?"
I replied that I wanted to make sure I sleep like a baby on the flight back to Philly."
"Mmm-hmmm honey, you got the right idea," she replied ordering herself an amaretto on the rocks. "We gonna sleep real well tonight," she quipped.

After the wine, I dozed off pretty quickly. I woke up at 4 am from a sound sleep, jostled from a bit of turbulence. My arm draped over the woman sitting next to me, my head resting on her ample bosom. No that was definitely not a warm pillow. I groggily came to, sitting back into my seat. I was mortified.

"Oh gosh, I'm so sorry!" I exclaimed to which she responded in soothing southern voice (or was it a South Philly voice?) "That's alright honey, you were lookin' so comfortable and peaceful, I didn't want to disturb ya!"
"Gee thanks," I responded nervously and quietly. John was sawing wood next to me up against the window. I don't think I slept the rest of the flight, surprised I wasn't slugged by the poor woman.




Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Monster Allergic Reaction: Erythritol

Marc with Hives
(Cabbage Patch link)

By chance, I completed this blog post on Mother's Day so I guess I will put it up dedicated to my dear Mother Abby. Not a day goes by where I don't think about you, miss you, and love you. And I guess I will thank my Mother for passing on a whole mess of allergies to me, LOL. It's not so bad, I live with them. Sometimes as you will see below, a new allergy will crop up and be added to my list. As my Mom once said to me, "Your allergies? Well you can thank your Mother for that one!"

A couple years ago, my doctor recommended I stop drinking so much coffee as well as those energy drinks. I drank the energy drinks fairly often like at least once every couple days. It didn't matter the brand, just whatever was on sale or available. He had stated that he thought there was nothing beneficial to them from a nutritional standpoint and he'd rather have me drink my coffee instead. I did not completely give up my coffee but cut back on it as well. 

The other week I was shopping at the local supermarket after work. I didn't feel like making an extra stop for cup of coffee before the ride home so I grabbed a Monster Energy brand drink. I hadn't had one in ages so I figured I'd save time, grab one, and be on my way. I drank them before with no bad reaction whatsoever: the Regular, the Lo-carb, and the Zero Ultra. I decided to try the Absolute Zero variety to see what it tasted like.

I started drinking it, had about 1/4 of the can and within 5 minutes, my armpits.... YES my armpits, started itching. I started sweating pretty profusely. I was perplexed to say the least. I checked the car temperature, maybe it was on high heat? Nope. I thought about my antiperspirant, maybe a reaction? Nope, I'd been using it for weeks with no issue. I thought about the laundry detergent and my shirt. New detergent? Nope. I was using the same brand for the last several weeks as well.

The itching got worse and I had to pull over to the slower lane. My legs itched, my chest itched, my neck itched, arms, hands, feet, my "nuggets N tender" itched. WHAT THE HECK???? I looked at my arms and I was breaking out in hives!!!

Monster Energy Absolute Zero
I called my sister immediately and gave her the rundown on my itchy situation. After a frazzled conversation, we identified the culprit, the Monster Energy drink! She told me to make a beeline to the nearest pharmacy and grab some Benadryl. That was good advice because the swelling wasn't going down. I bought a bottle of 100 and popped two to start and took off for home.

I wasn't too worried because I've had hives before but in retrospect I should've probably gone to an urgent care facility as my throat started feeling a little itchy. I made it home, popped two more and then passed out on the couch. Yeah, I know a lot of you are thinking I am crazy for that as my throat could've closed up and I would've died on that couch. It didn't happen but rest assured, if I ever have a reaction like that again, I will go straight to a doctor. 

After this energy drink fiasco, I did some online research to see what was the difference between the ones I normally drink and this one, the Absolutely Zero flavor. Luckily, there are many many websites which list the ingredients of these drinks. I've never heard of half of those ingredients though!

One thing stood out which I noticed was not in the other energy drinks I had consumed was the ingredient erythritol. It's an artificial sweetener / sugar substitute which can be used on it's own or used with other sweeteners such as aspartame (think Equal or NutraSweet). In nature, erythritol is naturally occurring in pears, soy sauce, wine, sake, watermelon, and grapes. (link)

In addition, it was reported online that erythritol has been known to cause gastro-intestinal problems, headaches and wait for it ... allergic skin reactions such as hives. From the website https://draxe.com/erythritol/ :  "Although not highly common, erythritol can cause an allergic skin reaction for some people. A study published in 2000 in the Journal of Dermatology demonstrates how drinks containing erythritol can potentially cause a severe allergic skin reaction. A young 24-year-old woman had severe wheals (hives) all over her entire body after having one glass of a beverage sweetened with erythritol." 

In addition, and this is scary, there is research that erythritol is a "potent insecticide that kills fruit flies which consume it." (link below)

WHAAAT? Put on those brakes and let that sink in!!

This major sweetener which is a genetically modified and chemically processed corn product is now being researched to be used as a "safe" insecticide.  Interesting articles are below (in safe links) laying out the pros and cons. Even if it is "safe" I think I am going to begin passing on these artificial sweeteners. People, we really need to be more proactive into finding out what we put into our bodies!

http://www.naturalnews.com/045450_Truvia_erythritol_natural_pesticide.html
http://foodidentitytheft.com/are-you-adding-a-powerful-pesticide-to-your-morning-coffee/

Now to be fair, websites also state that many of these energy drink companies do not divulge what their natural flavors are, so it very well could be that one of those "mysterious" natural flavors caused my reaction. But I've drank other energy drinks with natural flavors and no reaction so I'm gonna start avoiding erythritol wherever I can.

I went to Starbucks the other day and chose their stevia sweetener for my coffee thinking it would be a safer/healthier alternative. It is actually stevia EXTRACT combined with ERYTHRITOL! Further research shows that a popular stevia extract brand, Truvia, is made with 99.5% erythritol and ONLY 0.5% stevia extract! (link below)

Scratch using that one!

I have seen the "Stevia In The Raw" and "Sugar in the Raw" brand sweeteners which I will now seek out and try instead of the pink stuff, blue stuff, and yellow stuff. I've also heard good things about monk fruit sweeteners. Here is a good link for info on stevia and monk fruit including the pros and cons of both! http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/monk-fruit-vs-stevia#monk-fruit1

You know, it makes me yearn for those days in the 70s and 80s of that pink stuff where you just had to worry about cancer in lab rats.

Or just MAYBE ... I am already sweet enough. LOL :)


Blogger's Note: This is my own experience and point of view with energy drinks. If you wanna drink them, go for it but do some research on what you're consuming and start making smarter decisions on what goes into your body. I have drank many brands and varieties of energy drinks in the past with no reaction whatsoever. I attribute this bad reaction to the erithrytol and/or those mysterious natural flavors. IN ADDITION, the LINKS I have provided above are safe. 



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Springtime in Lake Wynonah


I haven't written a post in awhile. Those that know me or have followed this blog know that this month is the toughest month of all. April 10th is the anniversary of my mother's passing and I still (and will always) take it very hard. This year was the 8th anniversary. It culminates on Mother's Day of course. I usually retreat to the warm closeness and safety of friends or family, remembering Mom in her best times. I know it's a sad tender time for me so I plan accordingly and try not to plan too much socially.

Some people wonder after 8 years why am I so sad still. With a wave of my hand I brush them aside. If you don't get it, then just move on. My grief from her death is just too exhausting to explain. It will always remain. I just learn how to process it and live life despite it. BUT ... I allow myself this month to get it all out emotionally until the next year.


Garter snake behind house
So back to springtime! My yard has seemed to attract every dandelion in Schuylkill County! After posting that they were the bane of my existence I heard from 2/3rd of you who agreed. The other 1/3 wanted to lop off my head like I wanted to lop off the dandelions adamantly stating I should leave them alone because they are the bee's first food. I get it! I get it! I still don't like dandelions though ... and mowed through them. BUT be happy dandelion lovers, they will most undoubtedly return.

Saw a great 2 1/2 foot long garter snake. Played with him for awhile. The little kid in me came out. Then I felt bad for harassing him and let him go on his way down to my neighbor Leah's house. LOL

I pruned back the butterfly bush, the rose bush, the holly bush, prickly sticker bush, the forsythias, the Japanese maple and then fell into the pin oak tree, breaking off a large branch in the process. I gained a little weight but honestly don't weigh that much. Ha ha! John was diplomatic and said don't worry, it made the view better. :)

Mama Robin's dual nests
A mama robin built a nest and is sitting on it just under the deck by the garage. She then built one right next to it. Subletting perhaps? She needs to fill out the proper paperwork with the property owner's association or otherwise we may be fined. LOL ;)

We had our regular four deer come through the yard a couple times. Haven't seen the hummingbirds yet but my neighbors across the lake have seen them. The bird feeders are still luckily a bevy of excitement. I was so stoked to see three cowbirds come in for a visit the other afternoon with their beautiful brown heads and black feathered bodies. The downy woodpecker is still coming by as well. Lots and lots of blue jays. Charlotte and I hung out on her back deck the other late afternoon and marveled at them flying back and forth between my house, hers, and Leah and Ron's place down the hill. We counted at least 15 separate jays flying about.

The elusive male towhee and one well fed squirrel 

Cardinal couples, mourning dove couples, chickadees, wrens, nut thatches and blue birds all abound. No more juncos though, I think my favorite winter bird has migrated off for the spring and summer. I thought I saw a male scarlet tanager at my feeder next to one of my two rotund squirrels. Turned out is was a male "towhee". Thanks to the Lake Wynonah birdman who corrected me online. I didn't even know that type of bird existed. LOL. Oh well. Chalk one up for the birdman. As I stated on the Facebook page, "Hey man, I'm just happy to be here!"

Two of the hostas
The hostas are coming in so full this year. Have planted some ivy and planted these flower bombs or rockets or whatever they are called. I bought them at Rite Aid for $1.00 a box. Ha ha, we'll see if they work out. I'll pick up some ferns, marigolds, and lavender to fill out the planters around the deck as well. Gonna plant a couple ornamental bushes in the larger urns in the back of the house. I usually plant herbs, tomatoes, and a variety of peppers. Think I'll just settle for the herbs this year and support the local farm stands for the other stuff.

Flower rockets, $1/box LOL

There's my annual garden ramble. I'll probably be sick of trying to keep up the yard by mid July and then be happily looking forward to my favorite season of all, the Fall. Except the raking. The only thing I hate more than mowing the lawn is the raking!







Friday, March 31, 2017

Moxie, Kitty Cat or Carb Loving Stocky Rugby Player?

"Miss Moxie"


I'm a cat guy and I love my cats, twins Max and Moxie. But I have to admit, I have taken their good health for granted. They are indoor cats, never go outside, and I keep their world regulated to my home.

As I wrote in the previous blog post, several friends have lost their pets. This has brought me to the conclusion that I need to be more diligent in their health care. Again I've been very lucky with no health issues (knock on wood) but as they approach their 10th birthday in April, I think it's time, I actively monitor their well being.

"MAX"
Maximus (Max) can be a beast of a cat, a typical tough guy Tom Cat that rules the roost. But when he wants attention and love, he becomes a warm cuddly sweet heart that won't leave you alone until you put out the affection. Once he's had enough, he gives a short meow of a bark and can't get away quick enough. It's sort of like, "GIMME ME LOVE NOW!" then "OVER STIMULATION! RUN AWAY!!!!" LOL He's quite a character.

Moxie on the other hand is the smaller of the two. I have a feeling she was the runt of the litter. They were found by the side of the road, hungry, thirsty and malnourished in the Spring of 2007. After Smokey passed away in May of that year, I decided to wait before I got a another cat. It was just too hard. Well the situation with these two twin terrors presented itself and I couldn't say no. They were just too adorable.

Back to Miss Moxie. Now she's a piece of work. Tiny head, rather large body. She's full of energy in the morning, running up and down the hallway back and forth like a furry NFL pigskin with legs. Yep, she has a lil bit of a weight issue we are working on.

Ever since she got fixed, she developed a bit of a jiggly belly which has grown over the years. She has not become obese, just a lil gut which bounces from side to side when she sprints down the hall. She also developed an odd taste for bread, pasta and basically anything else carb.

For instance, I am longer are able to keep out loaves of bread, muffins, Danish, donuts, or bagels on the kitchen counters. As soon as I turn my back, Moxie will rip open whatever bag it's in and chow down. I came home one evening and she had eaten an entire slice of white bread. On another occasion she had ripped through a bag of dried tortellini and was chowing down on a couple pieces.

"Miss Moxie, Carb Lover"
I was truly perplexed and have resorted to hiding the bread products and pasta. I've got a cat with a carbohydrate craving! This was also a reason to go to the vet. Not to mention, her overall neurotic attitude. Think the old-fashioned 'wiggidy cat' syndrome or it's modern day diagnosis of feline hyperesthesia.

Moxie also tends to eat whatever she can on the floor, sometimes inanimate objects. Luckily, and I've been lucky, she has thrown up everything she's tried to ingest. I also keep my home clear of rubber bands, loose string, and ribbons. She had a feast on the Christmas tree the past couple years.

So we were soon off to the vet as fast as I could, me driving like a nut trying to get a screaming cat in a carrier in the back seat. The veterinarian was awesome with her, I was very pleased. I took Moxie to my vet in Schuylkill Haven, PA. My vet doctor was great with her comforting hands-on approach. I appreciated her humor and compassion and she did her best to put Moxie and I at ease during the exam.

Once there, Moxie was a bit nervous but wasn't as bad as I thought she'd be. Just a bit scared and nervous. No one got scratched or lost a finger. She put up a bit of a fight during her rabies and distemper shots but otherwise was able to be held without freaking the heck out.

We weighed Moxie and discussed her food situation. Moxie was a bit overweight. She should be 12-13 pounds but she's at 14.9 pounds. I just put it out there bluntly, "Moxie is obsessed with bread and pasta!!!" The Vet, without skipping a beat replied, "A girl after my own heart." LOL Soon enough, all the vet assistants and receptionists were asking after Miss Moxie, the cat that loves carbs!

Different remedies were discussed and it was decided that Moxie would be put on a grain free cat food diet with blood work to be done. Apparently, she's developed a taste for carbs and may be trying to supplement a nutritional deficit with the carbs and inanimate objects that she ingests. Thankfully, besides this, she is a pretty healthy cat. I just need to make sure the house is cat proofed from all small objects which could possibly be ingested.

Finally, I just had to know what the doctor thought about her weight. I asked her, "Doctor, give it to me straight ... is Miss Moxie an obese cat?"
"No," she replied. "I wouldn't say obese. I'd say she is stocky."
"Stocky?" I asked. "Stocky like a field hockey player or hockey like a rugby player?"
The Vet laughed and replied, "Stocky like a rugby player."
So there you have it, Miss Moxie is a carb-loving rugby player!



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.