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21 Life Lessons To Consider August 20, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, People.
9 comments

A recent chain e-mail I received included 21 Life Lessons.  None of the 21  Lessons worked perfectly with my life philosophy. 

Here’s my modified list of 21 Life Lessons To Consider:

ONE.  Only give people what they want and expect from you if you can do so cheerfully . . . without resentment simmering below the surface.   At all other times, do what you want and allow others to do the same.

TWO.  Marry someone you love to laugh with.  As you get  older, looks fade and bodies sag ~ but a shared sense humor will improve even the cloudiest days.

THREE.  Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or eat all you want . . . or you will become fat, poor, and increasingly ignorant (never a good combination).

FOUR.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.  ~ Dr. Seuss

FIVE.  Apologize only if you can do so unilaterally, without expecting anything in return.  There are few things worse in a relationship than expecting a reciprocal apology that is NOT forthcoming.

SIX.  Be engaged at least six months before you get  married, and be married at least 26 years before adding children to the union.   (I kid.  I kid.) 

SEVEN.  Believe in love at first sight and happily ever after . . . even if you never encounter either first hand.

EIGHT.  Hang on to your dreams, even when others are laughing at you and/or them.  People who have dreams have a reason to get up in the morning (other than just going through ritual ablutions).

NINE.  Live deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s better than living only half a life.

TEN.  In disagreements, fight fair and stick to the issue at hand.  If you resort to name calling, you may win the argument and lose the relationship.

Don’t call people “Broccoli Head,” unless you are arguing with an actual head of broccoli.

ELEVEN.  Don’t judge people by their relatives ~ but scrutinize their friends carefully.

TWELVE.  Think BEFORE opening your mouth.   If stupid things start gushing out, SHUT your mouth quickly.

THIRTEEN.  When someone asks you a question you don’t want to  answer, smile and ask, “Why do you want to  know?”

This is my favorite tip for dealing with the Nosy Parkers of the world, as well as for people who are gathering information to use against me in a court of law.

FOURTEEN.  Remember that living life involves some degree of risk ~ but standing still is the greatest risk of all.

FIFTEEN.  Say “bless you” when you hear someone sneeze ~ then excuse yourself to wash your hands.

SIXTEEN.  When things don’t go as  planned, look for the hidden lesson or message.  Most clouds have silver linings . . . even if they are somewhat tarnished. 

SEVENTEEN.  Remember the three R’s ~ Respect for self, Respect for others, and Responsibility for your actions.  Don’t be the prisoner of your past, be the architect of your future. 

EIGHTEEN.  Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship, but feel free to  let less than stellar friendships fall by the wayside.  Life is too short to put up with toxic relationships.

NINETEEN.  When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct  it.  Don’t keep throwing time and energy down turnip holes.

TWENTY.  Smile when picking up the phone.  The caller will hear your smile and feel happier for no reason at all.  Even better, choose happiness all the time.  To get started . . . How To Be Happy NOW. 

TWENTY- ONE.   Spend time alone.   If you can’t stand being alone with yourself, why should anyone else have to put up with you?

If you don’t agree with the 21 Life Lessons on my list, be patient.  The original chain e-mail is currently circumnavigating the globe for the 217th time.  It should arrive in your mailbox shortly.

How NOT To Throw A Dinner Party August 20, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Humor, People.
8 comments

The Only Cin’s recent posts on Table Etiquette inspired me to share this true tale of how NOT to throw a Dinner Party (unless you desire to have guests throwing Dinner Plates back at you):   

A few years ago, some friends invited us over for sit down dinner.  Having been there once before, shoehorned into an allotted space at the dining room table, a space so small that even a midget wouldn’t have been able to fit without the liberal application of WD-40 to smooth the way, I told my husband (and BFF), “Absolutely not!  Tell them NO!”

BFF politely declined the request, only to face increasingly urgent pleas from the host and hostess, “We’d really love to see you.  It’s been so long since we had everyone here at once.  It’s going to be a small gathering, just family and . . . a few friends.”

Stop right there!  What do you mean, “just a few friends”? 

Based on previous experience with this host and hostess, if I had been on the phone, I would have launched into litigation mode upon hearing those words:  How many friends?  Are they clean?  Do they have any nasty habits that are going to detract from our enjoyment of the meal?

If BFF had asked these crucial questions, he would have received the following telling replies: 

Q. How many friends?  A. Twenty-three. 

Q. Are they clean?  A. No, they are not known for meticulous hygiene. 

Q. Do they have any nasty habits that are going to detract from our enjoyment of the meal?   A. Yes. 

Without having the necessary litigation background to ask these types of pointed questions, BFF caved, “Sure, we’d love to come.”

Flash forward to Party Day.  We walk into the house and are accosted by  “aromas.”  No, not delightful aromas.  Odors.  The house smelled like a gym locker room . . . during a janitorial strike.  I glared at BFF through the stench.

It took us twenty minutes to walk ten feet from the living room to the kitchen because the place was packed, elbow to elbow, with all manner of unwashed and unshaven humanity. 

I stared at BFF and mouthed, “You did this to me.  You will pay.”

When we reached the kitchen, I saw the problem ~ everyone was milling around in the living room in order to avoid a mentally challenged guest who was intently picking his nose with gusto.  He had a good three to four inches of his index finger shoved up there, scouting around for morsels to tide him over until dinner was served. 

What’s that?  Did he eat it?  Of course, he did ~ right before he reached out to shake my hand, which I pulled out of his reach faster than a cobra eating a mongoose.  Or a mongoose eating a cobra.  You know, lightning fast.

With equal speed, I turned on my heel to begin my laborious return to the front door, wading again through all manner and mass of humanity.

BFF, who is much more PC than me, jerked me back, “We can’t leave.  They’ll wonder why.”

“I won’t leave them in suspense, BFF.  I’ll tell them to take their misguided notion of togetherness and stuff it right up their . . . ”

Just then, the hostess appeared to announce that dinner would be served and eaten in the basement.  All the obedient girls and boys in attendance made a mad bee-line for the basement stairs, leaving BFF and me in the now empty living room.

“C’mon, BFF.  Let’s just go.  I’d rather have a Big Mac at Mickey D’s than eat with this crowd.”

“NR, we can’t leave.  Be charitable.  Everyone is miserable.  As soon as we’re done eating, we’ll go.  I promise.”

I headed over to the bar to pour myself a stiff one.  I was going to need all the liquid courage I could muster.  Quickly draining the glass, I handed the now empty glass to BFF, and said, “Please, sir, may I have some more?”

BFF was torn.  I could see it in his eyes.  He knows me.  He knows that I get even more outspoken, and less politically correct, after imbibing that golden elixir known as Maker’s Mark.  Yet, he felt beholden to me for dragging me here in the first place and wanted to make it as painless an experience as possible. 

He reached for the bottle, and filled my cup until it overflowed.

As soon as we reached the bottom of the stairs, I did a quick U-Turn and started up again.  BFF dragged me back.  From the aerial view provided from the stairs, I stared in horror at the scene before me. 

There were at least twenty people crammed around a table for twelve, and only two empty slots available ~ one next to a screaming child and the other next to the friendly nose picker.   

Buggers!

This time, I jerked on BFF’s arm, and motioned up the stairs to freedom.  He waited, debating what to do. 

Now that we are older and wiser, and fully cognizant of the fact that we do NOT need to be manipulated by public opinion, we would not hesitate to proudly and courageously march up those stairs, singing “Freedom.  Keep walking.  Keep on your toes and don’t stop talking . . . ” 

Back then, we were young and inexperienced and, sadly, more easily manipulated.

BFF’s pause gave the hostess an opportunity to direct everyone’s attention to us, as she gaily cried out, “BFF, NR!  Come join us!  There’s plenty of room and plenty of food!  We’re just about to say Grace.”

She motioned BFF toward the screaming child, whose facial coloring at the moment resembled that of Barney, the purple dinosaur. 

Me?  

Exactly.  Right next to nose picker, who shall hereinafter be referred to as the guest with special needs, or special needs guest.

Turns out that our special needs guest really was mentally challenged.  And, through no fault of his own, he had not been taught, despite his advanced age of 20 or so, to use a knife and fork.  Or a plate.  Instead, his caregiver piled his food indiscriminately into an enormous bowl which, when she was done,  resembled a pig trough filled with “slop.” 

Looking into a bowl of food that appears to have been regurgitated before serving is a decidedly unappetizing way to start any meal.  Having said bowl sitting two inches away from my cutlery, due to the inhospitably close quarters provided for guests, impacted my thoughts during Grace:

Dear Lord, thank you for these gifts which we are about to receive, but if it’s not too much trouble . . . could you get the host or hostess to switch places with me?  I know that our special needs guest is here to remind us of the many blessings in our own lives, but I didn’t want to come to this party in the first place; I’m feeling packed in here like a sardine; and I’ve never met the guy before in my life.  I don’t know who he is, and I don’t want to sit next to him. 

Please remind the host and hostess that it is their job, not mine, to see that the needs of ALL their guests are met.  Thanks.  Amen. 

God ignored my plea, as did the host and hostess, and I remained in close proximity to our special needs guest, whose development had arrested slightly before he gained the manual dexterity of a toddler.   

His table manners left something to be desired.  He snorted, and grunted, as he shoveled his slop into his mouth with his hands.  Like a toddler eating spaghetti, he clapped his hands in delight, spraying folks within a two foot radius with mashed potatoes, yams, and peas.  

If something made him laugh while he had a mouthful of food, no matter.  He just let fall the food from his mouth back into the trough to be scooped up again moments later. 

After a few minutes, both disgusted and ashamed at my lack of charity, I stood up, and stepped up onto the seat of my chair, to get out and away from this unsanitary insanity. 

I know it was rude, but climbing over the back of my folding chair was the only way to maneuver in those close quarters ~ and removing oneself from sticky situations is better manners than staying seated while having a melt-down. 

With infinite grace and finesse, and feelings of great relief, I stepped over the back of my chair onto the floor.  As I leaned over to pick up my plate, the  caretaker angrily intoned, “Where do you think you are going?”  

She sounded like she was talking to a child, or a special needs guest,  “If you need something, we’ll be happy to pass it to you.  All you have to do is say the magic word, please.” 

Obviously, she was a master at the art of manipulation through public opinion.  Her comment, designed to shame me into submission, had exactly the opposite effect.  It bolstered my resolve to flee the premises, post-haste.

I slammed my plate back onto the table, realizing that the food on it had been contaminated by sprayed spittle from our special needs guest anyway, and reached for my drink . . . which I had carefully placed outside the spray zone.  Then, smiling sweetly at the hostess, I made my get-a-way speech:

This has been absolutely wonderful.  Such a treat.  But I’m starting to feel nauseous.  I’m sure it’s nothing serious.  Certainly not the food.  Or the company.  Probably just a bit too much togetherness for one day.

With that, I made my way up the stairs, glancing over at BFF to make sure that he was enjoying his dinner as much as I had enjoyed mine. 

Sure enough, his dinner companion was still screaming in his ear.  “Good,” I thought, “you ain’t heard nothing yet!”

* * * * *

BFF is a marvelous man who earns my gratitude on a daily basis by taking care of my every want, need, and whim.  

When we got in the car to go home that evening, I simply said, “You realize, of course, that we are now even.  Every brownie point that you have earned in the past is gone ~ used to cancel out the debt for this single meal!” 

He agreed, negating the need for further discussion.

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  Fantasy Dinner Party * Sunset Dinner Party * Scrubbing Up Nice (The Only Cin) * More Table Etiquette (The Only Cin)

FUN With WORDS: Anagram Antics August 20, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor.
4 comments

Anagrams rearrange letters from a word or phrase to create another word or phrase.  Ideally, the words and phrases are related in some unique way. 

For example, using a Holiday theme: 

SAINT PATRICK’S DAY –> _ _ ‘ S     _ _ _ _ _     S _ _ _ _     _ _ _

Hint:  Poor Santa . . . that’s gonna leave a mark.  ♥ ♥ ♥  (Solution Below)

Ready to put on your thinking caps? 

Here are 5 Anagrams Puzzles for you to solve, with some E’s and R’s filled in (for the anagram solutions I plan to toss out in the days ahead): 

Happy Scrambling! 

 1.  DORMITORY –> _ _ _ R _         R _ _ _

 2.  BILL GATES –>  _ E _ _     _     _ _ _ _

 3.  PRESBYTERIAN –> _ E _ _      _ _      _ _ _ _ E _

 4.  ASTRONOMER –> _ _ _ _     _ _ _ R _ R

 5.  JENNIFER ANISTON –> _ _ _ E     _ _     _ _ _ _     _ E _ _ _

 * * * * *

Solution:   SAINT PATRICK’S DAY -> IT’S PRICK SANTA DAY!

If you found a different anagram for Saint Patrick’s Day, share it below.

The Chain: Harbingers of Things to Come August 20, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Music & Dance, People.
104 comments

Chain e-mails (those long, convoluted harbingers of things to come which circulate endlessly in cyber space and  encourage people to stop what they are doing to  mindlessly forward “the chain” to everyone they know as quickly as possible) should be “broken” by the courageous at the first opportunity: 

(1)  Using superstitious gobbledygook as a motivating tool preys on the weak and distracts everyone else: 

You have 6 minutes.  (Or what?  my head explodes?) 

Do not keep this message.  (So bossy!) 

The  Lotus Touts must leave your hands in 6 MINUTES.  Otherwise you will get a very unpleasant  surprise.  (What?  Another chain letter?) 

(2)  Chain letters often contain poorly worded sentences which make the English language sound more awkward than necessary: 

This is true, even if you are NOT superstitious, agnostic, or otherwise faith impaired.   

Did they really mean to say: even if you are not superstitious, [not] agnostic, or [not] otherwise faith impaired? 

(3)  The more willing a recipient is to forward it to everyone they know, the greater the promised reward: 

Now,  here’s the FUN part!  Send this to at  least 5 people and your life will improve.   

1-4  people ~ Your life will improve slightly.   
5-9  people ~ Your life will improve to your liking.
9-14  people ~You will have 5 surprises in the next 3 weeks.
15-25 ~ Your life will improve drastically.
25 or more ~ Everything you ever dreamed of will come true.
 

Apparently, the more mailboxes we are willing to fill, the more time we are able to waste, the better the gods like it.  

Rewarding superstitious time wasters (who use poorly worded messages to keep in touch with other superstitious time wasters) by making their dreams come true, while punishing those who have better things to do with their time, is a sure fire strategy to ensure survival of the un-fittest.     

(4)  In addition to superstitious hocus pocus and bad grammar, chain letters  include other unsubstantiated claims, misrepresentations, and/or blatant lies: 

Please don’t break the chain, it has been sent around the world ten times so far.  

Says who???  Not the original author, certainly.  If someone added that claim later, how did they determine the validity of the statement?  

How does a chain e-mail circumnavigate the globe anyway?  

If I send it to Australia and someone there sends it back to me . . . does that count as once around the world?   

Should we take into account the fact that the Around The World Trip only took 60 seconds? 

Of course, even if the “Don’t Break The Chain” comments are ridiculous, sometimes the actual message is positive, uplifting, and worth sharing. 

Hmm . . . what to do?  

In the past, I generally deleted all the lies and half-truths, cleaned up the grammar and spelling, and forwarded the tasty bits on to a few select friends. 

But that was B.B.  . . . Before Blogging.  

Now, I can share any positive, uplifting messages from “the chains” I receive with you, while tossing the broken chains into my cyber wastebasket! 

I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain! ~ Fleetwood Mac