“Love Is Our Soul Purpose”

My Dad had a decal on his car that read “Love Is Our Soul Purpose.” I’m not one for bumper stickers or decals, but this one always resonated with me.

My dad’s childhood was not ideal; as he put it, his mother loved him too much and his father, not enough. He came into this world with a rare blood type that could have ended his life before it began. But he was given an emergency transfusion which saved his life.

In those times, when a woman gave birth, there was usually a minister or priest in the delivery room who would bless the baby as soon as he took his first breath. Before my father received the transfusion, the priest told the doctor that he should bless the baby immediately because he was going to die soon.

At that, my grandmother reared up on her elbows on the delivery table and shouted, “the HELL he will! He’s going to live; I’ll MAKE him live!”

When my dad, newly transfused and looking much better, was back in his mother’s arms, she told her husband how things were going to be from then on. She was going to keep her new son close to her for the next few months, and if her husband didn’t like it, he could sleep on the sofa.

My grandmother loved Dad fiercely and without question. For months she carried him in a sling day and night. For those months, cuddled next to her heart, he began to thrive.

Dad was the apple of his mother’s eye, but love between he and his father was sparse and difficult. My grandfather was gruff and forbidding, and it was rare to see him smile. Dad told me that his father never once ruffled his hair or told him what a good boy he was.

I suspect that Dad was a sensitive boy with a tough exterior. His parents fought over many things, one was that his father felt that he was being over-coddled by his mother and that he should “toughen up.”

This alone was cause for many loud arguments between his parents. When Dad was out of the army and on his own, he was sure that he would never marry. The marriage he saw growing up was angry, loud, hurtful and with little love and respect.

But years later, after living nearly 60 years with my mother, he had become a kind, loving and wise sage. He often said that love was what really mattered; that every problem in life could (and should) be handled with love and understanding. He had grown into his true self; a man of great kindness, forgiveness and gratitude for every sunrise and sunset.

I loved the conversations we shared, which always centered around love and how important it was. He truly believed that love is indeed our “soul” purpose.

Dad has been gone now six months to this day. But I still feel his love, his compassion, his wisdom and his views on life. I believe that, where he is, there is endless love and understanding. I am also sure that my crusty and aloof grandfather has had plenty of time to accept love and give love.

After all, love IS our soul purpose.

 

 

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Sorry; Had to Write a Bad Review

I love writing reviews. When I buy something I just love, I write a good review. When I go out to eat and have a great time, I write a good review. I have written positive reviews for restaurants, stores, online shopping, movies, events, fairs, etc. for years now.

I have always embraced the old ‘if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything.’ I also like reading reviews, and I do get tired of the negative reviews, especially about restaurants. My feeling is that, if you try a new restaurant and you have a bad experience there, the best revenge is to never go there again.

With the possible exception of carelessness in a restaurant that could hurt or sicken patrons. Up until the other day, the only bad review I wrote was for a popular Italian garden-y type place that often serves endless pasta. My two best friends and I went there once and ordered a special “fonduta” cheese dip appetizer.

We each tried it, and we all agreed that it tasted exactly like PineSol-flavored cheese. The only good thing about it was that it was pine-y fresh, but nothing you want to actually eat. I suggested that perhaps someone had previously used the bowl to PineSol something and didn’t wash it out.

We called our waiter over, told him what happened and asked that he let the chef know about this immediately. Well, the appetizer was taken off our bill, but no one came to our table to explain what happened, apologize; nothing. It was as if nothing had happened. We have never been back there, and don’t plan on going there again. Ever. Because of this, I wrote and published my first bad review.

My second bad review was written and published last night. This was for a popular steakhouse chain I’ve been to many times over the years in many locations. I have never had a bad meal or bad service there—until yesterday.

Here’s an excerpt from it:

“I’ve been going to [popular steakhouse restaurant] for years now, and have always enjoyed great meals and friendly service at every location I’ve visited. Today I stopped in for a quick Caesar salad at the [popular steakhouse restaurant] in and ordered two meals to go (steak tips, a potato and a Caesar salad for the Crankee Yankee, and a grilled chicken dish for me) plus a gift card.

It could just be me, but it seemed to me that, as soon as my waiter saw that he had to wait on the dreaded single older woman; every server’s nightmare, he wanted to get me out of there as soon as possible.

I gave him my order, which he never wrote down, and subsequently had to be reminded about what sides I asked for. While I ate my salad while the two meals were being prepared, there was never any “how are you today?” or “how is your salad?” I also had to remind him that I wanted to buy a gift card as well.

Look, I waitressed my way through high school and college and I know that serving food to people can suck big time. I get it that people can be horrible, fussy and downright rude to servers. Therefore I usually try to be as polite as possible and leave a generous tip, which I did this time. But I left feeling that I had been given the bum’s rush.”

My server could have just been having a bad day or gotten some bad news; who knows? But I do know that, when working in a service industry, you are going to get the whole spectrum of human society, good and bad.

Even the dreaded single older woman.

 

 

The LOUD Family

Yesterday the Crankee Yankee and I decided we had done enough work around the house and took off for a late lunch. We still haven’t given up on finding the best lobster rolls in the area; we sampled many this summer at different restaurants. Since it was a week day, we decided to try our luck at Petey’s in Hampton, NH.

Petey’s was one of my dad’s favorite places, and we had planned to take him there this summer. After his peaceful passing this past April at our home, we decided we would go to Petey’s for him.

Even on a week day it was pretty crowded, but luckily we got in. We each ordered a small lobster roll and a cup of chowder, and some onion rings to share. As we waited, we became aware of a family sitting adjacent to us. There were several adults, and kids ranging from about two years old to grammar school age.

As we sat there, the volume from this table grew louder and louder. The young boys were now shouting at their parents and each other to be heard. I thought that once they had their meals that they would tone it down, but that never happened.

The adults seemed to be having a great time, and they too were very loud. I sneaked a look at the table across from us, and a couple who looked to be in their 70s were starting to give this family some dirty looks.

At one point it was hard to tell who was more loud, the kids or the adults. That is until the two year old began to get bored. He screamed and hollered to a level just below the sound barrier. That got the parents’ attention, and they shushed him….which lasted a whole minute before he started up again. This time he added throwing french fries to his repetoire.

I remember a friend of mine who had taken her 18-month old daughter along with us to a restaurant. The little girl was fine until she wasn’t, and she started screaming. Her mom got right up, picked her up out of the high chair and walked her out of the restaurant. About ten minutes later, she came back in with a quiet baby in her arms.

But babies being babies, she soon started screaming again; nothing wrong, just exercising her vocal cords. Again, the mom picked her up and walked out of the restaurant. This was repeated five times, and finally the baby stopped screaming. Whether it was because she didn’t feel like screaming anymore or realized that each time she screamed she got taken outside, the battle for peace was won.

I have never raised a child of my own. I have young granddaughters who have wonderful parents who teach them kindly and patiently about what to do and what not to do. Therefore I really have no right to criticize anyone about how they raise their children.

However, I do notice often that many parents these days don’t appear to address bad behavior in public places. In the case of the Loud Family the other day, everyone (including the parents) seemed to get louder and louder until the volume reached ear-bleeding proportions.

The only thing that lowered the volume now and then were the many dirty looks aimed at the adults. Then you would hear loud shushing sounds from the adults, which had absolutely no effect on the children.

Look, I get it—people with kids can’t always get a babysitter or leave them with Grandma and Grandpa. Like the rest of us, they just want to get out and have some adult time at a nice restaurant.

That said, if they bring their kids to the restaurant and allow them to screech and scream like *Tasmanian Devils, they must (on some level) see that most people around them are not used all that noise while they are trying to enjoy their lunch. Although the parents might be used to this behavior and noise, the rest of the restaurant surely isn’t.

…just saying…

*”Tasmanian devils have a notoriously cantankerous disposition and will fly into a maniacal rage when threatened by a predator, fighting for a mate, or defending a meal. Early European settlers dubbed it a “devil” after witnessing such displays, which include teeth-baring, lunging, and an array of spine-chilling guttural growls.” (From National Geographic)

All Hail the Unipiper!

Back in 2014, Jimmy Kimmel had an unusual guest on his show; The Unipiper; Brian Kidd. His act was so “out there” and hilarious that I published a post about him. I saw his act a while ago, and it still makes me laugh. I absolutely love the weird and wonderful, and I hope the following makes you laugh as hard as I did.

Heaven knows these days we can use some laughs…..

Brian Kidd is a nice-looking young guy from Portland, OR who is locally known as The Unipiper. He is famous for helping the local slogan “Keep Portland Weird” to stay alive and well.

His particular claim to fame is that he learned to play the bagpipes, found a unicycle in a dumpster, has a friend who knows how to add pyrotechnics to just about anything, and is a Darth Vader fan. He managed to put all these disparate elements together to make a pretty unforgettable piece of performance art.

On Jimmy Kimmel’s show, he donned his Darth Vader helmet, hopped on his unicycle, and began playing the Star Wars theme on his bagpipes. Every few seconds flames shot out of the ends of his bagpipes!

Well–I was speechless. I laughed until I nearly passed out. Not only do I love bagpipe music, but anyone riding a unicycle has my ready laugh and my admiration. And flames shooting out of bagpipes? Genius! Oh, yes–and I also love Star Wars.

It’s easy enough to find this clip online, and I highly recommend it to anyone needing some ready cheer. How could anyone possibly stay in a bad mood after seeing this?

Good on ya, Brian! Keep up the good work!

PS: Brian is still at it!

“Hurricane AAAAACHOOOOOOOOO!”

I come from a long line of pretty loud sneezers, so I am fairly used to loud and long sneezes. No one in my family ever tried to tone their sneeze volume down, so I just got used to it.

That said, the Crankee Yankee has a sneeze loud enough to break the sound barrier. If I am lucky enough to catch him right before he sneezes; that is, when he closes his eyes, sticks out his tongue and has a hand already raised; I’m ok. I’ve seen the visual warning and can prepare for it.

But usually it’s a surprise. And even more usually, he is right behind me when he does it. I have dropped dishes, silverware, pans, plastic containers full of food when Hurricane Achooo attacks. Seriously, I have never heard anyone sneeze as loud as he does.

I was once at a zoo in Texas and, since I love elephants, I was standing near the enclosure, admiring their size, their endearing floppy ears and their little dark eyes ringed in more wrinkles than Father Time. One of them sneezed loudly and splatteringly. Even that hardly registered with me. (And luckily, I was not showered in elephant snot!)

But the Crankee Yankee’s loud sneezes puts even the elephants to shame. I did some research about why some people sneeze louder than others; usually it’s all about lung capacity. My own take on his ear-shattering sneezes are what I call “driving out the evil spirits.”

He must have a lot of them.

*Jokes for English Majors and Other Twits

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I am a self-confessed grammar nazi. So you can imagine how happy I was to find so many grammar jokes! Being both a grammar nazi and a twit, I wanted to share these with you. Enjoy!

Q: What do you say when you are comforting a grammar nazi?
A: There, Their, They’re.

Q: What’s another name for Santa’s elves?
A: Subordinate Clauses.

Q: How does an English teacher punish a valley girl?
A: Assign a 10-15 page research paper on the bastardization of the word “like.”

Q: What is Grammar?
A: The difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you’re shit.

Q: How do you spell mousetrap?
A: C-A-T.

Q: “What letter of the alphabet has got lots of water?”
A: “The C”

Q. What begins with T, ends with T and has T in it?
A: A teapot.

Q: What’s the longest word in the dictionary?
A: Rubber-band — because it stretches.

Q: What’s a teacher’s favorite nation?
A: Expla-nation.

Q: Name a bus you can never enter?
A: A syllabus.

Q: What is the longest word in the English language?
A: Smiles. (There is a mile between the first letter and the last letter.)

A teacher writes on a chalkboard the sentence: “A woman without her man is nothing” The teacher then asks the boys to punctuate it properly, and they all write: “A woman, without her man, is nothing.” The teacher asks the girls to punctuate it and they write: “A woman: without her, man is nothing.”

A Texan was visiting Harvard University, and was lost. He stopped a student and asked, “Do you know where the library is at?”

“I sure do,” replied the student, “But, you know, you’re not supposed to end sentences with prepositions.”

“What?”

“Prepositions. You ended your sentence with an ‘at’, which you aren’t supposed to do.”

“Oh, ok,” said the Texan, “Do you know where the library is at, jerk?

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says at the door. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation. “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

*Joke source: http://www.jokes4us.com/miscellaneousjokes/schooljokes

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