Enough is enough….have some water

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I have officially reached the next echelon of my ‘personal limit’ pyramid. Having worked in the resort and restaurant business for most of my employed life, I have seen the full spectrum of mortal behavior and potentially every single human emotion at its highest velocity and its lowest hum.  I have met people from all walks of life, people from each position on the financial scale and every personality type described in psychology textbooks.

During each new experience dealing with behavior I find intolerable, my patience wears a little thinner and I don’t handle myself as gracefully and tactfully as I once was able to do.  Call it experience, call it aging or call it exasperation – in the depths of my mind there is no excuse for some of the behavior I have witnessed during my career in hostility hospitality.  Today was no exception.

Being a server in restaurants and a bartender at an upscale eatery, you learn quickly how to carefully deal with the clientele who don’t know when they’ve imbibed enough in their alcoholic beverage of choice.  I have learned how, over the years, to go from politically correct to obviously blunt and the message still never reaches the target.  I have handled my fair share of disgruntled guests throughout my journey but I have yet to master the fully intoxicated.  Sure, the few whose cocktail of choice is a mixed drink are the easiest to help.  A quarter of a shot instead of the full ounce goes unnoticed in a glass drowned with sugary syrup after the blood has already been saturated.  But those who drink beer or wine are tougher to fool.

Today, more than ever, drunkenness wreaked havoc on my composure.  What should have been a pleasant afternoon turned into a side-show at a forgotten carnival.  The generosity of one became the  over-indulgence of another and I didn’t know whether my emotion should be anger or sadness.  It was neither my battle to fight or my place to speak.  I could only sit back and hope the situation wouldn’t end badly.

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Water, water everywhere – and nary a drop he would drink.

(image credit)

 

 

 

 

Those serendipitous moments at the end of a long day

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You’ve undoubtedly had a day similar to the one I’ve just experienced.  That day where seemingly insurmountable problems are lurking around every corner and then, just when you think you’ve methodically cleared away all the issues, someone else abruptly pulls the rug out from under you.  The stars circle around your head as you calculate how to best resolve the next dilemma and move on.

Thankfully, I’ve never let any concerns weigh too heavily on my mind.  I’m a problem solver and this is a trait I graciously accepted from my father.  He and I would never dwell on a problem but immediately begin searching for a solution.  Perhaps this is why I gravitate towards this silly line from Van Wilder – “Worrying is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.”

rocking chair

At the end of my work day today, the concerns were dealt with and I left for home after what seemed like an eternity.  My drive home partially meanders through a golf course.  It is a picturesque panorama of soothing greenery and winding black-top.  Halfway through  the drive I pulled up behind a minuscule gaggle of 8 Canada Geese.  Instead of becoming spooked and flying away, this merry band of winged misfits continued to saunter down the road directly in front of my car.   One by one they eventually peeled off to the left or the right, only by foot and never flying away from the powerful piece of machinery inching closer to their tail feathers.  There was nothing I could do but giggle and think that someone up above knew I needed a good laugh.

After passing through the golf course and continuing my drive, my cell phone rang and the call display showed a number I haven’t seen in a while.  An old friend was 5 minutes away and just wanted to say a quick “hello”.  Had I not been delayed at work, not only would I have missed out on the feathered chain-gang but I would have missed a quick reunion with a dear friend.  Serendipity seemed to be gracing me with its presence.

After getting home, I shared some love with my puppy dog and poured a well-deserved glass of wine.  Callaway was content with her rawhide bone and I was becoming one with the couch when I heard it.  The distinct sound of my dog farting was so loud she scared herself.  She jumped from her comfortable position on the floor to attempt to discover where the sound had come from.  My poise had been shattered.  Once again the laughter took over and several layers of tension began to dissolve.  Twice more, sounds similar to a Howitzer erupted from the back of my dog and she continued to seek out the source of the noise.

Perhaps it wasn’t the perfect ending to a day, but it was what I needed to be able to find the frivolity in life and not sweat the small stuff.  Laughter really can be medicinal.

 

 

 

Until we meet again

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heaven

 (image credit)

When I am overcome by sorrow and surrounded by an outpouring of emotion, the writer in me takes over and helps process the overwhelming feelings by using words.  I cannot express enough gratitude for those words at times when tears and despair are not adequate enough to describe the sadness of attending a funeral for a 30-year-old man who had been experiencing the best year of his life.

In the aftermath of a tragic event, two parents lost a son, a younger brother became an only son and my best friend lost her brother.  The news of his passing was felt in our small town like the shock waves recorded during an earthquake.  Everyone who knew Cam was rattled to their core.  The emotion was raw, the grief was all-encompassing and the anguish could have been described as physical pain.

We gathered in Toronto today to celebrate Cam’s life.  We shared tears, we shared many hugs and we all knew we had lost something special in our lives that we can never get back.  Cam was that guy that everyone loved to be around.  His smile will be forever etched in the memories of those who were fortunate enough to see it and his absence will never go unnoticed.

His funeral service today was a touching blend of spirituality and prayer, accented by a heaping dose of Cam’s sense of humor.  As the family left the service, the well-recognized Monty Python song “Always look on the bright side of life” played while we stood, waiting to join the family outside.

“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”  —Phillip Brooks

Cam truly was a man of character.  May you rest in peace, Cam.

 

Finding a way through life with humor

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robin williams

The recent death of Robin Williams has devastated me.  To me, he was the personification of humor.  There are so many of his roles and movie lines that have been ingrained in my psyche.  They have helped shape the person I have become today and the realization that his humor was a mask for his depression is debilitating.

Perhaps his death has made me look back on my life.  Just maybe his struggle has touched a nerve in my reality that has long been buried.  Depression was never an issue for me but the feeling of inadequacy was certainly in the forefront of my brain as a I struggled through my teenage years.  My sense of humor was a God-send.  It helped me extend myself beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone. It allowed me to engage my peers in a way I felt comfortable.   And it gave me a way to reach out to others with the feeling that I had the safety net of laughter.

Many times the person who is making the jokes is trying to keep the focus as far from reality as possible.  They painstakingly go to great lengths to keep you laughing so you don’t focus on the issues they deal with between the laughs.  They diffuse their reality with comedy but the joke, sadly, is on them.

I go to bed tonight with a heavy heart.  I grieve for the man who could not win the battle against his demons.  I solemnly remember the teenage version of myself who was thankfully able to quell the monsters who lurked in the dark corners of my mind and find more solace in the laughter than perhaps he could.

I can only hope that Robin Williams is finally finding the peace that he so truly deserves.  The world will never be as funny now as it was when he was in it.

(image credit: bu.edu)

 

 

Don’t be offended, but I am not a fan of the Beetles.

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Back in May, I bought a young Birch tree and planted it in my mom’s memory.  The tree is just outside of my living room window and, when we can all find time to get together, my brother, sister-in-law and my nephews are going to come over to place the river rocks around the tree that we collected at her celebration of life.  Each rock contains a word or two that was written by friends and family to share their memories of our mom.

I have been faithfully watering the tree each day and trying to make sure it thrives in its new home.  Recently I had noticed some of the leaves were beginning to yellow.  Upon closer examination, I also discovered the tree has become home to a bug that I have never seen before and this particular creature loves to devour the greenery and skeletonize the foliage.   Had these pests been named John, Paul, George or Ringo I may have been a little more forgiving, but these Japanese Beetles waged a war that I am going to win.

beetles

(image credit: walterspropertyservices.com)

 I diligently tend to my tree at least three times a day to pick these creatures off, one by one, to rid the poor tree of this unnecessary destruction.  Google and the garden center staff seem to agree that this is the most effective way to eradicate these pesky bugs.  I can only hope that I can put an end to them before they put an end to my tree.

On a side note: if anyone is going to Japan in the near future, save some room in your luggage.  I would love to send these iridescent insects packing!!

All the signs point to me getting off my ass…..

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Life has a way of making a point in a very obvious way.   But sometimes the message, although completely apparent to others, escapes our attention until we have time to rearrange the pieces of the puzzle to complete the bigger picture.

In an earlier post, I wrote about showing my work-in-progress to a fellow employee who is a writing student and currently working on two novels of her own.  Her insight gave me the kick in the ass I needed to throw some gasoline on my slow-burning writing fire and ignite the inferno in my brain.  Subsequently, some interesting things have happened since then.

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A guest of our lodge recently published a children’s book with a great message for young people and I have had the good fortune of being able to pick her brain regarding the editing and self-publishing process.  As I was telling her about my story, and lack of illustration, another hotel guest leaned in and told me she was an illustrator.  It was the trifecta of information.  It was as if the stars had aligned precisely for me at that moment and given me the swift kick in the ass my mother used to so eloquently refer to.

It’s time to so something with the words I have crafted.  It’s time to see what an editor has to say and it’s finally time to take the plunge and see if I can market the stories that originated in the far corners of my mind.

If I had to name the signs that appeared to me , they would be called Simon.   And Simon says, get off your ass!

An unfortunate series of events

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Last night I was scanning through the social media sites, surreptitiously wasting precious moments of my life that I won’t get back, and found a collection of pictures on Facebook that I just had to scan through.  The pictures were of some unfortunate puppy dogs who had run into some bees and the photos had been turned into memes.  As much as I felt sympathy for these poor creatures, I was certainly enjoying the humor of those who wrote the accompanying words.

dog-eats-bee-looks-like-goofy(image credit: weknowmemes.com)

 Fast forward to this morning.  I let Callaway out for her usual morning routine.  I have great faith that she will not run out onto the road since she, like me, is a great creature of habit.  When I went out to let her back in, she wasn’t waiting at the door as per her normal behavior.  I stood on my deck and whistled for her and the jingling of her tags came from a direction that was out of her usual territory.

When her front paws landed on the first stair, I saw the bee on Callaway’s back.  I grabbed the towel that was hanging close by and, after the most ungraceful display of heroics, I swatted the bee away.  But I knew it wasn’t the only strike.  Her usual playful entrance to the house was replaced by a sullen walk to her doggy bed where she lay licking her wounds.  There was no waiting for cookies, only a somewhat embarrassed dog attempting to be brave through her tragedy.

The irony of my previous night’s web surfing did not escape me.  I watched the bumps on my poor dog’s body increase in size and tried to console her as much as I could before I left for work.  In a matter of minutes my dog had gone from svelte to lumpy.

I’m glad I live close to my work because I couldn’t stand the worry and came home at 10:30 this morning to make sure she was okay.  Her pride was a little bruised but her physical condition was stable.  There was nothing a bit of love and a few more cookies couldn’t fix.  As I type this post, the swelling is going down and Callaway’s sense of adventure seems to be somewhat diminished…..for now.  She seems to be content to watch the wildlife from inside the house.

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