Saturday, January 31, 2009

Etiquette: Lesson 1

I am a southern girl, through and through. I loves me some crazy sweet tea and, yes, I like grits. Preferably with some good, crispy bacon crumbled in them. I was raised by a southern girl, as was she and so on, I suppose, back to when there weren't so much "southern" girls as much as, maybe, "Puritans." 

I was sent to a White Gloves and Party Manners class at some point but Mom carefully wove in etiquette lessons in daily life, where, I suppose, it would be instilled long-term. I wanted to share a few items today, both for the next generation and also for the current generation not raised by Emily Post herself. This one's for the ladies - boys, I'll have to catch you at another time.

1.  When seated, cross your legs at the ankle, not the knee.
2.  When smoking, always have your fingers on the cigarette and don't ever let it just dangle from your lips, unattended.
3.  When donning a coat or piece of outerwear, button it from the bottom up.
4.  When seated (again with the sitting), dip legs down so thighs are not completely parallel to the floor and press knees together as if holding an imaginary powder puff between them. (This would have come in handy for this gal who ruined an otherwise delightful set of pictures taken at a recent party I attended.)
5.  Regardless of what else you have (or don't have) going on with you, put a little lipstick on before heading out.

Now, this advice stemmed from a different time so #2 is kind of defunct but the rest is still applicable. So, go out and prosper and do it in style.

Friday, January 30, 2009

How to End the World: A Step-by-Step Guide

This is something that has both perplexed me and cultivated post-9/11. Since the bad guys came over here, we've seemingly been more on guard. Looking over our shoulder. More, let's say, observant. But what happens when that observance tips and we become our own worst enemy? This one's for you, media. Listen up.

Occasionally, both on national and local news, they'll run a story that goes something like this:

"In three days, we'll be ushering in a new president and a new era. Security will be tight. Except at the corner of Lexington and 53rd. That's where two one way streets converge and it's hard to get good security at that intersection. And, yes, the presidential motorcade will be passing through there."


"We're on Super Orange Alert right now. Homeland Security is keeping a close eye on both DisneyWorld and the Superbowl, where tens of thousands of people will be concentrated in one small area. With this extra attention on these two places, the country's water supply is being left largely unattended right now. Back to you, Bob, in the control room."

I just think this is blatant negligence. Do we assume terrorists aren't watching TV? I think they've proven crafty if nothing else these past eight years. This is one instance where I'm willing to assume.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Opening Comments

This past weekend, we visited the arena downtown to take in the circus. It was a brisk, chilly morning and, after hiking from our parking space to the arena and arriving just a few minutes before they officially opened the doors, we were grateful to see they were allowing us to enter the 1st set of exterior doors and stave off the cold prior to the opening of the interior ones. With appx. 100-150 fellow circus attendees, we patiently stood and waited, all the while, enjoying the warmth of being inside and away from the wind and chill. Then more people gathered. We squoze in some more. Then more people. And then, we started feeling little blasts of cold air around our necks and ankles. I finally turned to look and the crowd had grown large enough to prevent everyone outside from coming in so the pivotal link in our human chain was standing in the door, propping it open.

This is a phenomenon I want to share with the masses. Have you seen this done out in public? Are you one of the ones who does it? I just need help in understanding why someone who does this thinks this is OK. Like Saturday, did it not occur to the woman holding the door that she was letting all of the warm air out or the cold air in and that she was inconveniencing 150+ people rather than just one (herself)? The only thing I have been able to ascertain is that people will do anything - regardless of how annoying - to prevent being left out in the cold.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes We Can

We're going to be hearing a lot this week about a few new faces in Washington D.C. but I thought this would be an appropriate time to remember how this whole thing got started and remember some brave individuals who dreamed and believed in a better way of life. One that we, their descendants, would enjoy some 200+ years later. Thank you, ancestors.

From the Haleakala Times (July 2000):

What happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died.  Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army.  One had two sons captured.  Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners - men of means, well-educated.  But they signed the Declaration of Indepenence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Baxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKen was so hounded by the Bristish that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.  He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding.  His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals and soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walkton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.  A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.  These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians.  They were soft-spoken men of means and education.  They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged:  "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They gave us a free and independent America. The history books never told you about what happened in the Revolutionary War.  We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties for granted, but we shouldn't.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How Tourists Annoy People: Part 1

In travels, we seek the added benefit and savings of a hotel that offers a good breakfast spread downstairs in the morning. After years of traveling, though, and dozens of different places, faces and varying degrees of food quality, I've observed a repeat offense that seem to transcend all locations and price tags. The next time you're down in a hotel lobby partaking of a continental spread in the morning, take a look around. Undoubtedly, you'll find an adult - defined as someone age 18 or older - in their pajamas.

Now it's one thing when a toddler is parading around in footed jammies, a sagging diaper and requesting a "biz-kwit" from his mother. It's entirely different when it's a 40-year-old woman wearing plaid, flannel bottoms, a loose fitting t-shirt and slippers.

Although most hotels encourage you to make yourself at home, it doesn't mean you have to dress the part. It would take little more effort to slip whatever you wore the night before on and, in the case of one fella this morning at my hotel, a baseball hat, before you slide down to the buffet.

Dress for success people. Even if you are just doing some sightseeing afterwards.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Timing is Everything

A wise man I know once broke down punctuality like this:

"Early is on time; on time is late; late is unacceptable."

I'm aggravated that we, as a society, don't seem to value time as much as we once did. Weddings and movies and even flights now get started late because some yahoo is running behind. And the kicker is that we more punctual folks are the ones who are punished.

I had a boss once who, in five years, never arrived anywhere on time. He claimed it was a genetic defect. The rest of us had our own theories. I think sometimes it's as innocent as a character flaw or simple oversight, maybe poor planning. But in some cases, I really do think it's a rude, insolent, power trip kind of move. "Let me show you how important I am and how unimportant you are."

All this to say, please try to be on time. I've been late. Certainly. And I will be again. But I do honestly try to make a habit of being on time, even maybe a little early. It just takes a little planning.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My New Favorite Bible Verse

My old standby has been:

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

But, thanks to a friend and a random t-shirt she saw, THIS is my new favorite:

2 Kings 2:23-24
"From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths."

Name Game

Well, much like URLs, blog names are now a hot commodity. They're all taken! I was shocked to find that these already existed when trying to set mine up the other day:

- Hambone 'n Flippy
- Hambone
- Puddin' Tain (simma down, it's an old Scottish nursery rhyme*)

So while driving, I came up with a few, non-sensical ones and decided that the first one available, boom, that would be mine.

Welcome to Pigs n' Buttons.

*It is a play on the name of an Irish high chief who was known as the Tain with his specific name in front of it. The Puddin' Tain was someone of not royal status but someone who had pretentions and was deridded with the name high King of the Puddings. Later it became a Children's rhyme of Scots-Irish origin.

What's your name?
Puddin' Tain.
Ask me again and I'll tell you the same.