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img_4887So here’s a question. Do you push in your chair when you get up from the table?

Does the type of table you are getting up from determine whether or not you return the chair to its position tucked under the table?

Do you even have any idea what you do or don’t do with your chair when you get up from the table?

Do you push in your chair when you leave a conference room?

I have been observing. In my heart, I think I am a true people watcher.

Lately, I have been noticing people and their chairs. Weird, I know, but I notice that it is about evenly split, whether one pushes in one’s chair when they leave a table or not. This got me to thinking about the etiquette of pushing in one’s chair and if there was even such a thing.

img_5364I was raised to push my chair in after I got up from the table. Maybe part of it was that our kitchen was also our dining room and there wasn’t much room to spare, so pushing in your chair when you got up was not only polite, but it made sense. With our house, our family pushes in chairs when they get up from the table. The boys were taught that was the proper way to do things, at least at home, although I have personally observed them pushing in their chairs when we are out at dinner. Proud mama moments, they are truly the little things – but I digress. 🙂

I notice that not everyone pushes in his or her chair. In fact, a lot of people don’t push in their chairs. It can be annoying when you get up or try to get up from the table at a restaurant and bump into the chair behind you that wasn’t pushed into the table. At home, it is frustrating when I have to go around and push in chairs if someone doesn’t push in their chair when they get up, things look off, could be OCD on my part, but hey, it’s my house and I like my damn chairs pushed into the table. 😉

So, the question remains, what is the proper etiquette? According to Emily Post, the mother of all things “etiquette”, it is basic table manners to push in one’s chair when one leaves the table. It’s so basic in fact, that it is in categorized in her 1922 etiquette book under the category “The Kindergarten of Etiquette”. Evidently, according to Ms. Post’s rules, a child should not even be allowed to dine at the adult dinner table until the child learns how to pull out and push in his or her chair (along with other basic table manners).

As I investigated even further, modern manners, almost 100 years later, still expect that when you get up from the table, you push in your chair, even if you are just leaving to use the restroom! In fact, just because you are eating your meal at McDonalds and not some fancy five star restaurant doesn’t excuse you from pushing in your chair. You are even expected to push in your chair when you get up from a conference room table at a business meeting. The prevailing thought is that it is just plain ol’ polite and helps to prevent someone else from bumping into or falling over your chair.

Therefore, it appears that we all may have a bit of work to do in the chair pushing in department. Next time you are out and about, be a bit of a people watcher and take notice. Let me know what you find to be the prevailing trend. I’m truly curious.

 

 

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Friends and family often comment that we are lucky to live here. We absolutely are. We are blessed with beautiful views, good friends, wonderful neighbors, good cross country skiing and great fresh air. But we are also stuck with nights like tonight. We decided to head out to a local place for a quick bite. It was not late, but it also wasn’t early. We got to the spot and it was packed. Of course what did we expect? Friday night during ski season in the land of skiing, right in the path of those coming from out of state. It was disappointing to both of us and reminded us that there is a downside that is not always readily apparent to those that come to visit.

Enough of the whining. Now, the upside. We headed home grabbed some frozen beer battered haddock from the Wallingford Locker, made some rice pilaf from scratch with lots of garlic and parsley and had a delicious but quiet dinner at home. When you are in the mood to go out and socialize, as my husband who doesn’t get out all week with work, was – it was disappointing. But we made the best of the situation. And the other upside, was the delicious blueberry turnovers for dessert. Ssshhhh.  Those are the same turnovers I am bringing in the morning for my school board retreat. 🙂fullsizeoutput_6ad4fullsizeoutput_6ad5

Last night was Christmas, all over again. We got tickets from our son for a concert at ArtsRiot in Burlington. It was a lovely evening. We had dinner with some of our favorite young adults, walked over to the concert venue on Pine Street and settled in for a nice musical evening. We were not disappointed. The entire concert was an acoustic event. The opening act was a Burlington singer/songwriter named Henry Jamison. He was wonderful. If you have not heard of him or his music, take a listen here. If you have the opportunity to see him near you, I would recommend it highly.

The main act was a Maine singer/songwriter called Lady Lamb. Another acoustic performance. While we were not all that familiar with her music beforehand, by the size of the crowd and the sold out show, Burlington was definitely familiar with her. A great performance. It was a very nice night of lots of great music, evidence that a gift of experiences trumps a gift of things.

It was also evidence of the small world we live in. Another couple asked to share our large half moon booth, to which we gladly agreed. Turns out, she was a Mill River graduate who was very familiar with our little corner of Vermont. The four of us had a great conversation waiting on the concert to start. It was a lovely evening on many fronts.

 

I love the ocean but probably not for the same reasons that other people love the ocean. I think that it is relaxing and mesmerizing. I love the sound of the waves connecting with the beach. Looking out over the ocean it is very hard to feel full of yourself or sorry for yourself, because you are so insignificant in the great scheme of things. The ocean is humbling. Looking out over the vast expanse of the ocean it is hard to imagine that I count much and that my problems or worries or concerns are all that important to anyone but me. It reminds me not to take myself too seriously or to stress too much over things which are really not that important. The ocean is powerful; it doesn’t care who you are or where you fit into this world. All the money and power in the world cannot save someone who is caught in its fury or is disrespectful to its power. The ocean is a reminder that life is precious and short and can be swept away in the blink of an eye.  Life is something to be cherished and enjoyed.

I am going to preface this post with a simple disclaimer statement – Everything is fine, I am happy, all is well. I don’t want friends or family who might read this to think that I might have gone off the deep end or I’m not telling them something. If you’ll notice, there is a category listing for all the posts I write and one is labeled “Musings”. This post is merely that – put in type if you will.

Sundial with the motto
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, so now that that’s all cleared up…. Today, in between working, writing and making jam (yes I did all three of those things for bursts much like running wind sprints I guess) I was taxing kids (or in TJ’s case, being taxied by a kid) and the radio was on. The band Thriving Ivory has a song Angels on the Moon and one line in the chorus states “Don’t tell me if I’m dying ’cause I don’t want to know”. It struck a chord, began the gears of the mind churning and the end result is this post. Would you want to know?

Interesting question. I guess that from the adult responsible standpoint, yes so that your affairs could be put in order. I guess that from the personal standpoint, yes again so that I could make a point to spend as much time with my husband and sons, my family and friends and enjoy the time remaining to its fullest, not wasting any of it.

As a side note, if you haven’t read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, you should. You can also watch it on YouTube. Bring lots of Kleenex with you- you’ll need it whether you’re reading the book or watching the lecture videotape.  He learned that he was dying of pancreatic cancer and wrote his Last Lecture giving advice, information and mostly importantly sharing life thoughts and impressions with his young children who he hoped would one day hear the lecture. He died three years ago and he was as old as I am now. I recently read that his oldest son, who is only 8 years old has taken up the cause of fighting for a cure for pancreatic cancer.

I guess that what got me thinking about that line was the thought that shouldn’t we all live our lives as if it is our last day? Carpe Diem – seize the day (although that’s not the actual translation, but that’s another post). Spend time with those that we love, surround ourselves with our family and friends, be nice and the most famous of the sayings “don’t put off until tomorrow that which you could do today”. Tomorrow for all of us will someday not come, whether we know the end is coming by slowing trudging toward us or  it jumps out of a corner and snatches us away suddenly and without warning. In any event, I think it’s good advice.

Carpe Diem … Enjoy.

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