Monday, March 30, 2015

Horrible Dinner, Twitter Lies!


Hubs requested spaghetti for dinner on Sunday. With the warmer weather coming on, I wasn't in the mood to eat spaghetti...to be completely honest, I also didn't want to cook it. I've read many glowing tweets about an Italian restaurant in the metro area so I suggested we have dinner there and he was up for an adventure.

Disclaimer - The beautiful picture below looks exactly like the food my Italian Nana cooked for me and sadly, bares no resemblance to the dinner we were served.


Fettuccine al Ragu by Ivan Vighetto, via Creative Commons
Following the robot-voiced Google Maps lady, we drove nearly 30 miles to our destination. The restaurant was tucked away in an older part of town so I totally expected a hole-in-the-wall dining experience. When we walked into the main dining room, we seated ourselves as instructed by the dingy chalkboard. As we chose our table, I heard the server reciting drink options to the table behind us; tea, sweet tea, Coke, etc. (On our drive home, we compared notes and Hubs agreed he heard the same thing) When the server came to our table, I happily ordered sweet tea with lemon and was quickly told that they don't serve sweet tea. Hmmm, okay water for me please. I noticed a college kid sitting by the window with a heaping plate of fettuccine alfredo; he seemed more interested in his phone than his dinner -- at the time that didn't seem unusual.

We placed our orders; spaghetti for Hubs, me the sampler plate. Based on the Twitter reviews, I wanted to try it all! We started off with the cheesy bread with marinara dipping sauce and the kid by the window still hadn't eaten his pasta.

As we waited for our entrees, we made excuses for the lackluster cheesy bread and the kid still hadn't eaten his pasta. I noticed a half-dead plant, propped up in the other corner by the window, looking as if it were trying to escape. A crippled fig tree sagged in the center of the room, suffocating below an exposed, circular, industrial air vent. I assume the vent was responsible for the blanket of dust that the tree wore like a dirty, cotton candy sweater.

Our server refilled Hubs' glass twice, left mine on the table, both times. The kid by the window continued to concentrate on his phone as the bill came. He paid his tab, leaving the mound of pasta behind. I thought to myself, damn...if a college kid won't even eat this fettuccine alfredo, I wish I hadn't made it part of my sampler plate.

The rest of our meal was miserable. The pasta sauces, no better than the jarred stuff you buy at Walmart. The garlic toast that came with the meal almost broke my tooth. The pasta, not drained properly, created a bloody-looking pool on the bottom of my plate - I was done.

As we drove home, I ranted about what a lousy experience that was; I was passionately indignant. Hubs hadn't noticed many of the details that I angrily recalled. He wasn't bothered by the laminated drink menu sticking to our hands. He didn't care about the relentless dragging of the cook's filthy black tennis shoes as he served the table in front of us. He didn't even see the dirty, cotton candy tree sweater! We discussed our expectations and perceptions when we eat out...our differences so telling of us as a couple.

We contemplated the greasy spoon joints that we both love, despite their less than pristine accommodations. We decided that as long as the food's good, we can overlook things like sawdust on the floor or spotty service. The following exchange was my favorite part of our conversation.

Me: How can a place like that stay open for 25 years!? Why do so many people love that?!

Him: I don't know...it's mostly college kids I bet.

Me: Doesn't anyone else care about things like the sticky menus? I should be a restaurant critic.

Him: I wish they would've put meat in the marinara sauce, that chicken was...

Me:  Am I just an overly critical bitch?!

Him: That could be true.

I whipped my head around to find him grinning, blushing a little bit. God love him, he tells me the truth and I can't argue with that. We laughed, chalked the meal up to experience and finished some Sunday errands. The night was saved when he found a copy of the movie "Highlander" for less than $5 - I've been looking for it for months.

We had a horrible dinner, Twitter lies! And it might be a while before we eat spaghetti again.

Love,

Rose Marie B, Customer Experience Consultant 














Friday, March 20, 2015

Kindness Blooming, My Oklahoma Springtime

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and this post is inspired by Kat Bouska's Writer's Workshop. Click her badge in my sidebar and go read some great blogs! If you're new to my blog or forgot I had a blog, you need to know that I believe Springtime is the BEST time. And yes I capitalize Springtime - it deserves a capital S, just like Superman's chest. The earth comes back to life in the Spring; I worship the sunshine, I crave greenness. The Bradford pear trees bloom beautifully (but stink to high heaven), the daffodils rise with their sweet, yellow faces turned toward the east at sunrise and at the end of April the Monarch butterflies migrate through Oklahoma. These are the things I look forward to the most each Spring...except for the Bradford pear stench, but it's still a small price to pay for such loveliness.


This Spring there's another thing blooming...kindness. In my online community, themes of kindness keep appearing and I'm snatching up every opportunity to participate and encourage it in any form possible.
The official logo for the #OklahomaStandard
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing with a host of activities, including the OKC marathon, the annual Remembrance Ceremony, and free admission to the newly renovated museum on April 19th. What's special about this year's events is the Oklahoma Standard commitment.
“People went out of their way to share everything they had to make it comfortable for the rescue workers, the firefighters, anyone who was there to help. This became known as the Oklahoma Standard.”     Frank Keating, Former Governor of Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Standard commitment is exquisite in its simplicity. During the month of April, you commit to perform one act of service, honor and kindness. I invite anyone that reads this post to join me. You don't have to live in Oklahoma City; devote your honor, kindness and service right where you are.

My act of honor this April will be the same as it is every year on the 19th; I visit the Oklahoma City Memorial, to simply reflect and remember. I wrote about it in 2013 and sadly that year, Oklahoma City shared a common heartache with Boston. My service act for this April will be my volunteer work with the Kids Marathon and I'm really excited about that!

Another kindness project that piqued my interest this Springtime comes from a wheel chair in North Carolina. The wheel chair driver is Chris Rosati and his project is called the little BIGG Grant Campaign. (BIGG = Big Ideas for the Greater Good) You may have seen Chris, the founder of Inspire Media Network, on the news recently. Chris' first project involved giving away free Krispy Kreme donuts - you love him already, don't ya?

He is an exceptional human who, despite his diagnosis of ALS, is determined to spread kindness and encourage others to do the same. The BIGG campaign page says "You have the ability to change the world with just one act of kindness" and I couldn't agree more.  Here's the Steve Hartman interview with Chris from CBS Sunday Morning...I hope you're equally inspired.

                                

I love the butterfly symbolism. I adore the kids' creativity. I admire Chris's devotion to living his life in such a proactive and productive way. I'm humbled by his example and the excruciating job that living his life must be sometimes.

Chris is a leader in this grass-roots kindness movement, teaching by example the empathy we should feel for our neighbors. THIS is what we need to instill in future generations. By empowering our children with the ability to make a difference in the lives of others, mankind wins. With this in mind, I donated $20 to help fund a child's BIGG plan for kindness.

Monarch In May, by Kenneth Dwain Harrelson via Creative Commons

Thanks to a Facebook share from my friend Kelly, my third #OKStandard project for Springtime is planting seeds. Doesn't sound too fancy does it? But these are milkweed seeds and the plants they become will support the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. I've ordered $20 worth of milkweed seeds (1,000 seeds total) to plant in my yard.

Before you start laughing hysterically - because you know I'm NOT a gardener in any way, shape or form - I've requested that half my order be delivered to school children. So 500 seeds, I can do this! The Monarchs are losing their habitat, especially as they migrate through the United States from Mexico. We MUST take action or the whole species could perish in our lifetime. By planting the seeds, I'm sharing my kindness with Mother Earth. I can't bear the thought of my grand kids or great grand kids missing the magic of Monarch butterflies fluttering on the Springtime winds of Oklahoma. If you'd like to join this crusade, please visit Live Monarch.com for all the details.

What are your plans for April? You don't have to spend a dime to share your heart. We each have a special gift that the world needs. All you have to do is flap your wings.

Happy Spring!

Rose Marie B(utterfly)