Dec 30

No matter….

People always write cutesy lessons they learned from their dogs… or their cats.

But really… they are full of practical tips.

 

No matter how cute you are… licking your butt in public is never a good idea.

If you break anything in the house… try hard to blame it on a cat.

It is fun to chase a squirrel.  IT is SO much fun to chase a squirrel.  It is fun to chase the squirrels.

If you chase your tail too long, you will get dizzy and fall down.  The cat will laugh.

Don’t lick your butt in public.   No matter how cute you are.

 

“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” – Roger Caras

Dec 28

Rusty bolts.

What the crap.

I try to stay centered.  You know, at my age, I have found that it doesn’t pay off to get all riled up.  When you get your underwear all in a bunch… it doesn’t really feel bad to anyone but yourself. I work on spiritual focus.  Meditation.  All of that.

But snap-dabbit.  Sometimes…. the littlest thing makes you want to SHOUT.  And… it could be anything really.

For instance. That person who stops their cart, in the middle of the aisle of the grocery store.  Yes, they park it solid…. right there… blocking all shopping traffic.  And they begin to read the back of every box of elbow macaroni on the shelf.

“Holy Smackerels… you Doltish Shopper.  It is ELBOW MACARONI for crying out loud.  What the holy-heck is there to read on the back of the box?   Throw the gosh darn box in the freaking cart already.  Get a Kindle, you schmuck.”

And there.  Just like that.  It has happened.  I lost my cool.  I got off center.  I drop-kicked the Zen right out the dang window.  Like that.  The cloud of impatience and testiness stops right above my head… and starts raining down on me.

Irascible Me.

Tonight I had a revelation…. finally… the reason for my emotional misdirections.

It seems that I am “Always On A Mission.”  Yep.  Like a little robot.  I get focused on the job to be done… ….. a task … a to-do … an endeavor … a list.  I get programmed like a little robot.  Clinkity, clinkity, clank.  I grab it like a dog with a bone.  And if I am on my way to completing this little deal… I feel better when it can be finished without interruption to my book of maps and diagrams and plans.

But the way of the universe is this:  The more you want things to go exactly as planned… for all the ducks to stay in row… for the crayon marks to stay between the lines…. Kapow.  Derailed.  Diverted.  Rerouted.

This is when the phrase “go with the flow” comes in handy.  But as a robot… the only flow I know… is rigid flow-chart.

Ahhh.  I don’t know if I will ever get it right.  I keep trying.  Patience.  Focus.  Compassion.  Kindness. The whole shebang.   But I drop the ball from time to time. From time to time to time. Too many times.  Dang it.

So, as a robot.  I better keep my oil can ready.  It is liable to rain again.

 

“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. – George Bernard Shaw

Dec 26

Try less.

The fact of the matter is… we will all miss a ton of things in this life. You will miss a bunch.  I will miss a bunch. But here is the long and short of it is this.  It is okay.

We all can get very consumed with trying to do everything.  Keep up with this.  Don’t miss that.  We try to experience all of it…. participate in every little thing ….and not miss out on anything important.

Here is a big truth about life.  A simple little fact, really.   We cannot experience everything. There exists a physical reality  which dictates this truth.   We’ll miss most things. To do it all is clearly impossible.

But the key is, I think…. that……  life is better when we don’t try to do everything.

We might see and hear and learn things that we were too busy to notice.  Perhaps we will have time to experience a life we’ve been rushing right by.  We might begin to notice some things about life which turn out to be quite amazing, and wonderful.

Like woodpeckers.  On frozen suet blocks.  In a blizzard.

No.  We can’t do it all.

And that’s the way it should be.  Just so long as we take the time to do it right.

 

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West

Dec 23

How you roll….

Some people remind me of wagon wheels.  They do.  They seem to have this incredibly strong core…. an inner circle.  And from that very sturdy center… branches a number of spokes… or arms… that reach out and connect to an outer circumference.  As that wheel turns, the outer rim comes in contact with a very wide area.  Every time it moves, it touches a something different.  Some people are like that, I think.

I learned today of woman… SarahBreedoveGlass who was born …. on this date…. in 1867.  Her parents,   Owen and Minerva Breedlove were recently freed slaves.  Yes.  The Civil War had just ended when Sarah was born.   She was one of six children.  She had a sister…. Louvenia and four brothers… Alexander, James, Solomon, and Owen, Jr.
Her parents and elder siblings were slaves on Madison Parish plantation…. which was in Louisiana.   All of this was owned by a white man named Robert W. Burney .
When Sarah was about five years old… her mother died from cholera.  Her father died shortly there after.  So… the impoverished, illiterate little girl moved to Vicksburg in 1878 to obtain work.  She moved in with her sister, and brother-in-law.  As it turns out… her brother-in-law was very abusive.  So Sarah married at age 14…. a man named Moses McWilliams to escape the abuse.  They had a daughter, Lelia …. and when  Lelia was only two years old, McWilliams died.

So…. this is just the very first segment of Sarah Breedlove Walker’s life.  I would venture to say that by the time she was 16 years of age…..  Sarah had been through an ordeal or two.

Yet… Sarah Breedlove Walker went on to build the largest black-owned business in America.  She made a fortune… in fact…. she was the first African-American woman millionaire.  In addition to all of this, she touched thousands with her philanthropy.
Of all things….Breedlove found her future in beauty products. She learned valuable lessons at the elbow of a black role model, Annie Turnbo Malone, who sold her shampoos and hair-pressing irons to crowds in St. Louis for the 1904 World’s Fair.  She had also become inspired by a book she read about the potential successes of Black Americans.  It was written by one… Booker T. Washington.

There are a blue million other great stories about her life… and how she made her way.  Not only did she seem to figure out how to make her own mark on life, she managed to touch others with her generosity, hard work, and character.    She used the successes of her business as a means to  contribute to African American orphanages, old-age homes, schools, colleges, and a new civil rights organization, the NAACP. Walker became one of the best-known women in America.

Yep… like a wagon wheel I think.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” – Jackie Robinsman

Dec 20

Just Go.

Oh me oh me oh my.

My brain gets the spin wobbles, and it starts to wonder all over again.

Tonight, the things that crossed my noggin.

I wonder who made the color green equivalent to GO. Red got saddled with the definitive…. STOP. And, yellow brings the caution… depending on the driver.  In some cases, when people see yellow… they throw caution to the wind… slam the gas pedal to the floor… and fly through the intersection.  Which makes yellow a bit ambiguous.  I think.

While we are on THAT subject… since Green means GO… could that be why dogs pee when they see grass?  But, what about red fire hydrants?  They will just pee all over the basic red fire hydrant.

Okay… here is another.

You know how hair starts growing on our bodies when we hit puberty, yes?  In places it never grew before.  So, let us focus for a moment on armpit hair.  I wonder… I wonder… why we don’t have “behind-the-knee” hair… like in our armpits?

Speaking of Teens.  The English number system is whacked out when you get to the “teens” if you ask me.  For instance, why isn’t 11 pronounced onety one.  And so on…. 12… onety two?

One more, and then I will quit it.

On today’s date, in 1879…. Thomas Alva Edison privately demonstrated his incandescent light.  He did this at Menlo Park,  in New Jersey.  I wonder who all was there.  I wonder if they all said…. Ooooooooo.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Mostly,  I wonder how many scientists it takes to screw in a light bulb?  Not really… that’s easy.

Two.  One to hold the lightbulb, the other to turn the universe.

So, as we step toward tomorrow, with the Mayan Calendar lurking on horizon…. maybe it isn’t about the end of the world as we know it.  Maybe it is more about a new beginning.

If we all give it a nudge… all of us… perhaps we can turn the universe a little bit.  Each one of us.  In our own way… in a good direction.

 

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”  – Albert Einstein

 

“Those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.”  – George Bernard Shaw

Dec 19

Troll Alert

Well, it would appear that I have been away for a little while.  Ah, but appearances aren’t everything, now are they?  I have not been gone at all.  Just displaced.

Okay, maybe not displaced, but diverted.  Yes, diverted I think it is.  In a good way.  Yet tonight, I feel like telling a story.

Once upon a time….

Well, holy crap, right there… already.  “Once Upon A Time????”  What the heck kind of introduction is that?  I never start stories with once upon a time.  Let me have a do over.

There was a cow.  Named Melvin.  He lived in a field, with all the other cows.  Melvin was a beef cow.  Yeah. Not good for Mel, in the end.  But all in all, he had a pretty decent life.  He lived on a good farm… lots of room to roam, and graze.  On Saturday nights, he and the other cows would get together in the north pasture and break dance, drink fruit punch, and eat sugar cookies.  Happy Cows.

On a Tuesday……. I think it was…  Melvin was out grazing with his buddy Bug-Eye Louie.  He was about to bite of a clump of grass, when all of a sudden he heard a little voice.  “Hey!  Watch it! Will ya’ bud?”

Melvin mooed with surprise?  Now, what in the world was this?  He looked down, and there before him, was a little band of Skidgenmites.  For those of you who don’t know, Skidgenmites… prounounced Skidgenmites…..  are little teeny beings… about one-and-three-quarters inches high.  They resemble Smurfs… without the white hats.   Skidgenmites actually don’t have the white little disco pants that Smurfs wear either.  And they aren’t blue in color.  They are a light purple.  Okay, come to think of it…. they don’t look like Smurfs at all.

Anyway.  The King  of the Skidgenmites called out to Melvin… “Good sir.  Don’t you fear the dreaded Troll Highmakkin?”

Melvin replied, “Nope.”

“Oh, for goodness sakes.  That old Troll… we call that ugly Troll “High” for short…  … ..High will gobble you up in a minute.”

Melvin again answered…”I have never noticed a troll in these parts before.”

“Well, beware!” King of the Skidgenmites yelled.

The next day, Melvin was out grazing again.  On a Wednesday. He was about to chomp a clod of grass…. when out jumped a little ugly-to-the-bone Troll.  The Troll was about eight inches high.  Comparatively small to a cow.  But much, much larger to a Skidgenmite.

Melvin stood quietly. Then.  The reality began to unfold.  He could faintly hear…… a little voice.  He leaned down… closer to the Troll… and listened.  The noise seemed to be coming from High’s belly.

All at once, it became painfully clear to Melvin what had happened.  The Troll had, in fact,  gobbled down the Skidgenmites.     All of them.  He heard the voice once again….  little Skidgenmites calling out…..

“High Ate Us.  High Ate Us.”

Hiatus.

And there you have it.

“A hidden connection is stronger than an obvious one.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus

Dec 10

Sleepless… because.

The things you overhear.  I’ll tell you.

At a recent party, I heard a couple of people…. talking about the “scary” nature of movies today.  The ones that are paranormal, or futuristic, or just plain scary.

They were saying that kids today are exposed to all of these chilling and frightening media outlets.  Movies.  Games. TV.  And this was to blame for the degradation of society.

Maybe.  But personally… I think we started down the slippery slope with Barney, the Purple Dinosaur.

Anyways…… I started thinking about the things I was “exposed to” as a child.  And the first thing that sprang to mind was my early problems with insomnia.  I think it was a direct result of what I had to stare at in my bedroom every single night when I was a kid.

There was this terribly sinister and alarming clown figure.  And then this… very creepy doll.

Sometimes, my Mom would put the doll, or the clown… in my bed at night.

I don’t know what all of this means. But somehow… I think … this may explain an awful lot.  An awful, awful lot.

 

“The simplest explanation is that it doesn’t make sense.” – William Buechner

Dec 09

Light it up….

Everybody loves the part of the birthday party when the cake comes out.  Oh, that icing-slathered-sugary-creation is laden with glowing candles… while teams of people sing well-wishes in a swirl of melodic mishaps.

But who the heck ever decided we do it this way?

I mean… how come this tradition didn’t end up being the “Group Birthday Head Stand”… or the  “Birthday Bell Ringing Ceremony”…. or perhaps… if you want it food related… “The Birthday Brussel Sprout Melee” ?

Well.  Leave it to the Greeks and the Germans to shape our ways…. AGAIN.

It turns out…. the history of cakes and candles began in Ancient Greece.   You see, those old Greeks baked up some neato round cakes to honor Artemis, the goddess of the moon.

They often decorated those little spherical delights with either one lit candle or many…..to represent the glow of the moon. Now, this was a pretty nifty ceremony.  But the cerebral motives fell to the ever-powerful-tummy.  Overtime, people began to make cakes and eat them for their yummy-in-the-tummy taste….. and not so much to honor Artemis… beautiful goddess of the Moon.

Yet… the very first BIRTHDAY cake was believed to have been made in Germany…. during the middle ages. Yep.  During those Dark Middle Ages… the Germans used the cake to celebrate the birthdays of young children.  They named this celebration the Kinderfest.

That old birthday cake didn’t stop there.  During the 17th century things got much more elaborate…. with the introduction  of icing, layers, and decorations. And the rest… as they say… is history.

These days… the birthday cake may come out looking like Spiderman, or the Incredible Hulk.  It could be flat like a brick, or layered like fountain.  Fancy or plain.  But the appearance makes no difference.

The intention remains the same.

A celebration of life.

Today, I went to a birthday party.  And it was… a very grand party indeed.  The birthday of a person who shines… not like the moon… but more like the sun.  Her goodness warms those around her.  And tonight, as the cake was cut… I knew those Greeks got it right.  Yes.  A wonderful way to celebrate life.

And……let’s face it.   The Birthday Brussel Spout just wouldn’t have done the job.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James