Dec 30

It could happen….

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faith
noun
1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something: this restores one’s faith in politicians.
2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
• a system of religious belief: the Christian faith.
• a strongly held belief or theory: the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe.

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There are a lot of different kinds of faith. But, this topic seems to have come up for me, more than once this past week. The question of having faith in something or someone….

But tonight I had a very philosophical discussion concerning different beliefs in the world and spirituality.

Here are a few of my personal observations of this life existence.

Some people are very religious.
Some people are very spiritual.
Some people are both.
Some people are one, and not the other.
Some people are neither.

There are those who believe in a god, or a higher power.
Those who do not. And those who think it might be a little of both.

So.

Who is right?

Well…. I for one… just don’t know for sure. I also postulate that none of us can really KNOW for sure. (That is why the people who believe in a god… are said to have faith.)

I am not sure how it is, that one person, or group of people… …. then… …can be absolutely “right” about their religious beliefs. If that person knows for sure… and can pass judgement on others…. they are much smarter and more powerful than the rest of us….  I’d have to say.   Way smarter than I am…. at least.  That much I know.

I…. for one …..would not want this distinction… nor this responsibility. Nope.

Which brings me to the next good definition for the night…..

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benefit of the doubt
phrase | noun
1 a favorable judgement given in the absence of full evidence.
2 to decide you will believe someone or something

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I like that phrase. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt…most of the time. (Oh. I like to be right.  I am very flawed that way.  But I trust people an awful lot too.)   I think the world would probably be a better place…. overall…. if we trusted each other just a little more than we do. To believe in each other… and have faith in one another…

It might be good…. not to discount others… just because they think differently than we do.  But perhaps to learn and grow from them. Instead of always thinking “I am right.  And you are wrong”…. every once in a while… saying…
“Hmmmm. It could happen.” OR “That is a possibility.”

We can’t all know it all. In fact… as I sit and write… I am reminded that I don’t know much at all.

“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
– Oscar Wilde

Dec 29

Just don’t call me late for dinner.

I miss nicknames.

When I was a kid… we had nicknames for everyone. Well… just about. It was really a term of endearment… no matter how rotten the nickname.

Stinky Atherton is the first one that comes to mind. Not the greatest epithet.  But we all liked Stinky.

In my little circle of friends… I was Krony.  I guess I’ve kinda’ held on to that one a little.  But there was Krony, Tuck, Strit, Mick…. and more. Sometimes it would just be there person’s last name… like Snyder, or Quinn. It just doesn’t seem like we used our first names all that much.

Yep. I loved nicknames.

My family called me Cec growing up… pronounced “cease”…. because of my middle name.

I was the youngest of seven kids. When we’d get a neighborhood game of touch football going in the street… things would get confusing.  All my brothers’ and sisters’ friends called them “Krony” too.  So there was a lot of “Hey Krony… throw it over here.”   And on.

But nicknames were fun.  It perpetuated a sense of camaraderie….. the feeling that there was an “inside joke” or a secret handshake.

Jim Bullen Sr., (Mary’s dad….I think he was the senior)… was the master of nicknames. I think he mostly did it because he had a hard time remembering people’s real names. Bonzo. Bongos. Pal. Buddy. Chumbo. You name it… he might call you by it….

Which brings to mind another thing.  How come when somebody is the ‘the senior’… no one uses the nickname “Senior”…..  but if you are the first born ‘junior’… people WILL call you “Junior”??

I see people on Facebook who had nicknames their whole lives… but now they go by their more refined birth names. I know at least 3 Missy’s from childhood…. who are now… Melissa.

I had a few different nicknames throughout my life… like… Bullseye, Ohio, Copper, and Sheriff. Krony was persistent through the years.

But my point is… as adults… we need to bring the nickname back. I think it would keep us less serious about everything. People get too stressed these days.

Like… if you are eating out… and the waitress is terrible…. I think it is easier to be upset with her if her name tag says “Debbie”… than if it  said….. maybe….. “Skippy”. Who could be ticked off with someone named Skippy?

I would label some of my current friends with the following titles… in no particular order…. Plucky, Finster, Thumbs, Slowboat, Toto, Volley, Buzz, Neon, Nails… oh….. just a few.

Yep… the grand old NICKNAME.   Let’s bring ’em back.

But don’t call us….. we’ll call you.

Oh, and I just remembered this. I was on the girls’ swim team growing up. One year we got a new coach who acted like she knew everything. Her name was Claire Buoyant.

Most of the time… she just liked to float around the pool.  So everybody called her Bob.

Dec 28

Up the learning ladder.

Today, we took my Mom & Dad to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute. After the art, we ate dinner out at Tumbleweed’s Restaurant.  Not only did they make us wait a very long time for our meal…. they presented to us some a very disappointing imposters…. masked as buritos, burgers, and chicken.  But… back at the museum.

Mom & Dad are 90. Not collectively. Each.   After walking through the art show, my Pop commented…”I sure did learn a lot today, about Norman Rockwell and his paintings. Things I never knew before.”

And there you have it.

When I am 90…. I would like to be found sauntering through Art Exhibits… and still learning things. How awesome is that?

But when you think about it….. there is an awful lot…… about a big flipping lot…. that we don’t know. Hard as I try… I will never be able to figure it all out….. but it is fun trying. I read a news report this morning which state that only 55% of all Americans know that the sun is a star. Youch. Somebody light a candle.

So in the spirit of learning… I thought I would mention a few little dollops of trumpery here tonight.

Q is the only letter in the alphabet that does not appear in the name of any of the United States.  I think we need one more state.  We’ll call it Quaddle…. or something.

The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards. And… that little crazy bird… manages to keep her weight down…. to less than a penny. Have you heard of a penny for your thoughts? Hopefully they weigh more than the hummingbird.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Hera spilled her breast milk after refusing to feed Heracles. What is said to have been the result of that incident? The Milky Way. Now this one bothers me. There are an awful lot of things named after the Milky Way… one of them being a very popular… and delicious candy bar.

Rhode Island, the smallest state, has a larger population than Alaska, the largest state. BUT, you can’t see Russia from Rhode Island.

A dragonfly has a lifespan of 24 hours. Sad, but true.
The Galapagos tortoise has the longest lifespan of any animal, up to 200 years.  Diet and exercise I’ll tell you.  Diet and exercise.

To this day there are still 3 golf balls on the moon.

There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar. (I will not list the various ways here…. Buddy, can you spare a dime?)

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite. I would think airlines would quit giving out peanuts on plane rides. Maybe they have.

Some Ribbon Worms will eat themselves if they can’t find any food. Dumb, hungry worm. I vote for an official name change.

The average American drinks about 600 sodas a year. Not me.  Ante up Polly K.

One in three dog owners say they have talked to their pets on the phone.  Guilty as charged… …. and you should SEE my PHONE BILLS!

A whale’s penis is called a dork. You know…. this really explains a lot.

Which brings me to the last bit of trivia for the night….
In West Virginia if you run over an animal, you can legally take it home and cook it for dinner!

I’ve never had a Possum Loaf I didn’t like…..

Dec 27

Squid should stick to swimming

We are all really something, aren’t we?

Each one of us… so very different. Yet, at the same time…. so very much alike.

A great example of this: Some people love to try new things. Others, do not. I think I fall at the middle of this scale.

Now when it comes to food…. I will try just about anything. Most of the time, I am glad I did. Like Pig Trotters at FIG. Better known as pigs’ feet.  Really good piggly wiggly toes.  I have sampled a wide range of things….different kinds of bird eggs.  Beef Tartar. Frog legs.   I think I was born with palette which likes to say…”Oh, what the heck. Bring it!!”  From a very young age, I enjoyed things like Limburger Cheese on crisp rye crackers, Braunschwieger, Bleu Cheese, Turtle Soup, and on.

But there are foods… I don’t particularly care for. Escargot is one. Sweet Breads (I haven’t been able to get a straight answer on what THOSE really were).   Calamari. My family loves Calamari. I keep trying it… and I continue not to like it. However… if you put enough Cocktail Sauce, Tarter Sauce, or Dipping Sauce on dead squid…. it still tastes like warm fried rubber bands.

When it comes to physical feats… I am a bit more reserved. You won’t catch me jumping out of planes, or bungee cord jumping, or anything extreme. I have tried snow skiing time & again,  and I still don’t care for it. But our interests change too.  I will hold a snake now… or pick a spider up.  I wouldn’t have done this ten years ago.  Now… I think it is sort of neat-o pete-o.

We all have different ways of moving through life. Which is good, I think.  At times…. it can be tricky. But on other occasions, it can be interesting, and meaningful, and filled with wonder.

Yes. Different families, friends, politics, religions… jobs.

I tried a job once in the food industry. I got hired as a Food Tester. I liked it for the most part… but it seemed I always had too much on my plate.

…… ohhhhhhh……  but enough about me.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”  -Henry David Thoeau  (Same goes for women too!)

Dec 26

What a big drip….

There are some vacuous minds in the world. Oh… what the heck.  I’m just going to come out and say it.  There are some really dumb people walking around. Okay, maybe they aren’t totally dumb. That is not very nice of me. But some of those folks sure do some idiotic things.

Like this.  An 18-year-old man in Pittsburgh has been accused of burglarizing a market (with three other teens). They allegedly stole $8,000 worth of cash and cigarettes and such. They may have gotten away with it…. but they posted picture of themselves… with all the loot and all the details…. on Facebook. Now there’s some power-thinking for you.

Another Facebook incident…. this one in Georgia. The police there say Trevor Jones broke into someone’s home. While in the house, he used their laptop to log into Facebook. The problem for Jones, allegedly, was that he forgot to log out of Facebook before he left.

What is wrong with people… really?

Two nurses in a Utah hospital’s intensive care unit were fired this week for taping a patient’s mouth shut and laughing about it. The woman’s teeth were chattering and she was moaning and shaking. The nurses told her her to shut up, taped her mouth closed and joked they would be fired if they were caught.  Not only dumb….. heartless.  Remind me not to get sick in Utah.

I am going to offer up the benefit of the doubt here.
It must have started out sounding like a really good idea.

I’ve had them in life…. those moments when it all rushes over me. All of a sudden I am struck by a flash of genius. “Yes Polly. This is the best dang thing you have ever thought of in your entire life. Forge ahead!” Sometimes those spontaneous moments of brilliance don’t turn out to be so sparky.

For some reason, my bouts of stupidity have been mixed with just the right amount of enduring common sense…. and LUCK.

Most of my debacles are a result of me thinking I am bigger, stronger, faster, or more agile than I really am. None of them have been associated with crime… I can assure you of that.

I learned that lesson very early in life.

I was probably eight or nine. My neighborhood chum, Jana, talked me in to giving the old “shoplifting” thing a try. We rode our bikes to Woolworth’s. On that particular day…. I sported my Chuck Taylor high tops,  shorts, a t-shirt, and knee socks.  After much deliberation…. I decided to steal a large red rubber ball. The adrenaline raged after making my choice. I grabbed it from the bin….. “Oh no! No pockets!” No problem. I was really thinking on my feet. I would hide that ball in my knee sock. Yes. Brilliance in Motion.  That would work!   And out past the main counter I ran….

I had locked my bike out front. (More revved-up thinking.)   I just didn’t want anyone stealing the darn thing… I mean…. you never know about people.  So…while scurrying to spin the numbers of the combination on that padlock… I felt a hand on my shoulder. Store manager. Crew cut. White shirt. Tie. Dark-rimmed glasses. All of which spells…… big trouble for little missy.

Thankfully, those times were a little different. I was crying like a baby…. he scared the holy-moly-guacomole right out me. But I was spared any time in the slammer.  My life of crime… started and finished… on that very day… at the Woolworth’s on North Main Street.

I am glad that particular idea didn’t pan out. It was shear stupidity from its inception.

Yet… there ARE other times we manage to come up with a blue-ribbon idea.   I think it is important to give them a go.   To Try.   The trick for me… is to remember to take my time… and to attempt to keep my compulsive behavior in check.

Yep. Sometimes it is good to go out on a limb. But it is also some fine thinking to make sure it is attached to a really sturdy branch.

“No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time a steady eye.”  – Winston Churchill

Dec 25

Yep Ginny. It’s true.

A sense of satisfaction washed over her.

A day well spent indeed. Yes… the spirit of Christmas was plentiful from dawn to dusk.

A family filled with love and joy. Splendid moments shared. A spectacular meal in every way (except for the carrot, fennel, and beet salad….. it can’t ALL be perfect.) Most of all the essence of good will poured forth.  There was caring for one another, and a genuine appreciation of the blessings in their lives.

As the night sky took charge, and the house fell quiet… she settled back in her chair… and breathed it all in. The memories made.  The hearts touched.

A grin crept across on her face…like the mist that prowls a meadow at sunrise.   She knew it had been a one-of-a-kind-Christmas.   For on that day….. she was given two gifts.  Two things which had been lifelong dreams.  She stared across the room a them both.  A “Replica Lamp-Nightlight from ‘A Christmas Story'” AND her VERY own “Dave the Robotic Funky Monkey.”  She pinched herself hard on the arm… to ensure the moment was real.

The excitement was nearly too much to bear.

How would she ever, ever sleep?

Yes Virginia.  There IS a Santa Claus.

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“Think of all the beauty still around you, and be happy.”  -Anne Frank

Dec 24

Every step of your path…

“Your mind knows only some things. Your inner voice, your instinct, knows everything. If you listen to what you know instinctively, it will always lead you down the right path.”  -H. Winkler

“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”
-Oren Arnold

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day; their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the word repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Merry Christmas
…..and May Peace Be With You…  …. along every step of your path.

Dec 23

What language does your chicken speak?

You can’t please all the people all the time.

I’ve gotten a lot of letters lately, asking why I didn’t do “My Version” of “The 12 Days of Christmas” again this year. (Funny….. after it’s first run last Christmas… there were a lot of critics.)   C’est la vie. Such is life.

Well, the fact of the matter is…. I tried it this year.  A reality version of the Twelve Days.  I hate to admit it, but  …. things didn’t work out. I am not one to “give up” on a task …. Yet…. I just HAD to bail on this one.

If you must know, here is how it went.

12 Days of Christmas:
1. A partridge in a pear tree. Not so hard to do… we have a pear tree right out back. Partridges, however, are hard to come by. But I heard David Cassidy has been out of work lately. I called his agent… and apparently, Davey is desperate. I hired him for 12 days to sit on a branch out back. One Partridge in a Pear Tree. Check.

2. Two turtle doves. I didn’t know what the heck these were… some kind of Mutant Ninja Turtle Bird? So I Googled it. Turns out they look a HECK of a lot like mourning doves. I caught two. I am on my way. Two turtle doves. Check.

3. Three french hens. This one was pretty easy too, but I had to make some assumptions. There are tons of chicken farms in these parts. I wrangled three hens one night. (Holy smokes those things cackle like crazy when you grab ’em by the neck)  When I got back home… I asked each one… “Do you speak English?” “Bwaaawk. Bwaaawk.” No English?  “Okay then,” I said….”How about French?” “Bwaaak. Bwaaaak.” Yes… they DO know French. Three french hens. Check.  I think.

4. Four calling birds. I caught four little sparrows… and got each one a little cell phone. Four calling birds. Check.

5. Five golden rings. One quick trip to Lucky Floyd’s Pawn Shop…. I’m IN. Five golden rings. Check.

6. Six geese a laying. We have a pond….. lots of geese. But the dang things like to mill about all the time… they waddle, sit, swim. Not many of them lay. Soooooo…..  I put a good dose of Bourbon in their water bowls… problem solved. They laid right down… dead as door nails.

Ahhh… Uhhhhh… I hope they are not dead as door nails. Six geese a laying. Or dead. Check.

7. Seven swans a swimming. While we have lots of geese…. we don’t have any swans. I am counting the really cute geese as swans. Seven swans a swimming. Check.

Now… here’s where the big trouble came in.

8. Eight maids a milking. Again… there is a bit of ambiguity here. Milking what? Or are they themselves giving milk? Well… I know there are lots of people down in the south with maids. So I dialed a few. “Hello… yes… this is Polly K… blah, blah, blah. Yes… you employ a maid, is that correct? Yes… well… does she happen to be milking right now?… or giving any sort of off milk?”

I don’t GET IT. Every single one of those people hung up the phone on me. Hence… I had to skip this one.

As I looked ahead at the next three…. I just couldn’t imagine the logistics. Things are getting crowded around here as it is. The ladies dancing seemed possible. But…. ten lords a-leaping. Please. I had no idea where to start.

Besides all that… the pesky Partridge in the pear tree started complaining about being cold… and hungry. Whiner. No wonder he can’t get work.

At any rate… I chucked the whole idea.

I am trying to work on a new Holiday Story… that I hope will catch on throughout the world… as a yearly tradition.

The working title is….“The really huge penguin who terrified the entire town on his way to Bingo Night at the YMCA.”

“On the first night of Bingo… the penguin came to town….

“One gun was pointed….”
“Two 9-1-1 calls”
“Three people screaming…”

Yeah…. well……  I’m still ironing out the details.

 

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“Tradition is a guide, and not a jailer.”  – William Somerset Maugham

 

Dec 22

Cindy Lou… wipe that grin off your face.

I try to be positive here. You know… keep it light. I try not to discuss my politics or religion. And when I write, I attempt to find the good side to the story. The older I get, the more I strive to do this in life too. You see, I admire those people who are very peaceful and sublime. The compassionate.  The non-hypocrites of the world.

But the truth of the matter is…. I am a little whirly-gig of whirlwind inside. The not-so-dormant volcano. I am just a strand of dynamite sticks, waiting to be ignited… and implode the helpless-old-shell-of-a-building-set-for-demolition. Yep. That is me.

This time of year undoubtedly seems to bring it out in me. People…. can really bug the holy-heck out of me. The ones on the war path to have a Merry Christmas…. AND let nothing stand in the way. My compassion files out the window. My Chi goes to the dark side.

Oh….. the people with……the kazillion gifts to buy.. and then to wrap. The family gatherings they HAVE to attend.  (Like a “Sentence” to a high crime.)   The meals to shop and fix.. the messes to clean up… and complaining all the way. Over the river and through the woods… Hang on to your sleighs. I’ll tell you.

I read a blog the other day… and the woman went on for days about her hatred for the “Elf-On-The-Shelf” tradition in their household … and how she is a horrible “Elf-On-The-Shelf” mom, and how hard it is to keep up with all of this… and blah, blah, blah…..

Oh sure. (It was funny to read about her pity-party-plight.) But I say to her……   “Lady, YOU put the stupid elf on the shelf in the first place.   And as My mom used to say… you made your bed, now lie in it.”   I totally get it now Mom.

Another thing that bothers me is the people who become comatose in public arenas… specifically shopping areas. It is like someone started a intravenous morphine drip right there on the spot. Aliens swept down and transformed their brains into tapioca pudding. THEY become the ONLY person in that store. Today, I shopped for the holiday groceries…. for a family gathering.  The supermarket was packed like sardines.

And in aisle four… a young couple decides to attach… and make out.. completely blocking the aisle with their cart… and bodies.   The ensuing display of slobbering public affection was ….  …  embarrassing. Yes. Right there in front of the Keebler Elves and their Townhouse Crackers.  So….I politely asked…” Excuse me. Do you think I could pass around you?” Their faces briefly unlocked… albeit still connected by spittle. They looked at me with disdain. Obviously, my request interrupted that magic moment. I just smiled as I edged past them.  BUT….. inside…. I am SCREAMING……”Get a flippin’ room.”

Another.  The weather people.  Not the ones on TV.  The ones who want the snow.  Oh sure.  It is “purty as purty can be”… ON THE FRONT OF A CHRISTMAS CARD.  But the reality of Ohio snow is this:  It gets cold as all get out.  We get more ice than actual snow.  Everything turns grimy black-gray sludge in just a day or two.  Then it freezes over….  and it makes it nearly impossible to avoid cars… filled with the VERY SAME PEOPLE who had the spontaneous morphine drips at the Walmart.  I would rather be singing in the rain, thank you very much.

I’m sorry. I apologize. I am a big old grump tonight. Who knows exactly why. But I think that the most likely reason of all…… May have been that my heart was two sizes too small.

I guess me and the THAT Green Guy have to get our acts together soon… He and I have a lot it common, it seems.  We both have dogs named Max.   However…. now… we just need to get our calm back.  We need to get our Mojo on.  Oh to find that “Happy Place”……   or get the heck out of Whoville.

And what happened then…? Well…in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!
And then the true meaning of Christmas came through,
And the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches… plus two.

May the Force Be With Us ALL……

Dec 21

Joy is… wool and monkeys.

Christmas came early this year. Oh yes indeed-y!

I most certainly heard the reindeer hooves on the rooftop last night.  In my restless state, I thought it was the rain pounding down at first.  And then I heard… “No!  No Donner.. … Donner dang it.  Don’t go there.  How many times have I told you NOT to poop on people’s roofs?  I hope the elves packed the plastic baggies.”

It was at that moment, I knew.

Yes. Kris K and the Gang had landed.

I’m not sure what the reason was for the early visit… maybe he couldn’t stand the wait.  That is how I am…. when I have a really GOOD gift to give someone.  I can’t wait until the “actual event” rolls around.  I always have to spring it on the person right away.   That is my only guess as to why he showed early.

So.  This morning, when the girls and I awoke… we were in for the wonder-of-wonders!  Oh yes.  Just what was around the tree???  We could not believe our eyes….  BRAND NEW SWEATERS.  And not just any sweaters…. NO.  SOCK MONKEY SWEATERS.  Oh, that Santa and his elves are crazy-good-knitters…. I will tell you.

We did hand springs, back flips…. we barked and ka-hooted.  We had a grand old time… one dog even poot-ed.

We played in our sweaters.  We acted like monkeys.  Oh, it was more fun than a…. sorry….. barrel of monkeys.  When it had all calmed down, I asked the girls to pose.   This is how it went…

“Max… you look so pretty.  Will you let ‘Your-Polly’ get a shot of you?”

“No problem, My-Polly.”

 

“Frances, Ollie… your turn girls.  Will you let ‘Your-Polly’ get a photo of you?”

“Come here chimp-dog…. hey… somebody talking to us Ollie?”   “I’m gonna bite your butt Frances… ha… ha.. ha… ha.. ha…..”

 

Oh the joys of Christmas morning… and early at that.  Sweaters…. Doggy Coats.

So in the winter time, my dog wears a coat.  And I guess in the summer… she wears a coat… and pants.  (It will be much hotter then.)

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“Joy is the feeling of grinning inside.”  – M. Colgrove

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Mary A Bullen, Photo Credit: Photo # 1:  “Me & The Girls”  (Thanks Mary!!!)

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