Jan 23

Snaps. Wrong Answer.

When people ask me what I “do”… I am never quite sure how to answer.

“Well….. in my heart of hearts, I strive to be kind to all people, find compassion for each human situation, and work toward peaceful solutions in the world.”

This response typically brings about an awkward silence….. followed by the other person suddenly remembering an appointment they had. So I don’t give that response too often.

If I run through the gamut of things I “do” each day… this too… will frequently bring about a thorny reaction.

“Let’s see… I woke up…. put on my slides, walked to the bathroom, and peed like crazy. Then I brushed my teeth and flossed for more than three minutes, which is recommended by the American Dental Association. After that… I….”

Most of the times, I think the person is looking for “What is your occupation?” Your job or profession. Again, I have a lot of jobs…. and a lot of things that I profess. But I usually wind up saying that I am a Photographer. To which….. most ALWAYS… comes the next question…. “Oh. What do you take pictures of?”

Well.  Here is the deal.  I associate “taking pictures” with being an Art Thief. And I have never stolen a picture in my life. So I respond.”Did you know Pablo Picasso was accused of stealing the Mona Lisa?”  …. Again.  Wrong answer for my counterpart in this conversation. …… ……

 

“I photograph nearly anything and everything.”

“Oh.” They say. “Like weddings and graduations?”

“I said nearly anything. Weddings and Graduations aren’t two of them.” The rest gets virtually  impossible to explain…  … …that I have this Rabbit Hole which I jump through when there is a camera in my hand. That the world becomes other worldly, and I see faces in light sockets, and landscapes in cracks on the sidewalk. I am partial to the shadows that are moving, when their objects are still  .. … and I like to see the underside of things.  I once saw Richard Nixon’s profile in a bowl of oatmeal…..  and so it goes.  This answering questions business is a difficult thing, I’ll tell you.

Most people just smile politely and nod… and think about how soon they can get to Jiffy Lube from here… and if the Dry Cleaning will be ready by 4.

Why do I shoot the things I do? Why does the Pope poop in the woods?

I think I am ……. Snapped.

Jan 22

Quickly. Painlessly. No big deal….

Things sure can be a big deal sometimes.

When I was a kid, I hated the prospect of having a Band-Aid removed from my skin. It was a huge-stinking ordeal. I would plead with my Mom or Dad about the upcoming torture. They assured me, that if they pulled it quickly, there would be no suffering.

Well… to me… it always hurt like bejeezus. Now I am not sure if my pain threshold was extremely low… or the Band-Aid company used Super Glue as the adhesive back then. But it was horrendous. Rip. Scream. A big deal.

Big deals are different for everyone.

Like the Field Goal Kicker for the Baltimore Ravens. He missed a little punch-through at the end of the game. Hooked it left. All he had to do was split the uprights, and the Ravens would have tied up the game with the New England Patriots. Not to be. The Ravens lost by a Field Goal.  The Pats are going to the Super Bowl.  Now to YOU, it may be nothing. To that kicker…. it is a big-whopping deal…. I can assure you.

Yes, big deals come in all shapes and sizes.

The other night I was watching Wheel of Fortune while eating dinner. (Laugh if you will….  but I LIKE the Wheel.) At any rate, it was the Final Round. The phrase was “Junk Drawer.”   It was clear as day to me…. but the contestant couldn’t see it… as hard as she tried.   And just like that…. $100,000 down the drain. Big deal to her. I bet she went home and dumped out every single junk drawer in her house.  She probably doesn’t even have a single junk drawer now.  Seeing it….. reliving the pain of that moment. Yep.   No more junk-filled drawers in her home.

Another one that comes to mind is the affair of taking a pill. I can swallow a whole handful of vitamins with a little drink of water. Yet I know a lot of people that need a whole truck full of milk to get a little speck of a pill down the old hatch. Little deal vs. big deal. Gulp….

Franklin Delano Roosevelt came up with The New Deal. That was a big deal for him…. and the country.

There are “Square Deals” and “Done Deals” and “Real Deals”…. which aren’t necessarily Big Deals.

A lot of stores advertise Big Deals. Like Dan’s Monster Carpet & Tile Barn.  Huge Deals.   Sometimes it is a Shady Deal.

So yes. The Big Deal.

Often people will tell us to “just deal with it.” Or others will say…”It is no big deal.”

Well. The matter of “The Big Deal” is highly subjective. To each her own. My big deal may not be your big deal. And vice versa. Live and let live baby. We all dance to the beat of a different drummer. Rock on, my friends.

Whatever your deal is…. embrace the deal. The whole deal. And nothing but the deal. It is your real deal. Even if you aren’t always playing with a full deck.

 

….well…. I better wrap this up tonight.  You see…. I have this Band-Aid on my knee… and….

Jan 21

We may stumble when we dance…

I am thankful for the company of my dogs.   I get to do a lot of things with them…. it’s true.   Like, go for a walk every day.  At least one a day.

Oh. The Three-Dog-Walk. Also known as “The Human Tetherball.” Yes, it is a bit of a dance, with three dogs whirling and winding around you. The intensity of the leash-tangle is highly dependent on squirrel sightings, and other dog encounters. One of these days, I am going to hit the dirt. Hopefully, it will be the very soft dirt.

Yet today as we walked… it was Max’s turn to tumble. Our pace was slow at best. No distractions, or obstacles in our way. So it is not often you see a dog trip and fall under these circumstances. Yet that is exactly what happened. Maxine’s short little legs had a hitch in their giddy-up. And she stumbled.

If she were young and spry… I may have laughed with her… and called her a clutz… just like me. But she isn’t young. In fact, she is getting old. So this incident made me a little sad.

I am reminded that nothing is permanent. And as much as I would like to be in control and keep everything status quo…. quite simply… that isn’t the case. The only sure thing is that we have this exact little moment. That good ol’ little blip.  Then poof.  The last second is gone…. and the very next one could be the last.   Yet even still… they are all very connected and sequential. What a thing, time is.

Life is uncertain. And certainly not permanent. It is forever changing. Blip. End of blip.  On to next blip.

Some days it is difficult for me to to realize this…. or to recognize and accept this notion. Each particular moment is bringing me something… whatever its benefits or austerity may be. I should try to understand….. that this is somehow…. just what I need right at that moment. That instant.

I try to remember that I must not pass up what is offered today. While it is here…. it is absolute. And once it is gone…. it is no more.

My Max. My beautiful little Max. Today she stumbled on the path… and I am uncovering another lesson. May I be mindful that this time, this specific combination of events and people and little beings, won’t come again. They are the gift of the present. And for that…. I can be grateful.

Jan 20

Dancing Chickens and Botox…

Last night was one of those loopy-loco sleeping nights.

They happen to me every now and again. The Dream Goblins get at it… and before you know it… I am seeing dancing chickens in legwarmers….. and long lines of people sitting in pink lawn chairs on city streets. Skies are orange. The front door is frozen shut. There is a fuzzy brown character walking upright and playing a tuba with his hairy armpit.

I don’t do drugs. Honest. Or drink.

I swear though… sometimes you would wonder ….. if you popped in my head on a Dream Goblin night. It is a mystery to me why my brain works this way.

However, last night was really peculiar, even by my standards. I had the whole gamut of psychedelic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scenes splashed before my eyes during slumber-time.

And then… I had a scary dream. Someone was mad about something… it was a shadowy figure. And right out of nowhere…. blammo…. they hit me in the mouth. Yep. Whatever (or whoever) it was… cracked me right in the kisser. They were terribly incensed. In a real tither, I’ll tell you. Yep. They hauled off and slugged me one. The dream went on for a little while longer… and I don’t remember anything about how it ended.  For all I know… they knocked me out cold.

But here is the deal. When I woke up this morning I had a fat lip. A big old fatty, fatty lip. Like someone had given me a Goldie Hawn Botox Injection. (The good part was.. my big nose…. looked somehow proportional until about noon time …) Yes…. ..Well. …… … At any rate….

I ask you. What the heck?

Yes, I guess this is just one of life’s little mysteries. I think these unexplained curiosities make the world interesting and intriguing.

Yet. Tonight, I think I am going to stay up all night. (Netflix. Here I come.  I wonder if I have any good scary movies in my queue…. )

Without mysteries, life would be very dull indeed. What would be left to strive for if everything were known?” – Charles DeLint

“The final mystery is oneself.” – Oscar Wilde

Jan 19

I’m quacking me up….

 

I have a lot of “favorite” words. Sometimes I like their meaning…. sometimes I think they sound very kicky.   And on occasion.. it is both.

One of my top picks is Paradox. The definition….”a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory”

Paradox.   Now for this one, I not only think its meaning is interesting,

I love the cadence of it as well.

And the icing on the cake… it has great synonyms. Like: contradiction, inconsistency, incongruity….  oxymoron; conflict, anomaly, enigma, puzzle, mystery……. conundrum.  So many cooly words.

And finally… it is the thing that happens when a Duck meets its future self…. yes…. a “Pairadux”

Holy Smokes… this is Quacky.

But take my advice …. it is best not to bite a duck…. or you will certainly feel down in the mouth.

And….

Never play Hide and Seek with one of these Mallards.  It might be a Peking Duck.

 

Arggghhhhh.  Polly want a Quacker?

Seriously. This is seemingly senseless.  Somebody slap me.

Jan 18

Red, white and blue in the face.

How are the politicos in your part of the country? I don’t know about you, but down here in South Carolina right now…. things are pretty crazy. Crazy. With a capital C.

The Republican Primary is in full swing here. The primary vote takes place on January 21st. This week, I’ve had phone calls from Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. At first I thought it was for real… then my blonde little head figured out they were recordings.

“Hello. This is Mitt Romney, and I’m calling to talk to YOU about the upcoming vote.”
“Mitt… hey it is me Polly… quick question. How’d you get the name Mitt? Did you play baseball when you were a kid? Or….were you always pulling hot things out of the oven? …why the name Mitt?”
… at which point… the recording kept rolling… and I realized it wasn’t really him.

Yeah….well….. At any rate, things sure are busy here. Ad campaigns, telemarketing slants, commercials, signs, church visits, baby kissing, the whole shebang. But the thing of it is… how do you believe any of them?

Now, I’m not saying who I’m voting for. Because truth be told… I haven’t made up my mind yet. November 2012 is a long way off. A lot can change in the world between now and then.  And frankly, I will listen to a good idea about how to make this country a better place… right up until the minute I punch that little hanging chad right off its hanger.

But these guys sure do hire great fiction writers. Oh the stories they spin in their commercials.  Funny…. really. You just have to realize that most of the “ad campaigning” is…. gibberish, patter, evasion….. a load of crap.

It is sort of like this.

When I was a kid, I loved Popsicles. I was crazy for them. But not just any. Nope. I loved the orange ones and the red ones.

Now, some years later… I don’t eat Popsicles at all. I have no interest in them. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had one. It has been at least 30+ years.

So if I were running for President.. here is how it would spin.
Black TV screen. My name slowly fades in….
“Kronenberger. She can’t make up her mind. She used to support Popsicles. She claimed she was a Popsicle advocate. She voted again and again in their favor.  Stood in long lines for them.

And now? Now? She has turned her back on them. Kronenberger’s views have melted away…. and today… she wouldn’t vote to have EVEN ONE.

Is this the kind of person you want for president? If Kronenberger will flip-flop on the Popsicle issue, what will she do in the Oval Office? Don’t let her stick it to YOU.  Put a freeze on Kronenberger.”
Then a horrible picture of my face comes on screen, and fades to black again. Then… the blurb… “Paid for by the Committee for a Red, White, and Blue American Way”

Oh. It will only get worse folks. Super Tuesday isn’t until March 6th. My prediction is that this whole primary will go back and forth and back again. No shoe-ins yet.

So, until November… like eating a popsicle… most of this is going to suck. You may even get a headache… if you take in too much, too fast. PBF.  Political Brain Freeze.

Happy Election Year.    Don’t touch that dial.

Jan 17

What you see…. is what you see…..

Each one of us has our own vision.

There is a quote from Herman Hesse, which says….“There is no reality except the one contained within us.”

An absolute truth, (universal truth), is an unalterable and permanent fact. The concept of absolute truths – what they are and whether they exist – has long been debated among philosphers, theologians, and spiritualists.

As with the photo above. A fireman sees this one way. A parking-patrol-person sees it in an entirely different realm.  And a dog has a very unique perspective on this. Wouldn’t you know…..a leap-frog-champion sees it yet another way.

Our perspectives shape our realities… whether we like to admit it or not. We each hold our unique point-of-view and it influences our lives and the world around us.

Yet the thing of it is……our past is possibly the most significant part of what creates our perspective; the things we experience, our upbringing, our life encounters. The past “experience” enables the brain to create expectations. Thus, our individual perspectives of the world around us adapts to these ideas.

Sometimes…. we begin to see the world as we expect it to be, not as it really is……

IF…..there truly is such a thing as “how it REALLY IS.

And how does that old saying go?  There are three sides to every story… mine, yours, and the truth?  And so it goes….

Other times…..we let others do our seeing for us. We get lazy and rely on the images of television, or magazines. We start taking hearsay as truth…. instead of really seeing with our own eyes. For many, our ability to form our own opinions becomes distorted. We lose sight of our inner voices.

And who ever thought that just “looking around” could be so dang complicated….

Each of us carries reality inside ourselves, and as we grow stronger within, we discover that we can see clearest when we trust our own eyes.  I guess all of this must have you busier than a one-eyed cat watching two mouse holes.

Oh… to see the truth… the whole truth… and nothing but the truth.

I guess until then, I will just do the best I can to appreciate the things that are authentic and beautiful to me in this world…. whether it is the truth to someone else… or not.

“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.”
– Albert Einstein

Jan 16

All connected… we are.

Today was the United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This morning…..I overheard someone say… “Oh, it is just another day off work.”  I couldn’t really believe my ears.

I believe it is so much more than that.   It is a day to recognize one of the greatest peacemakers and humanitarians of all time.

He started out like you and I. Born into this world… as nakers as nakers can be. His real name was Mike. He changed it at some point. He had a Mom, a Dad, a brother and a sister.  Grew up in Atlanta.

Later in life, he married had four kids.

King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement. The group successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

Many hated him for it. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was simply a man seeking peace and equality.  He was gunned down for those ideas… on a balcony of a motel.

You know……there are others better equipped than I….. to write about his contributions to mankind… I will leave it to them.

Yet, I would be remiss here if I did not mention, that in 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means.

I think his life, his work, and his courage… were remarkable.

And……, I would like to remind myself of something Dr. King once said.

“All I’m saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. “

The wave that ripples the next…. and the next…. and the next.  Much more than just a three-day weekend.

Jan 15

The fork ran away with the spoon.

The much lesser-known Forehead-Cheese….. being made on a plantation in South Carolina.

Sometimes mistaken for Cow Football, the only distinguishable difference is the cows only wear Jerseys when playing Football.

Yet….the forehead-cheese process is a lengthy one… and requires the cooperation of two cows.

While cows who do not give milk are considered udder failures…..

They can often find lucrative employment in the cheese department.