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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

 

Was hier geschieht?

Oh… if I still ate cake…..

I would whip up a larger German Chocolate Cake, and spread it thick with German Chocolate Icing. Betty-Crocker-Crazy-Good. My very favorite.

But, I wouldn’t do it because I am hungry for cake. Nope. I would do it… because today is one of my favorite guy’s birthdays….. Albert Schweitzer.

I wish he were still around today… I would love to talk with him…. and maybe even do an interview for 368.  It might go something like this…..

Polly Kronenberger: Good evening Dr. Schweitzer. Thank you for taking this time with me here.

Albert Schweitzer: Your quite welcome Ms. Kronenberger.  I don’t much care for interviews… but…. If I can call you Polly, you can call me Al.

PK: It is a deal Al.

AS: Wunderbar!

PK: Al, they have said your greatest work is “The Reverence for Life”…. but you did SO much. Do you have any words that might summarize your thoughts….

AS: “Humanitarianism consists in never sacrificing a human being to a purpose”

PK: So is that what it means to be ethical?

AS: “A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.”

PK: Amazing advice. Do you think that putting forth our energy in this way would ever lead to a world filled with peace?

AS: “Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.”

PK: I’m getting pretty heavy here…. can we switch gears a bit? You know… have a little fun with this?

AS: “Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.”

PK: You calling me an imbecile?

AS: Well…… if the shoe fits…..

PK: OK… how about politics. What do you think about the current Presidential Race which is gearing up in the United States? Are the candidate’s speeches and debates going to influence the voters?

AS: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it’s the only thing”

PK: So who would make a good President? Which one of them has the right focus…. and direction?

AS: “The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.”

PK: If only. I think most of these guys are in it for power…. and money.  How would you advise them?

AS: “Do something for somebody everyday for which you do not get paid.”

PK: We all should.  Everyday.
OK Al. Another turn… you had a cutting edge mind in science. What do you think of today’s technology and constant exposure to electronic gadgetry and stimulus?

AS: “We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness” “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve”

PK: Well, I just put my iPhone and iPad and iHead in the trash…. Well… really… I just turned them off for a minute. Because truly, I think people have quit appreciating the world around us…?

AS: “Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.”

PK: And people… people are beautiful too.. right?

AS: “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

PK: Al, you and the other Albert are my favorites. Thanks for sharing your time here tonight. Any parting thoughts?

AS: “Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.”

PK:  Thank you sir.

AS:  My pleasure.  Can I have a piece of that cake now?

=====================================

Albert Schweitzer. Yep. I like this guy. Al was born on this day in 1875. He lived to be 90… and died the year after I was born. I think I would have liked to have met him. And interview him… or just have strudel together… on a sidewalk cafe’.

He was a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire.

Know for a lot of things… he won the Nobel Prize in 1952. He thought his greatest work was the idea of Reverence for Life (“Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben”). He proposed that Western civilization was decaying because it had abandoned affirmation of (and respect for) life as its ethical foundation.

Again…..

“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” – Albert Schweitzer

Fear the Friday. Fry the Fear Day.

I’ve been told that fear is a waste time.  Right.  Tell that to the Lion….. and my shaking boots.

Apparently, a whole lot of people fear this day. Yep. Good old Friday the 13th. The fear of this day is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen).

According to people who study such things….. there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century.
There is the first “found” mention of it in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of a guy named Gioachino Rossini. It says….”Rossini was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky.”

What the heck that means to the rest of us… I have no stinking idea.

Consequently, several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.  Now…. it is said that in numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness. This comes around in several ways… like with the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams. I mean, this whole number 12 thing goes on and on. In fact…. one of the coolest people I know was born on 12/12. Whacky.

On the other hand….. the number thirteen was, and is, considered irregular…..transgressing this completeness of the number 12.  Personally, I take comfort in the number 7… or even the number 8.

There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.  Just a teensy-weensy little tip when you are planning your next dinner party.

And what about the day itself? I mean, why Friday? Well…. from what I can gather….. It has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales. I have never read those particular works of Chaucer’s… so I am not sure what the reference is there…..

I always thought it was named that way… because you are supposed to fry things on that day ….  FryDay.  And we all know fried foods are bad for you…. cholesterol and heart disease and such…. but I guess that’s not it.

But back to the future.

The Fact-Filled-Folks say that an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day making it the most feared day and date in history. Yowza.  They also report that people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. They say….”It’s been estimated that $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day”.

That’s a lot of dough.  And fact finding.

I used to be a bit superstitious about it. Not so much anymore.

(Tonight we toured the “supposed” very haunted Old City Jail of Charleston, SC. This place has been on Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State.  I don’t think I bumped into any ghosts tonight…. but I thought that going on Friday the 13th might help bring them out.  But no.  Not even a boo.  Or a chain rattling.)

But the way people act about Friday the 13th… you would think there is some crazy guy running around with a hockey mask on, and being careless with a chainsaw…. or something….

Again.  Certain people remind me that it is all a bunch of garbage.  As with any of these ballyhoos…. they are largely unfounded.  Baseless fear.  Myth.  Legends.  And so it goes.

So the truth be told… I am not at all afraid of Friday the 13th.  Blooey, I say.

On the other hand…. Monday the 24th is an entirely different matter.  I am SO afraid of Monday, the 24th….. Yar.  Now that is a scary date.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. “- Mark Twain