Throwback Thursday - Would you prefer maggots?

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It was during the era of Mandyland described below that I like to believe Polly was born.  I was in a seriously negative place emotionally and it ended up knocking enough sunshine and sparkles off my eternal optimist to make her tolerable.

Mantel clock
Image courtesy of Lynn Kelley Author

Below is a piece I wrote during the struggle.  

"Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to hold onto my positivity.  I’m a born optimist.  I won the Spirit Award at my high school, and was always the member of my team cheering “We can do it!”  Lately, though, I feel that little optimist inside me dying.  A rollercoaster of ups and downs that have left Little-Miss-Optimist reeling and about to wheeze out her final death rattle, and in anticipation of her death, like a vulture, my internal pessimist is circling.  Little-Miss-Pessimist is closing in and boy oh boy is she CRANKY!

You know those people on Facebook whose status updates proclaim, “Love my life”, or “So blessed”?  They feel so happy and  lucky and thankful that they need to share their gratitude with the world.  

Well, Little-Miss-Pessimist HATES them. Seriously, she wants to punch them in the face and then ask,

“How much do you love your life now?”

Recently, I picked up a bit of on-the-side work for my brother-in-law, requiring me to go through 4 ½ years of paperwork and make note of certain transactional details.  He is paying a VERY nice hourly wage, I can work on it from home (thus eliminating the need for childcare) and it’s the extra income we need right now.

Hooray! Maybe a reprieve for Little-Miss-Optimist?  Just the booster shot of happiness she needs?

Nope, Little-Miss-Pessimist is too strong and the details of the job are delicious fuel for the likes of her.  This job has got to be the most mind numbingly boring gig I’ve EVER had.  Permanent blindness is sure to occur from this project.  I’ve worked 14 hours so far and I’m not even a quarter of the way through.  

Little-Miss-Optimist says, “Hooray, you’re going to make some great bank from this job!”  

Little-Miss-Pessimist says, “I’d rather eat glass!”

Taking a break from the stacks of horrible paperwork, I took my little girl to the park, and while chatting with a one of the other moms she told me her cats had ended up bringing fleas into the house, and ever since the battle against the tiny pests started she couldn’t stop itching.  As she finished her story, Little-Miss-Optimist reared up to offer the following consolation.

While living in Guam, everyone I knew battled against the same innocuous pest.  The common House Fly.  W
hile the battle against the pests raged on I heard a horror story that left my skin crawling.  A couple had bought their dog one of those giant chew bones that last forever, and their dog LOVED his new treat.  He carried it around the house everywhere with him, showing off to visitors and pranching around with glee.   

The dog's masters would smile sweetly at their fury little companion, so pleased he loved their gift, and content in the knowledge that they were the best furparents EVER. 

If only they had known there was a stowaway in the dog’s bone.

See, an adult fly had found the bone the perfect safe and cozy place to lay its eggs.  So, as the sweet dog carried his favorite item around the house, he was unwittingly spreading the eggs everywhere, where they settled into the carpets, and being just as safe and cozy as in the bone, eventually hatched. 

The Result?  Every surface in the small home was infested with wriggling dirty disgusting MAGGOTS!!!

An urban legend? Maybe.

Gross? Um, that goes without saying.

Finishing the story, and ignoring the look of horror on the other woman’s face, my Little-Miss-Optimist took a nice deep breath and gave Little-Miss-Pessimist a swift kick in the pants.  The story was a reminder that even if things seem as bad they could get, they could always get worse.

Because which would you prefer?  Fleas or Maggots?

A little ray of sunshine to brighten whatever pile of crap you are currently dealing with,


And with that Polly’s tagline was born.

Crap, fleas, maggots and sunshine, because sugar and spice were just so cliche!

My Fetus was an Alien

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Today Miss M turns 4 and I can't believe it! 

I seems like just yesterday I was pregnant  and having regular ultrasounds to check on her health and progress.

Most resulted in the typical perfect baby silhouettes eliciting the requisite baby shower oohs and ahhs, but then we got this one…

An Alien or maybe an Anteater?

Thankfully the technician labeled it.

Although, the labels definitely make it worse.

Happy Birthday Miss M!  You are sweet and curious and were making us laugh even before you were born.

Oh, and thanks for not being an alien. That would of been really messy! (and possibly deadly).

Throw Back Thursday – Yuck it Up

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Time Tunnel
Image courtesy of Lynn Kelley Author
A little over 2 years ago, I was one of about a million people DESPERATELY trying to rejoin the workforce during the worst economic decline since the depression.  As a distraction and challenge (and because Jessica Made Me Do It) I decided to start a blog, and in a fit of EXTREME creativity I called it Mandyland.

Watch out world, I’m a genius.

This is one of the first entries I ever wrote.  My pain, here for your amusement!  ENJOY!

It had been a week since I had last been rejected and I was taking it as confirmation of my worst fears.  I had zero job skills, was completely devoid of personality and was destined to spend the rest of my days as a Wal-Mart Greeter, and to add injury to insult, I was getting sick.  It was while I was laying on the couch feeling seriously sorry for myself, indulging in Kleenex and hot tea, that the phone rang and the proceeding nightmare began.  A firm I had applied to a few days earlier wanted to conduct a quick over-the-phone interview.

Quietly clearing the 50 year old smoker from my throat, and attempting to clear up the river of mucus flowing from my nose, I dragged my butt off the couch, turned on the personality, and proceeded to answer her questions.  Somehow, I pulled it off because she asked me to come in the next day at 4:00 pm for an interview.

Rule #1 in the Job Hunting Handbook: ALWAYS SAY YES!

“Mrs. Allen, would you be available for a skills test tomorrow at noon?”

“Yes, of course!”

“Mrs. Allen, would you mind running through our company obstacle course, so we can evaluate your problem solving skills?”

“Oh, how fun!  I’d love to!”

“Mrs. Allen, could we please have a sample of your DNA so we can clone you, and get two employees for the price of one?”

“Wow, what a great idea!  Here, let me help you with that cotton swab.”

After assuring the woman on the phone that 4:00 pm would not be a problem, and scrambling for last minute childcare, I felt pretty good, for about a nanosecond.  Then the adrenalin wore off and I started feeling sick.  Actually, I started feeling REALLY sick.  My cold symptoms were rapidly mutating into flu like symptoms.  Nauseous and head pounding my husband sent me to bed.

The next day I felt like death warmed over.  The headache was gone, but my throat felt like sandpaper, my nose was stuffed solid and I was bone tired.  Steering my body toward the couch I tried for a bit of rest before I had to leave.  At about noon I hauled my mouth breathing, hacking, and mucus filled body upstairs to make myself presentable.  Reaching for my hairbrush I glanced in the mirror to find my face was COVERED in a red, raised, hive-like rash!  In horror over my face, I leaned in to get a better look only to find the biggest most disgusting zit of my life growing out of the side of my neck.

I’m NOT exaggerating, this zit was big! Think bug bites, chicken pox, boils!  Seriously, it looked like it was alive!

So, why not just call and reschedule, right?  They would have understood.


This was a job interview!  An invitation so difficult to obtain in this economy that short of Armageddon, you suck it up and go!

River of blood?  Get a boat.

The sun is blotted out?  Get a flashlight.

Plagues of pocks and boils?  Welcome to my world.  Slap on some makeup and get in the car!

Alright, so off to my interview I go!  Three hours of sleep, breathing through my mouth, sounding like a lifelong smoker, a hideous rash all over my face, and a zit on the side of my neck the size of Jupiter.  Yes siree, I’m feeling confident and ready to rock!

Or maybe someone could just shoot me and put me out of my misery!

I dug deep!  I spent the intervals between questions drinking tea, and discreetly coughing or wiping my nose, while simultaneously trying not to wipe off the makeup covering the pestilence on my face, and in the end my effort was rewarded.  The interviewer loved me and I was invited back Monday to meet with the President and VP of the company.

Yay, a happy ending, right?!  The moral of the story, overcome any obstacle and you will be rewarded!

Well, not really.  All that and I by the end of the next week I’d received another rejection for my troubles.

The butt of an ongoing universal joke,

Except, in the end the universe actually DID get the last laugh.  Not 3 months later I got a call from this same company.  The position had become available again, and the next day I was hired.  It’s been my Day Job for the last 2 years.

I’m sure the Universe felt the whole incident was character building…

But I’m pretty sure she’s just a vindictive bitch!

Thanksgiving 1.0

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Ooof, it’s been a week full of discouragment, excitment and mucus. The arrival of Fall brought pumpkins in the garden, Mr. Man’s fresh baked bread and the first of the winter colds.

Yet, despite head splitting pressure and a wheezing old man cough I made it through, and today Mr. Man is making a turkey dinner with all the fixings to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving.

My house smells like turkey and fresh baked bread, I’m cuddled under a warm blanket and whether it’s me or the effects of the cold meds I’m on, I’m feel all warm and fuzzy and needing to give thanks.

Here’s the top 10 in no particular order…

A husband who loves to cook. Cause I get to enjoy goodness such as this.

My Garden. I’ve never been a gardener, but I am so enjoying the abundance we are reaping this fall!

Sweet unexpected moments like this.

The thrill of a discovering a new creative outlet.

Friends that make me laugh so hard we almost die… TWICE in one day!

Getting dressed up and feeling like a million bucks!

Getting away from it all.

The well-deserved success of my talented friends.

Dandelions on my keyboard.

Creativity. To think outside the box, imagine, take a chance and make it reality. It is who I am, my ultimate passion, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it!

Finally, for a bonus number 11 and in the spirit of “I’m the luckiest Polly ever!” I’m thankful for ROW80. Although this week wasn’t as productive as I’d like (what with officially posting my goals in the middle of the week, and then promptly catching the plague), I can still report the following success,

- I spent approx. 2 hours creating this week.

Despite the lack of concrete success, I can say ROW80 is helping me feel more focused and motivated than I have in a VERY long time and I’m excited to give it another shot this week.

Especially now that I don’t feel like death warmed over.

Goals are Good

Recently, I remembered that goals are good.  Not exactly an earth shattering realization, I know, but it was a major realization for me!

It took several hours of internet procrastination research but finally it I was reminded that ambition and drive without specific attainable goals will get you nowhere, FAST!

In a past life, not that long ago I was a MAJOR planner.

Do this.
Then that.
Then that over there.

It was my natural process until I let myself grow cynical.

Once upon a time, I was young and fresh out of college, with perfect plan firmly in hand, ready to succeed when suddenly…


A major unplanned bump in the road!  Being an eternal optimist, I took the bump in stride, adjusted my course and set out again, bright eyed and full of hope, when….


Another bump. Followed by another, and another and another and another….you get the picture.

Again and again the road map to success was ripped, and torn, and crumpled, and trampled, and scribbled on, and mistreated until finally I could hardly remember what the original plan had been and where I’d hoped it to go.

I was devastated and exhausted.

I felt absolutely defeated.

Except really, my life was not nearly so tragic as I make it sound.  I had food in my belly, clothes on my back, a roof over my head and an army of people at my beck and call who loved and supported me 100%.  I had zero to feel defeated about. Looking back I know that my depression was my own making. I wanted to SUCCEED, ACHIEVE and SHAKE THE WORLD! When I didn’t, no matter how many other good things came my way I still felt like a failure.

I still struggle with that, but that's another post.

The final nail in my inner planner's coffin was when I read this…

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~Joseph Campbell

Immediately, I made the decision to toss planning my future out the window. Instead I’d embrace one step at a time, one project at a time, one success or failure at a time. I’d fly by the seat of my pants and roll with the punches.

No plan meant nothing to be disappointed about when life took a u-turn.


Except, now I find myself flitting about, no plan, no path, no production and most importantly NO GOALS!

And remember... GOALS ARE GOOD!

Cue, A Round of Words in 80 Days. Kait Nolan's blogged words of wisdom are very “Pollyesque”, and so it didn’t take long before I was 100% on board with the challenge! (Here is one of my recent favorites)

This is a challenge primarily designed for writers, but the principles could be easily applied to ANYTHING.

Step 1: Set realistic measurable goals.
Step 2: Share goals with others.
Step 3: Check in twice a week to remain focused and accountable.

So here goes,
Goal 1: I will spend 1 hour, three times a week, dedicated to creating. Whether I write, take pictures, design, or craft, I will allow myself time to indulge in my passions without worrying about an end product to show for it.

Goal 2: I will take time to connect to the online community. I will spend 30 minutes every day connecting to brands and bloggers who I relate to, so that we can swim around in our liked minded awesomeness together.

Goal 3: I will write 500 words a week for the “top secret” Jessica and Mandy project. Every project has to start before it can be finished. I hear by pledge to GET THINGS STARTED!

Well, that’s it.

I’m a little late to the party… but better late than never RIGHT?

Wanna dip your toe in the pool too? Visit the Polly Facebook Page and declare to Pollyland your own personal goal.

Hurry before I bust open the #failureismybitch pinata without you! 

It's a Joy-ish Life

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The other day Jessica and I were diligently working away on our plans for global domination new business opportunities, when across from me, I heard a stifled giggle.

Dude, you seriously need to read this!

Coming around our partner desk to see what new source of procrastination inspiration she had discovered, I found what I’m sure was intended as a self-help article written by a by person claiming to be a Joyologist.

*Insert gaging noise* Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Honestly, I applaud those trying to spread positivity and encourage others to live a healthier and more fulfilled life, and I also think that outside-the-box job titles are rad, but seriously???? A JOYOLOGIST?!?!?


Listen closely people. Life is not, nor should it be, all about JOY!

It’s not a joyfest. There is no joy on tap. It is not a 24/7 joy buffet!

This great big thing we call the human experience is filled with a million more interesting, and considerably more useful emotions besides joy.

For example, what about anger?

Obviously, being angry all the time is not useful, but what about when anger motivates? What about the anger motivated by injustice, waste or plain stupidity that churns in your belly until you can’t stand it any longer. It’s this anger that leads to ACTION! Whether you scream, yell, or complete an entire Kevin Bacon in Footloose, dancing your way through an empty warehouse montage; when you are through your anger will thrust you forward, helping you to fight for your cause.

Non-stop joy does not inspire action, it breeds contentment.

Then, what about fear?

“The call is coming from inside the house!” produces blood-curdling fear, but what about the other type of fear that produces more than the basic flight response. You know that squirming tickle in your gut when you are taking a risk? That’s the type of fear that reminds you that what you are attempting is important, and going to help you achieve greatness. It’s the squirm that propels you to prepare and practice. This fear psychs you up and gets you ready for your next big opportunity.

Non-stop joy does not provide challenge, it maintains the status quo.

Finally, what about sadness?

For just as there is yin and yang, good and evil, and life and death, without sadness there can never be joy. Just as the saying goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”, sadness reminds us to cherish the things in our lives we love most. As we move through times of sadness and grief, we come out the other side with a deeper sense of gratitude and renewed life purpose.

Without the bad, there can be no good and thus, no joy.

In the long run seeking never ending joy has nothing to do with seeking happiness.  Killing yourself in order to achieve Non-Stop Joy is about seeking perfection.  The perfect, drama-free, everyone-loves-everyone and nothing bad ever happens life.

Um, in case you missed the memo, a perfect life does not exist.

Life can be unfair.  Life can be exhilarating. Life can be a bitch, but no matter what, it's better than the alternative.

So, to all the Joy Junkies out there trying to achieve the impossible Polly says,


Instead of wasting your time trying to find a legal, non-narcotic way to be blissed out all the time, how about accepting the value of a Joy-ish life.

A glimpse into MY Joyish Life

Believe me, by embracing a Joy-ish existence, you'll actually end up with a life filled with more joy in the long run.

Heh, what can I say, sometimes life can be a little weird like that.

The Door Exists!

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So, a few days ago I posted Ponderings.  An illustration of all the bizarre and defeating shit that runs through my head on a regular basis.

After reading it, Jessica (business partner, best friend and previously stated biggest fan) loved the "What the Hell!" message, but also felt the need to smack some serious sense into me.

Deciding physically harming her business partner might hurt business, she created this for me instead.

And guess, what?

There was no handle!  All I had to do was reach out and rip,
and what was waiting for me on the other side?

Yup, Polly now officially has her own pom-poms!


The cookies were even warm!!! 

Just the perfect kick in the pants reminding me to practice what I preach,
ignore the Doubt Demons and just, 
Happy Friday!  Remember to do something this weekend to remind yourself of your own unique AWESOMENESS!