Thursday, January 15, 2009

You Eat Puppies & Doggies???? Come Again!!

Olga had an absolutely bewildered look on her face when she asked with astonishment and shock, "You Eat Puppies and Doggies"?

Years ago, I worked in the printing business running machines in the bindery. A bindery is the part of the printing industry where you take the printed material and make it into fliers, books, pamphlets, coupons, whatever. I worked with many Hispanic people who were absolutely wonderful to work with. We did have a huge language gap, though. I had 2 years of Spanish in high school, which I passed, barely, with a "D". The folks I worked with had only some schooling with almost no high school. We had to work together, so we had to figure out a way to make this situation work, if we wanted our jobs. Fortunately, there was always somebody around who was fluent, or at least quite good at speaking both languages who could come to our rescue if needed.

Over some weeks and months, my lessons from high school would pop back into my head and I could remember short phrases or words. From time to time, my coworkers and I would ask each other how to say things in each others language. We became quite good at communicating with each other and I really thought that I had gotten this Spanish thing down. I was quickly brought back to earth when another Hispanic person whom I did not work side by side with spoke to me. Have you ever spoken to somebody and their sentence seems like it is just one very long word? It really seemed that way. They would talk so fast and I could comprehend maybe 3 words out of a paragraph and I guess "my deer in the headlights look" gave away the fact that I just wasn't getting it. Hence the need for the translator in another department.

My coworkers and I had eventually, unwittingly, come up with our own 3rd language. It was a blend of English and Spanish and body language and facial expression thrown in for good measure. I actually found out how important body language was when I tried to speak on the phone to them, and didn't understand what was being said! Over time, as we got to work together through the years, we had brought each other lunches or traded rides to work, or borrowed money, whatever, we became a close knit department.

One night I had made poppy seed dumplings for dinner. It is an old Polish recipe that my mom had handed down to me and I find this dish one of my favorite pigout foods. So I thought this would make a great lunch at work. I asked Olga, one of my coworkers, if she would like to try some poppy seed dumplings at lunch today. She looked at me with an "I don't understand" look, and I simply repeated if she would like to eat some poppy seed dumplings at lunchtime today. I had no clue how to even come close to Spanishizing these words and I figured that if she didn't understand the meaning of my words that I would just be trusted that this food was not only edible, but delicious. Olga had an absolutely bewildered look on her face when she asked with astonishment and shock, "You Eat Puppies and Doggies"!

I wasn't ready for that question. I roared in laughter and she was still in shock. Olga was speaking the only words that she knew of, and I was laughing at her. So how do you tell someone that doesn't speak your language completely about your favorite ethnic dish? I tried, gave up, and let her have some at lunch and yes she loved them.

There's another reason for this story. I was in quite a down mood yesterday morning. I went for a walk to blow off some energy and it didn't help. The saying goes, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade". Well there was a gap in time between the being handed lemons and the making lemonade part, and in that gap was absolute frustration. I have been doing much studying about how our thoughts aren't just nothing, but when directed can be an incredibly creative force that cannot be stopped, yet when unfocused can create mayhem. OK, great, here I was confronted with a problem, and my thoughts about the problem magnified it by 1000% and I was not a happy camper. I tried to change my thoughts and I could not do it.

Later, while Lisa was cleaning out the refrigerator, she ran across an unopened cottage cheese which we had bought to make poppy seed dumplings, and I had not done so yet. "Just leave the cottage cheese out, I'll make it right now", I said. So I made the dumplings, thought of Olga, had a laugh to myself and got out of the funk I was in. Isn't it great that our lives are so rich? Our memories can be such a tremendous resource. What a great way to change an attitude, by remembering good times from long ago. I'm sure most people won't understand the difficulty and determination it took to get to the point where Olga and I could even talk about puppies and doggies, but for me,that memory was just what I needed to give me a boost back to where I want my life to be. I don't like being crabby, and neither does Lisa!

If you're interested in learning more on how your thoughts create your life, in other words, change your thoughts and change your life, go to

If you're interested, here is the recipe for puppies & doggies, I mean poppy seed dumplings. I am going to appologize ahead of time, my mom didn't measure anything on this recipe, so I have no specifics, but the results are delicious.

1 large container of cottage cheese
2 eggs
lots of poppy seeds
enough flour to form an easy to roll dough

add cottage cheese and eggs to mixing bowl and while mixer is mixing your batch add the poppy seeds. I add enough to make the cheese pretty dark because you will add quite a bit of flour which will cause the seeds to be fewer than it looks right now. Slowly add flour, I add about a tablespoon at a time and allow it to mix in well. When the dough begins to stick to the beater, I stop the mixer and if the dough is real sticky and still loose, I add more flour. I like the dough to have a little stickyness because they cook better. Have a pan of water boiling. In a bowl, add several tablespoons of flour. Coat the palms of your hands with flour, yes this is going to be a mess, but what a fun mess it is. With a spoon scoop a bit of dough and roll between your hands into a ball. Once firmly rolled into a ball, I roll it into a long finger length dumpling and then drop into the boiling water. When the dumpling is first put into the water, it will sink. When it has cooked, it will rise to the top of the water. I let it sit in on top for an extra minute (approximate) before removing it because some of the thicker dumplings may not be cooked all the way through when it first rises. You can eat the dumplings right out of the water or you can brown them in butter. I enjoy them both ways. Perhaps you can create your own variation of the dumplings. You can dip them in sour cream or add in small pieces to salad, etc.

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