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Saturday, January 30, 2010


Wisdom and virtue are like the two wheels of a cart.
~ Japanese Proverb


When I was a kid and I'd be drifting off to sleep, I'd just be starting to dream that I was on my back on one of those cart things that slides under a car so a mechanic can look at it? Then, just as I started moving, I'd roll off the cart. This caused me to jolt myself awake.

It still happens sometimes, but not too often.

I've never even used one of those mechanic cart things, though. I wonder why that was the thing I always rolled off of.


Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

~ Buddha


Ripley knows several words - out, food, NO, bad dog, go, sit, down, stay, speak... But his favorite word is definitely WALK. He, like probably most dogs, is a creature of habit and could go on the same walk every day for the rest of his life and be quite satisfied with it. Checking out who has been there, peed there, is currently there -- these are rewarding things for him.

I wish I could find so much satisfaction walking in my neighborhood. However, if I consistently discovered that my neighbors were peeing on my tree or in my yard, I would be very displeased.


Privacy and security are those things you give up when you show the world what makes you extraordinary.
~ Margaret Cho
I guess just because a town is small, it doesn't mean you know everyone in it or everything about it.
A case in point: J.D. Salinger died this week. I read in the paper that he was very reclusive. He died at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. I lived in / near Cornish, NH for several months. The claims about his reclusivity must have been true. I don't remember ever seeing him around.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Many do with opportunities as children do at the seashore; they fill their little hands with sand, and then let the grains fall through, one by one, till all are gone.
~ Thomas Jones
Once upon a time we had our friend Cristina babysit for the girls. Elizabeth was a terror that day. She jumped on the furniture and wouldn't listen to Cristina. When she started messing with a little zen garden we had, Cristina told her ot leave it alone. Instead of doing what she was told, Elizabeth took a handful of the sand and put it in her mouth. Thankfully, Cristina reported the incident.
Chris reprimanded Elizabeth and told her she had to apologize to Cristina for the way she behaved. She told Elizabeth to practice before they went to see Cristina. I played the role of Cristina. Elizabeth said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for putting sand in my mouth." For some reason, I got the giggles and couldn't stop laughing.
At that point, I was no longer allowed to assist with the reprimand.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


"If you're at a party, and you say to somebody, 'Isn't it hot outside?' then how interesting are you? But if you say, 'Sit down, I'm going to tell you a story that'll knock your socks off,'
they'll never forget you."
~ Liz Smith


So, Bella hit me in the head with her lunchbox. But it's actually not a lunchbox, it's a wine cooler. She just uses it for a lunchbox and calls it a lunchbox. We all know it's a wine cooler, though.

Anyway, she got yellow carded.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


It is better to travel well than to arrive.

~ Buddha


I like roadtrips. I like to travel with the girls -- when we're properly prepared with distractions. One game I made up is an international version of "The Quiet Game." When things get too loud, one of us yells out, "El Silencio - begin right now!!" And then we see who can stay quiet the longest.

Chris and I usually choose to lose so that we can have a conversation and actually hear one another, but it keeps the girls quiet for a little bit.


A library is thought in cold storage.

~ Herbert Samual


Elizabeth: What if there wasn't a 1? Then there would be BIG change in numbers!! And 2 would become the new 1.

Elizabeth's thoughts never make it to cold storage.


Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.

~ Pope John Paul II


Above is one of the presents Maddie gave to Elizabeth for Christmas this year. I think it's awesome because it's much more like a gift E would have given Maddie. While she was repulsed initially, eventually Elizabeth discovered that the lollipop tasted like green apple. I don't think she's gotten through to the center, yet.

When we were discussing the holidays, I told Elizabeth she wasn't getting any gifts this year. I told her we would still wrap some packages for her, though.

Me: Would you like your nothing in a bag or a box?

Elizabeth: (not missing a beat) Box -- with a little bow on top.

Friday, January 22, 2010


(photo by Chris Fowler)
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
~Kahlil Gibran
Maddie: Your hair smells like bacon! (Pause) That's not an insult. I bet the rest of you smells like bacon, too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.

~ Maya Angelou


Maddie: Okay, so my group got gonorrhea. Some other people got warts and stuff. I would have hated that.

NOTE: This is regarding homework.


Technology is so much fun, but we can drown in our technology.

The fog of information can drive out knowledge.

~ Daniel J. Boorstin


Chris (driving): Holy fog, Batman!

Elizabeth: What does that mean? Is it like 'cause in the '40s and '50s they'd say "Batman" all the time?

Chris: Shut up.


You'll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea.
~ Erin Nightingale

Maddie: What can we do tonight?

Me: What do you want to do?

Maddie: I know! We can have some contests. Like on America's Funniest Home Videos these guys tried to see who could drink the most soy sauce. I could win that. Or steak sauce. I could do that, too. (thinking pause) Or we could just watch American's Funniest Home Videos. I like that show.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


The dog's kennel is not the place to keep a sausage.
While Ripley is a fairly patient dog (as exemplified above), he also is able and willing to help himself when he wants to. An example would be this week when Ripley found a can of SPAM in our office (why we have cans of SPAM in the office is another story for another blog). Somehow he opened it and crushed the can enough to get the SPAM out and ate it.
The office is also where Ripley's bed is, so the above proverb is very appropriate.
How he did it all without cutting himself, we aren't sure.
I guess it didn't do him too much harm, though. After all, what is SPAM? Pork shoulder and ham.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Education is a precondition to survival in America today.
~ Marian Wright Edelman
In the fall, Elizabeth's 5th grade class was struck by H1N1. By the end of the week, out of 23 kids, 18 kids AND the teacher were out sick. Elizabeth summarizes it in reference to her friend Anna in this way, "Anna was one of the survivors. We call them survivors if they made it through the week."

Monday, January 11, 2010


One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.

~ Albert Einstein


My advice to Elizabeth when dropping her off at school has always been, "Don't let natural selection get you." It has worked so far.


You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in.

~ Arlo Guthrie


When the girls were little, I used to say, "Hey -- look at the Christmas lights!" when there weren't any Christmas lights up. They would look. As they turned their heads I would say, "Oh, no! They burned out!"

Children are fun.


No matter how advanced your camera, you still need to be responsible for getting it to the right place at the right time and pointing it in the right direction to get the photo you want.
~ Ken Rockwell


I worry about what will happen if Elizabeth creates a blog. I'm sure it will be interesting and artistic and funny and insightful.

Or maybe she doesn't realize how interesting her observations are. If she does, my blog may become obsolete.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


An increasing number of Japanese are seeking to heal their weariness in this stressful society. But we also need to consider the dogs. How can you say they never feel stressed in the society their owners see as being stressful?
~ Shinobu Ishimura


Today I went to the dentist. He asked if I was having any problems and I said I had one tooth in the back that was hurting a little. They took an x-ray and he said it didn't look like anything was wrong with it. He asked if I was grinding my teeth or experiencing more stress than usual. I responded, "No. Not more than usual."

I probably need to take the dog for more walks. I think that might make my tooth hurt less. I may want to wait until the temperature gets above zero, though. Otherwise, I won't know if my tooth hurts because of the cold, the stress, or an actual tooth issue.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I want to get a job as someone who names kitchen appliances. Toaster, refrigerator, blender... All you do is say what the shit does and add "er." I want to work for the Kitchen Appliance Naming Institute. Hey, what does that do? It keeps shit fresh. Well, that's a fresher... I'm going on break.
~ Mitch Hedberg
Appliance issues run in my family. I remember once making chocolate chip cookies while my mom was on the phone. Somehow I got my hair caught in the mixer. Amazingly, I convinced my mom not to say anything to my aunt about it while she was talking to her on the phone.
My dad had an obsession with strange, little appliances. The weirdest one was the "in the eggshell egg beater." It was a wire on a motor. You poked the wire through the shell, turned it on for a few seconds and then when you turned it off and cracked the egg and it was already beaten. My dad insisted that it saved the time and water needed for washing a fork and bowl. Never mind the fact that the "in the eggshell egg beater" wasn't dishwasher safe and was hard to get clean and probably had salmonella on it because you couldn't get all of the egg off of it.
On the positive side, however, I did inherit from my father an uncanny ability to fix vacuum cleaners.

Monday, January 4, 2010


As the soil, however rich it may be, cannot be productive without cultivation,
so the mind without culture can never produce good fruit.
~ Seneca
Elizabeth (cleaning out her lunch box): Whew!! Cucumbers aren't supposed to smell like banana bread!