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Friday, April 30, 2010


Babies don't need a vacation, but I still see them at the beach... it pisses me off! I'll go over to a little baby and say 'What are you doing here? You haven't worked a day in your life!'
~ Steven Wright


This photo is from the Outer Banks in North Carolina. It is one of my favorite places. I've been there several times, but always in the off-season. I don't know if I'd like it during the in-season or not. I prefer most things to be at least a little bit off. However, if you've read very many of these blog entries, you already knew that.


The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.
~ Gilbert K. Chesterton


When I was little and we went to my grandma's house, we used to go down to the park and play. When my cousins where there sometimes we played this game called, "Dropped it. Got it." You had a ball or a rag or a piece of trash and everyone was on their stomachs on the merry go round. One person would have the item and then they would drop it. When they dropped it they would say, "Dropped it." When someone else would see it and pick it up, they would say, "Got it."

You would try to drop it out of reach or hide it under the merry go round or whatever.

The game was fun, but looking back on it, I wish we could have come up with a better name for it.


(photo by Chris Fowler)

Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.
~ Rabbinical Saying


Elizabeth walks into the kitchen...

Me: Hello, kid.
Elizabeth: Hello, adult.


Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.
~ Alex Haley


So, when I was out driving around, I saw this turtle on the road. I got on the ground and took some pictures of it. What is interesting is that the expression on the turtle's face is the same as the one on our cat's face most of the time. Disdain, annoyance, suspicion.

I doubt that he gave me much consideration or that he compared me to other animals he knew. If he did, though, I hope he compared me to a rhinocerous. The rhino is one of my favorite animals and I think maybe a rhinocerous and a turtle could find some things in common and become friends.

But, now that I think about it, how would he have even known what a rhinocerous is? Maybe one time he crawled past someone's window and they were watching discovery channel or something. And as slow as turtles are, maybe he got to see most of the program before he got past their window.


Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching for what it gets.
~ Henry Ford


I do not think I will ever understand why having people in costumes is considered good for business. I see this chicken and it does not make me think, "Oh, I want to go and get an oil change." It makes me think, "Oh, I want to get far away from that chicken!"


If you are out of trouble, watch for danger.
~ Sophocles

I know a guy, Joe Burke, who has adventures and tells other people stories about them. I remember one time he told a story about ignoring a sign or going over a fence or something to get a rock or a photo... Whoever was there when he was telling the story said, "Weren't you afraid of getting in trouble?" His response was, "Getting into trouble? What does that even mean? No one can get me into trouble. If I get caught doing something someone doesn't like, I might just have to say I wouldn't do that again."

I think about that sometimes. Like when I saw the sign above and got my photos, anyway. I assume the sign meant the road was closed to cars. Not to people.


If I ever opened a trampoline store, I don't think I'd call it Trampo-Land, because you might think it was a store for tramps, which is not the impression we are trying to convey with our store. On the other hand, we would not prohibit tramps from browsing, or testing the trampolines, unless a tramp's gyrations seemed to be getting out of control.
~ Jack Handey


So, you might think that laying on a trampoline while people jump so that you can get a photo is a good idea. Well, you can get some good photos -- you just have to take a million to get things in focus. But, all in all, it is a BAD idea to do this. Because then you feel like you're going to puke when you're done.

That's how I feel right now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out and difficult.
~ Heraclitus


I once heard a comedian say that he practiced "Zen Driving" and just assumed the person in front of him was going where he needed to be. That sums up my day off today. I didn't follow anyone, but took roads from one small town to another. I got lost at one point, but had a general idea of where I needed to go. I also happened to have an atlas, which was helpful.

Plus, in Iowa, you can usually see the next town on the horizon because there's not a lot to block the view.

When I go driving, I find very random things. Like all these shoes / boots on the fence posts. I don't know why they were there, how long they'd been there, etc. But there were hundreds of boots and shoes. I don't know if I'd prefer to know the real story behind this display or if I'd rather make up my own.


Make up my own. I just decided.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Trash has given us an appetite for art.
~ Pauline Kael


One of my favorite things in the world is when the big dumpsters show up outside of residence halls at the end of spring semester. It reminds me that students who arrived in the fall are leaving different people than when they walked onto campus. It's not that I want them to leave forever -- not at all. And it is interesting to see what all they managed to make fit in their residence hall rooms or apartments or whatever. If it is TOO interesting -- like a giant plastic tub full of 'shrooms someone was growing, well, then we call the police.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


~ Jack Handey


So, I have a lot of quirks. Two of them relate to driving and music on the radio. If a Phil Collins song comes on the radio, it is imperative that the station not be changed (yes, in case you wondering, this also applies to the group Genesis). Why? Because I have had two flat tires in my life. Both of them happened immediately after I changed the radio from a Phil Collins song.

The second music driving quirk is that if Whitney Houston comes on, you must change the radio immediately. This is because every care accident I've had (except for the random flat tire) has occurred while Whitney Houston was singing on the radio.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world,
had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then
lay down on our blankets for a nap.
~ Barbara Jordan

When we lived in the residence halls and the girls were in Girl Scouts, they outsold the rest of their troops by a LOT. The most they sold was the year Maddie sold 500+ boxes and Elizabeth sold about 300 boxes. You can see those cookies on display here.

You'd think we would have been proud of them and excited for them. We were at the time of the selling, but when it came to distributing and collecting the money... Well, let's just say they aren't in Girl Scouts anymore.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two weeks' vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.
~ Dorothy Canfield Fisher


Every once in a while I will take a day off just to go out and take pictures. I've always gone by myself -- or maybe with Ripley -- and just wandered around. My favorite times of the year are in the fall and spring.

It's amazing how much energy I get from that.

Sometimes, though, there is stress that comes along with the adventure. Last Monday I took the day off and went to a few small towns around here. Sometimes I see things I want to photograph, but I worry about getting too close for fear that someone will freak out. These are a couple of images of someone's garage doors. They're really cool, but it was the kind of house where you thought it best not to trespass.


Writing is conscience, scruple, and the farming of our ancestors.
~ Edward Dahlberg


I remember at a staff training one time we were sharing things about ourselves so we could get to know one another better because if you know people better you work better with them. Unless they're bad people, then you don't want to work with them at all.

Anyway, I don't remember where this training was happening, but I remember sharing that I wished I was a farmer because I really respect farmers. And one of my favorite things is to see a tractor at work in the fields at night. Then I decided instead of becoming a farmer, I could just save up my money and buy a tractor and drive it at night.


Honesty is like an icicle; if once it melts that is the end of it.
~ American Proverb


I don't like the heat. I'd rather it was cold all the time. When things get hot, everything is revealed, but when it's freezing, things stay concealed.


Fame does not always light at random, sometimes she chooses her man.
~ Seneca


When I was in college and used to go to Iowa City to visit friends, there was a soda machine behind one of their apartment complexes. It had a variety of beverages. My favorite, though, was the button labeled "random." I don't know if anyone who ever tried it.

That machine was located in the parking lot where we were pretty sure we heard someone either slaughtering or fighting chickens one time, too.


I love fishing. You put that line in the water and
you don't know what's on the other end.
Your imagination is under there.
~Robert Altman


This is the dock where I caught a fish that, while I was reeling it in, was bitten by another fish. I almost was able to get them both in, but the bigger fish let go at the last second.

There are not photos which capture that experience.

There also were no witnesses besides the person doing the fishing.

I think that's the way fishing is supposed to be, though. The best stories only have one witness. Unless you count the fish.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


An ugly baby is a very nasty object - and the prettiest is frightful.
~ Queen Victoria


I am not so much worried about Elizabeth adopting 17 children from all around the world. I am, however, worried, that they will come to live with us.

Okay, and if even one of them looks like the baby in this photo, I would be worried about that, too.


We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
~ Charles R. Swindoll

So, Maddie stood around waiting and waiting to get her photo with Hillary Clinton at this event at ISU. She was very patient and several people probably cut in front of her. Finally, I said, just go up and stand NEAR her and smile and I'll take your photo. And Maddie did! Sometimes she won't do things like that because she gets embarrassed. I'm proud that she did it that time, though.

And, this is Maddie's mom pretending to be a secret service agent.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


There are admirable potentialities in every human being.
Believe in your strength and your youth. Learn to repeat endlessly to yourself,
'It all depends on me.'"
~ Andre Gide


A couple of summers ago, I was driving Elizabeth to a judo tournament for Iowa Games. She was humming to herself. At first, I thought, "That's good. She's not too stressed about the match." Then I realized she was humming the Darth Vader theme and I thought, "Her opponent better watch out."

Monday, April 19, 2010


I think people tend to live, whether they like it or not, influenced by what's next door to them.
~ Campbell Scott


I like doors and windows. I find, however, that people are more comfortable with you taking pictures of their doors than they are with you going up to their windows with a camera in your hand.


Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


You go into a letter all alone. Maybe with your friend in mind as you write, but the trip is just yours. It's a chance to tell your version of the facts and to create a document substantiating said facts.

Email is better than a phone call (to me), but it's still interactive. I think I most enjoy letters because I go uninterrupted in the storytelling -- though occasionally interrupted in the writing.

I wrote two letters a few weeks ago. I used to write letters all the time. I need to go back to that. I'm sure people are anxiously awaiting what I have to say to them -- and just to them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My music is best understood by children and animals.
~ Igor Stravinsky

Songs in my head from the past few months (because I know you're dying to see the complete list):

4: Battlefield by Jordin Sparks
5: Knock you Down by keri Hilson featuring Ne-Yo and Kanye West
7: Love on a Hot Afternoon by Gene Watson
8: White Christmas by Bing Crosby
9: Get Here by Oleta Adams
10: Be Italian by Fergie
11: Cinema Italiano by Kate Hudson
13: Somebody's Cryin' by Chris Isaak
17: It's Gonna Be by Norah Jones
25: I Want You Back by Sonos
26: It's So hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday by Boyz II Men
27: You belong to Me by Taylor Swift

1: If you Only Knew by Shindown
6: King Herod's Song from Jesus Christ Superstar

Then there was a gap because I thought maybe people were annoyed with my morning song postings. My friend Matt Bennett asked me where the songs had gone and I said I would resume posting them as a belated birthday present for him.

14: I am Human by Dione Farris
15: Mama, I'm Coming Home by Ozzy
16: Do You Remember by Sean John
17: Aqualung by Jethro Tull
18: It's a Sunshine Day by The Brady Bunch
19: Hound Dog by Big Mama Thornton
20: Ring of Fire by The Carter Family
21: Quinn the Eskimo by Julie London
22: Replay by IYAZ featuring Sean Kingston
23: I am 16 Going on 17 from The Sound of Music
24: Pac Man theme music (NOT Pac Man Fever)
25: Wonder by Natalie Merchant
26: Paparazzi by Lady Gaga
27: Toxic by Brittney Spears
28: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack

1: Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. by Simon and Garfunkel
2: Bad Romance by Lady Gaga
3: According to you by Orianthi
4: Doo Wah Diddy by Manfred Mann
5: Bad Romance by Lady Gaga
6: Gagnsta's Paradise by Coolio
7: Mr Big stuff by Jean Knight
8: C'mon and Ride It (The Train) by Quad City DJs
9: Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce
11: Walk on By by Dionne Warwick
12: Theme from The Office
13: If You Ain't Got the Do Re Mi by Ani Difranco
14: When Something is Wrong with my Baby by Sam and Dave
15: Oh What a Beautiful Mornin' from Oklahoma
16: Freedom by Wham
17: Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets
18: Home is Where Your Heart Is by Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs
19: I Love You by The Plain White Ts
21: Kathy's song By Simon and Garfunkel
22: Soul Sister by Train
23: If you've Got Leavin' on Your Mind by Patsy Cline
24: Crazy for You by Heart
25: It's Sad to Belong to Someone Else by England Dan and John Ford
26: Mercy by Duffy
27: Am I the Only One by the Dixie Chicks
28: I Love How You Love Me by Bobby Vinton
29: I can't Help Falling in Love by Ingrid Michaelson
30: If You Only Knew by Shinedown
31: The Hy-Vee jingle

1: Be Good Johnny by Men at Work
2: Time is on My Side by The Rolling Stones
3: Hide and Seek by Imogene Heap
4: Burning Heart by Survivor
5: Why by Annie Lennox
6: Realize by Colbie Callait
7: Runaway Train by Soul Asylum
8: Theme song from Three's Company
9: Chains of Love by erasure
10: Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
11: Somebody to Love by Queen
12: A medley I made up in my head of Under the Sea and We are the World

Monday, April 12, 2010


(Photo by Chris Fowler)

"Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what other think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things."

~ Og Mandino


This photo was when E was "Person of the Day" (noted on the bulletin board in the background) in maybe 2nd or 3rd grade and got to bring a special person. She chose Maddie. If that were to happen again today, my guess is that Elizabeth might choose to bring the cat or a special piece of glass she found.

You will note, that though Maddie is wearing the crown, E is the one who is very aware of where the camera is...

Sunday, April 11, 2010


~ Dame Edna Everage


Chris is a great mom. She has fun with her kids, teaches them to be responsible, role models for them how to be strong and confident, and so on and so forth...

When I first met Chris and the girls, however, I was concerned when Elizabeth was doing what Elizabeth does and Chris yelled, "I'M GOING TO CRUSH YOUR SKULL!!!"

I would have been more afraid except that Elizabeth just laughed and trotted down the hallway.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.
~ Erma Bombeck


A few years ago when we were at World's of Fun and Maddie was driving the old time cars, it was kind of funny. She kept hitting the tracks and not steering well and being fastslow with the gas. We laughed.

Now that she has a learner's permit... Well, it was funnier back then.


Fidelity is the sister of justice.
~ Horace

Foolishness is indeed the sister of wickedness.
~ Sophocles


And, apparently, disgust is the sister of hilarity.


I like everything perfect. Everything has to be neat. My sister is 5, and she's more messy than I am. I make my bed every morning, everything's perfect.
My shoes are all arranged. It's sad.
~ Dakota Fanning


Everyone is sad sometimes. But sometimes sad and funny overlap. Like this photo. Funny, sad, and then funny again.

My favorite part is that Elizabeth only has on one sock. Little known fact, she wakes up EVERY morning with only one sock.

Friday, April 9, 2010


For an introvert his environment is himself and can never be subject
to startling or unforeseen change.
~ Quentin Crisp

Chris thinks it is odd that I have a blog and post so much to facebook when I can sit face-to-face with someone and not say anything at all. I don't think it's odd. I think it makes sense because most of what I say or think is really just for my own amusement, anyway.


"No matter how far life pushes you down, no matter how much you hurt,
you can always bounce back."
~ Sheryl Swoopes


So, the day after Thanksgiving, we got up at 3 a.m. to buy a trampoline. You will be shocked to find out that there was not a huge rush on trampolines in late November in Iowa.

We "hid" the trampoline in the garage under a green tarp from November until April. The girls didn't look under the tarp. We didn't tell them NOT to (or they would have). They are remarkably uncurious about things in the garage.

On Easter Sunday, Chris came home from her mom and dad's and we showed the girls the trampoline box. They were very excited. Then, it was getting late, so they had to go to bed.

It rained for two days and we were not able to put up the trampoline.

On the next day, Chris and I came home from work and Elizabeth had cleaned the house. Elizabeth then asked very nicely if we could put together the trampoline. There were storm warnings and wind advisories, but it was impossible to say no since she had tried so hard to get everything ready.

It's a lot easier to put together a trampoline than you might think.

Chris: Elizabeth, I want to tell you a story about a little girl who always wanted a trampoline, but never got one. Even though she wanted one SO MUCH.

Elizabeth: Was that little girl YOU, Mama?

Chris: YES, Elizabeth!! YES it WAS ME! And now we have trampoline all our own!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


If I make a fool of myself, who cares?
I'm not frightened by anyone's perception of me.

~ Angelina Jolie


April Fool's Day is my second favorite holiday.

One year I used a straw to remove the jelly from a jelly doughnut at our house. I then refilled it with mustard.

Another year, I removed all the labels from the cans in my mom's kitchen cupboards and switched them around. Think you're having corn for dinner? NO! You're having sauerkraut! Want some green beans? TOO BAD! You get peaches!

This morning we were talking about tricks to play. I left a list of chores for Maddie (who had already gone to school). The list included the following:

* vacuum the entire upstairs
* sweep and mop the kitchen floor
* sweep the bedrooms
* vacuum the stairs
* vacuum the basement
* pick up all the dog poop in the back yard
* finish the laundry and fold it all

I also left a list for Elizabeth that said:

* have a snack
* clean your room (it's ALWAYS clean)
* organize some things on the new computer
* dust the living room

I did put a note at the bottom of Maddie's list that said "OVER -->." On the other side it said, "April Fool's!"

Elizabeth didn't want me to write "over" on the sheet. She thought it would be funny if Maddie found out it was a joke after all the chores were done. Chris and I disagreed.

I also told Elizabeth she should get the rubber rat in the rat trap we have in the basement and put it in Maddie's bed. (Why do we have a rubber rat in a rat trip in the basement? In case we need it for days like today.)

Elizabeth said, "It would be funnier if we got a real rat, killed it, and put it in her bed!"

I am afraid I may have created a monster.

I am also afraid to go home tonight.