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Saturday, July 31, 2010


Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
~ Lao Tzu

Songs in my head in the past few months...


05 - "Defying Gravity" from Wicked
03 - "The Twist" by Chubby Checker
01 - "Airplnes" by BoB

31 - Main Theme from Star Wars by John Williams
30 - "Bless the Beasts and the Children" by The Carpenters
29 - "Apologies" by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
28 - "Mercy" by Duffy
27 - "Oh My" by Gin Wigmore
26 - "Time of the Season" by The Zombies
25 - "C'mon-a My House" by Rosemary Clooney
24 - "Trouble Me" by 10,000 Maniacs
23 - "When Something is Wrong with my Baby" by Aaron Neville
22 - "Missionary Man" by The Eurythmics
21 - "Bang Bang" by Melanie Fiona
20 - "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone" by Glass Tiger
19 - "Serenity" by Godsmack
17 - "Hot in the City" by Billy Idol
15 - "The Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key
14 - "Coat of Many Colors" by Dolly Parton
10 - "Wake up Call" by Maroon 5
08 - "The Three Bells" by The Browns
06 - "Oh What A Night" by The Four Seasons
05 - "I Want You Back" by Sonos
04 - "Pa Bailar - Siempre Quiero Mas" by Bajafondo
03 - "The Dancing Bear" by The Mamas and The Papas
01 - "I Just Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble

30 - "Time and Tide" by Basia
29 - "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele
27 - "Bust Your Windows" by Amber Riley
26 - "My Strongest Suit" from the musical Aida
23 - "Single Girl" by Sandy Posey
20 - "Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight" by Amos Lee
19 - "Summertime" by Billy Stewart
18 - "Mony Mony" by Tommy James and the Shondells
17 - "Be My Lover" by LaBouche
16: "The Mating Game" by Bitter:Sweet
15: "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
14: "Single Ladies" by Beyonce
12: "Sweet Dreams (Beautiful Nightmare)" by Beyonce
09: "Dimming of the Day" by Bonnie Raitt
08: "If We Ever Meet Again" by Timbaland featuring Katy Perry
06: "Telephone" by Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce
05: "Serenity" by Godsmack
04: "In My Head" by Jason Derulo
03: "Waking Up in Vegas" by Katy Perry
02: "Red, Red Wine," by Neil Diamond

30 - "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga
28 - "Telephone" by Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce
27 - "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter
26 - "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher
25 - "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga
24 - "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash
22 - "Already Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
21 - "White Wedding" by Billy Idol
20 - "Little Boxes" by Pete Seeger
19 - "Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce
17 - The Sesame Street theme song
16 - "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama
15 - The Armour hot dog song
14 - "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred
12 - "Why Don't You Get a Job" by the Offspring
11 - "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum
10 - "If you Only Knew"
08 - "Always the Last to Know" by Del Amitri
07 - "Give Me Some Kind of Sign" by Brenton Woods
06 - "Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke
05 - "Already Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
04 - "Disturbia" by Beyonce - I mean Rhianna (Thanks, Addie!)
03 - "Instant Karma" by John Lennon
01 - "Electric Avenue" by Eddie Grant

30 - "Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga
29 - "Cockles and Mussels" - Irish folk song
28 - "Gotta Be Somebody for Me" by Nickelback
27 - "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head" by B.J. Thomas
26 - "Candle on the Water" by Helen Reddy
25 - "In My Head" by Jason Derulo
23 - "C is for Cookie" by Cookie Monster
21 - "Someday" by Rob Thomas
20 - "Wind of Change" by The Scorpions
16 - "I Think I Love You" by the Partridge Family
14 - "Second Chance" by Shinedown
13 - "Middle Ground" by Mary Chapin Carpenter


Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.
~ Langston Hughes

I'm not sure who designed the sign in the above photo, but I would think that there could be other things more welcoming than a wild animal known to carry rabies dressed up like someone who is going to rob you.


If you are bitter at heart, sugar in the mouth will not help you.
~ Yiddish Proverb


I wonder, in that neighborhood where the comedians all grew up, if they used to run down to the John Candy store on the corner after school.


Every exit is an entrance to somewhere else.
~ Tom Stoppard

I think, if I had to choose, I'd rather make a grand exit than a grand entrance. When you enter grandly, everyone's expectations are really high that you'll be grand the whole time you're there. If you exit grandly, people just mill about after you've left and go, "Man, I wish she was still here."

Sometimes I try to sneak away quietly, though.

Most times, let's face it, I don't show up at all.


All I'm gonna do is just go on and do what I feel.
~ Jimi Hendrix

Chris: You should go to Berkeley.
Elizabeth: What's that?
Michelle: A school in California for hippies.
Elizabeth: They have a school for hippies?


'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said Alice.
'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.'
~ Lewis Carroll

Chris: I just saved our cat from getting pre-wrap on her head.


College isn't the place to go for ideas.
~ Helen Keller


Elizabeth: Why'd you go to a small school, Mom?
Chris: Well, at a small school all the teachers know you.
Elizabeth: Uh... That's not always a good thing, Mom.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Personality is the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into that big black space where the audience is.
~ Mae West


Elizabeth: My slogan is "Go Big or Go Home!" At least that's what Julie said.

Julie is the mom of Elizabeth's friend Madeline. We are happy that Julie lets Elizabeth hang out with Madeline. Madeline is nice and quiet and a welcome visitor in our home. Elizabeth is probably the Eddie Haskell of her friend group. Well, not really. Wikipedia describes Eddie as, "an archetype for insincere sycophants." Elizabeth is no sycophant. Yes, I had to look up sycophant to see what it meant. No, I'm not going to tell you. Go look it up yourself. Seriously, you can't rely on this blog alone to expand your vocabulary. You need to put forth a little effort yourselves.

All that said, Elizabeth is more like Sophia Petrillo. And that is appropriate since Chris and I are always saying she's an 80 year old woman in a little girl's body.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My mother said to me, "If you are a soldier, you will become a general.
If you are a monk, you will become the Pope."
Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.
~ Pablo Picasso

I don't know of a better parent than Chris Fowler.


However... There are times when I question her parenting methods. For example, at Elizabeth's last orchestra concert, she was texting people and posting messages on Facebook trying to sell Elizabeth's violin. WHILE the concert was going on.

On a slightly related note, I don't know why Elizabeth has on only one flip flop in the above photo.


An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have.
~ Andy Warhol


So, I like to draw. I can draw most things kind of. In a childlike sort of cartoonish way, I can draw. Anyway, when we go out to eat and there are paper placemats and someone at our table gets a set of four crayons, I always like to draw. When I do, I usually ask someone, "What should I draw?"

Well, once upon a time we were at a restaurant and I asked Maddie, "Maddie, what should I draw?"

She responded, "Draw a lemur fighting an anteater in a litter box."

I haven't asked, "What should I draw?" since.


Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo.
~ Paul Simon


Maddie wrote a letter to the editor for a project in school. It voiced her opposition to zoos. It started with a quote, gave her rationale and provided evidence to back her claim that zoos are bad.

We were driving around discussing it. When we were done, things were quiet for a little bit. Then, when whatever song was on the radio finished, Elizabeth spoke. "You know," she began, "I think that Ames should get a zoo. It would be a good tourist attraction and would bring money to Ames."

It must be really difficult to be Elizabeth Fowler's sister.

NOTE: The above image was not taken at a zoo. We don't have much zoo footage in our photos. The closest I could find was either the llama above OR this photo that Elizabeth took:

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Even rabbits insult a dead lion.
~ Proverb

This is Louie in his cage at the county fair. Elizabeth was convinced he did not like being in the same barn as the chickens and roosters. There were lots of different kinds of rabbits. They each had a label with their breed and other info like this:

There was one rabbit who, under breed, is labeled "meat." I am convinced he knew his fate because he was the most depressed looking of all the rabbits.

When it was all said and done, Elizabeth got three ribbons for the rabbit. A red ribbon for the junior class (red because he was too heavy for the junior class even though he's less than a year old); a blue ribbon for the senior class; and a purple ribbon for showmanship. Not sportsmanship (which is apparently what I posted on Facebook -- my apologies to Elizabeth and to 4H rabbit-showing-children everywhere).


I've learned you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
~ Maya Angelou


Elizabeth: What's the name of the ISU catcher?

Maddie: Josie Banks.

Elizabeth: Really, Maddie? Seriously, you think that's her name?!

Maddie: It IS. Remember, I went with you to that game and we got their autographs?

Elizabeth: Maddie, you didn't go with me.

Michelle: (looking on phone) Um, there's no Josie Banks at Iowa State.

Maddie: (laughing) I know. I made it up. It sounded good, though.

Michelle: Yes, it did.

Chris: I'm never gong to believe anything you say, again.

Maddie: Your hair looks nice, Mom.


Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.
~ George Carlin


This is a photo of the girls petting a random cat we encountered at some park in Minnesota. We encourage the girls to pet strange animals because it teaches them to be gentle and caring. And also, if they get scratched or bitten and have Inoculation lymphoreticulosis ("cat scratch fever") they can write about that in their college entrance essays because I bet they give pretty good scholarships to kids who have overcome adversity like cat scratch fever.


Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
~ Plato


I wonder if environmental (or maybe meteorological) psychologists ever discuss who would win in a battle of Mother Nature vs. Mother Nurture.

I also wonder if there are such things as environmental or meteorological psychologists.


Courage consists in the power of self-recovery.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


So, last week Chris had to have shoulder surgery. She's fine.

Here are a few things that were heard around our house related to the procedure:

Elizabeth: (hugging Chris' shoulder) Last time I'll be huggin' THIS shoulder.
Chris: What? Why?!
Elizabeth: 'Cause it'll be all freaky. They're shaving the bone and stuff.

Maddie: Neko's head smells like the hospital because Mom was petting her.

Elizabeth: I somehow want to say a sentence about Mom being home from the hospital to Eleanor so she'll make us cookies. I LOVE her cookies!


I remember how my great-uncle Jerry would sit on the porch and whittle all day long. Once he whittled me a toy boat out of a larger toy boat I had. It was almost as good as the first one, except now it had bumpy whittle marks all over it. And no paint, because he had whittled off the paint.
~ Jack Handey


I wonder if Uncle Remus had a brother named Uncle Romulus.


If you would have a faithful servant and one that you like, serve yourself.
~ Benjamin Franklin

Elizabeth: So, she comes in my room and says, "Hey, Elizabeth, I'll pay you $3 if you will be my servant." And she ended up paying me $4.90.

Maddie: And I need that money back because you didn't do anything.

Elizabeth: I let you lay on my couch.


(Photo by Chris Fowler)

If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do all the rest have to drown, too?
~ Steven Wright

Maddie: Oh my gosh!! The locker room smelled so bad today. It smelled like pee. Someone was peeing in the drain. I don't know why. And then there was a piece of poop in the pool And Lucas said, "That's not poop!" And we're all huddled around and I'm like, oh my gosh there were little kids in there before us. It was totally one of them! And Lucas was so annoyed with us and kept yelling that it wasn't poop, but they had to get a pole to get it out and put it in a plastic bag. It was so disgusting.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch.
~ Gilda Radner

The other day Elizabeth took her tie-dye shirt to the county fair for 4H competition. On the way home, we talked about what she could do for next year. That night, she and Maddie retired to the basement for about 2 hours. When they came up, Elizabeth was wearing this duct tape dress.

It was one of the few times I can remember the girls striking Chris and I speechless. They are amazing.

PS. I don't know what was up with E's hair that night.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


True friends stab you in the front.
~ Oscar Wilde
Shanda is a friend of mine from Ohio. The very first time she met me, the very first thing she said to me was, "Your name is Michelle, right? I hate the name Michelle."

We have been great friends ever since.


Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
~ George Santayana

If you go to Zearing, Iowa, you can see this amazing rock /sculpture garden. Well, sort of. You can see it from the outside. At least if it's closed like it was the day that Maddie and I found it. I say found rather than discovered because it existed whether or not we had ever seen it.

I took a photo of the phone number for the place and I hope to call and schedule a time one day to go back and go through the entire thing.

Secretly, I hope to one day create my own rock and sculpture garden in my home. Not-so-secretly, I suspect this will be forbidden. If you get too carried away it can throw the whole thing off and you end up with random artwork like this (and I already have a parking meter...):


If you have more money than you need, you have to give it away. It's a duty. I get to choose whom to sponsor, and I like to give to the areas that I know something about.
~ Gordon Getty

Above is the banner of sponsors for Elizabeth's softball team. While it may not have "Chico's Bail Bonds" on the list, I am so excited that it has "The Asylum - Tattoo and Body Piercing" and "Iowa Division Investigations, Inc." Of course I appreciate the other sponsors, as well. I just think an investigations unit and a tattoo place are excellent sponsors for a 10 and under girls' softball team.

Thanks, sponsors!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


You know that I fell in love with a roller derby queen
Round and round, oh round and round
The meanest hunk o woman
That anybody ever seen
Down in the arena
~ Jim Croce

Okay, I love Roller Derby. I do not have the coordination or the stamina to play this sport, but I like watching it. In fact, I almost understand it. Last weekend, we went to see the Mid Iowa Rollers finish their season undefeated. Congratulations. And thanks to Julie Snyder-Yuly for reminding us that the event was happening.

Roller Derby is awesome for the following reasons:

* Significant skill required (or significant willingness to get hurt if you don't have skill)
* Awesome player names
* Anything where a contest is called a "Bout" is sweet
* Diverse fan base. Seriously great people-watching.
* Great photo ops.

Obviously, that last reason is particularly important to me.

Additional reasons it is a great sport include:

* There is space on the floor referred to as "Suicide Seating."
* Knee socks.
* Tattoos - on participants, officials, and fans.
* Great uniforms which are not uniform. If you look closely in the photo above, the skater on the far right has "Sorry Bout Ur Face" on the seat of her shorts.
* It's okay to cheer when people fall down.
* Additionally, it is okay to push people down. (Note: This applies to ONLY skaters and ONLY during the bouts. I found that out the hard way...)


Aim high, and you won't shoot your foot off.
~ Phyllis Diller

So, the other day Maddie and I were out driving around taking photos and we came upon this. It was out in the middle of no where. I love that these kinds of things exist, but it also freaks me out. What else is out there that I don't know about or haven't seen? Okay, I guess the answer to that questions is, "A lot of stuff." I just like stumbling upon it.

I will admit that when we were stopped and looking at it, I was a little afraid someone would run out and shoot us. But we didn't jump the fence. And if someone took the time to make this little shoot-o-rama village, they probably wouldn't kill passersby, would they?

As you look at the images below, you will be particularly impressed with my ability to make the Gunsmith building look particularly old-timey. I am becoming oh so gifted with the special tools on the computer photo program.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


You should not be the first one to fall asleep at a slumber party.
~ Katie, age 12


The first time Elizabeth went to a sleepover at a friend's house, this is how she dressed. In her mind, this is OF COURSE how you would dress for a sleepover. And you would be sure to take your American Girl Doll with you.

When Elizabeth went to the sleepover, her friend's mom said, "Oh, Elizabeth. You certainly look well-prepared!" Elizabeth's response was, "Yes. I am."


If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic.
~ Hazel Henderson


Heather Phillips has a cat named Hazel. Hazel refers to Heather as "Mama" as in "HAZEL! Bring Mama her toothpick." We created a series of cartoons featuring Mama's beckonin' to Hazel. The series of cartoons all look like the image above which I created using my amazing computer graphics skills.


Animals are my friends. I don't eat my friends.
~ George Bernard Shaw


Overheard phone conversation. I just heard Maddie's end.

Maddie: Hello? (pause) What? (pause) I said WHAT?! (pause) Why?! (pause) Oh. (pause) Okay. (pause) I SAID OKAY!

That is how Maddie accepts an invitation from a friend to go to the swimming pool.


Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
~ Oscar Wilde
The other night I saw the most amazing lightning storm I have ever seen. As you can tell from the image above, I'm still figuring out how to photograph lightning. Regardless, it was awesome.

Simultaneously, the fireworks display for the opening ceremonies of Iowa Games was happening. When I called Chris to see if she wanted to with me to watch the coolest lightning storm ever, she asked me if I was sure it was lightning and not fireworks. She thinks I'm not very smart sometimes.

sometimes she is right.


I have no aspirations of world domination through the pop charts. None at all.
~ Anne Hathaway
I had two Dr. Seuss books as a kid - The Ear Book and Hop on Pop. I remember, even as a child, thinking that a book directing people to jump on their fathers was not a good book. Of course, I can't say that I know what Dr. Seuss was a doctor of, either. Probably not intestinal medicine.

And, for that matter, The Ear Book wasn't any medical guide, either - even if it seems like it might be. Whoa! After doing a little bit of research, I have come to find out that The Ear Book wasn't even written by Dr. Seuss. It was written by that world acclaimed children's author Al Perkins. It has a picture of the Cat in the Hat in the upper right hand corner of the cover, but isn't Dr. Seuss.

Damn the publishing industry for misleading me. Lying to children to get them to want / buy things? Seriously - who DOES that?!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Home is where one starts from.
~ T.S. Eliot


When we lived in the residence halls, kids used to tell the girls it was cool they lived in a mansion. The really cool part of it was when the students were gone and the girls could have friends over and play in the halls. This captures one evening's game of hide-and-go-seek which evolved into hide-and-go-scare and then evolved into we're-not-playing-upstairs-anymore.


Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.
~ Thomas Paine

A few summers ago when Elizabeth was getting ready to go to Girl Scout Camp for the first time, we were filling out the forms with her. One of the things it asked was if she had any nicknames.

Elizabeth: Put down "Emily."
Chris: What? Why? No one calls you Emily.
Elizabeth: This one girl at school does.
Chris: Why does she call you that?
Elizabeth: Because that's what I told her my name was.

Elizabeth clearly does not understand the difference between a nickname and an alias.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language.
That may be the measure of our lives.
~ Toni Morrison


Elizabeth used to run around saying, "WHAT THE--?!" all the time. Then one of her teachers said she couldn't say it anymore. Teachers are strict. And Elizabeth, for being a very single-minded individual, tends to take to heart what they say and she didn't run around home saying "WHAT THE--?!" anymore, either.

Of course Maddie, being very conservative in her speech, does not use the Facebook jargon of WTF, though she will, on occasion, say "WTH."

Chris, on the other hand, just swears constantly.

Just kidding.

She only does it while driving.


As a young boy, when you get splashed by a mud puddle on the way to school, you wonder if you should go home and change, but be late for school, or go to school the way you are; dirty and soaking wet. Well, while he tried to decide, I drove by and splashed him again.
~ Jack Handy

So, yesterday was free day at the new pool in town. I saw a headline in some paper that said it had something to do with promoting hygiene. Um, so, I don't get that. Let's get as many people as possible into the pool and pretend they're cleaner?

I didn't go.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


You always say 'I'll quit when I start to slide', and then one morning
you wake up and realize you've done slid.
~ Sugar Ray Robinson


When I was a kid I broke my brother's arm because we were running down the slide in our backyard and he tried to go twice in a row. I didn't, like, grab his arm and snap it, I just grabbed his ankles to try and get him not to go out of turn and he fell and his arm broke. He started crying and I tried to get him to shush, but it's not easy to shush a kid with a broken arm.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything.
~ Albert Einstein


Elizabeth: Will BP have to pay for all the oil cleanup?
Me: No. They won't pay for all the people's livelihoods they ruined.
Chris: For example, say, "Sally" who used to be a shucker. The shuckers are already getting laid off.
Elizabeth: Oh, that's what she used to do?
Me: No, Elizabeth. Not Sally Deters. Your mom was just using that as an example name.
Elizabeth: Well, she should have used a different name. Like Emily.

(as if we don't know anyone named Emily)