Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Google+ Followers

Thursday, September 30, 2010


A tree falls the way it leans.
~ Bulgarian Proverb
So I have been thinking about yesterday's post about not wanting Bob Ross as a roommate. After reflecting I have confirmed that, indeed, I don't think that Bob and I would make good roommates. I found some Bob Ross quotes that, well, you wouldn't necessarily want to hear from a roommate:

"There are no mistakes, only happy accidents."

"You know me, I gotta put in a big tree."

"I didn't know where this goes. I don't really care."

"Be careful or you may be in Agony City soon."

"Oh green water. That's pretty. I like it just alive with algae."

"People look at me like I’m a little strange, when I go around talking to squirrels and rabbits and stuff. That’s ok. Thaaaat’s just ok."

"Shwooop. Hehe. You have to make those little noises, or it just doesn’t work."

"There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend."

"Trees cover up a multitude of sins."

"Water’s like me. It’s laaazy… Boy, it always looks for the easiest way to do things."

"We tell people sometimes: we’re like drug dealers, come into town and get everybody absolutely addicted to painting. It doesn’t take much to get you addicted."


Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck leads the flock to fly and follow.
~ Chinese Proverb
- - - - -

I like rubber ducks a great deal. Some of them are creepy - like the ones they try to make look like people. But for the most part, they are cheerful and fun.

I think the reason I like rubber ducks so much are twofold.

Firstfold, because of that Ernie song from Sesame Street. I always think it's best to be a little more like Ernie and a little less like Bert. We often fail, but it's worth a try. And Ernie loved his rubber duck.

Secondfold, what's not to like? They're non-threatening. They float. They're colorful. They never disagree. Aren't those the things we often look for in a friend?

They also can be easily stored in a box in the basement if someone tells you it's time not to have 100 rubber ducks in your bathroom.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Excuse my while I kiss the sky.
~ Jimi Hendrix

We're gonna make some big decisions in our little world.
~ Bob Ross
- - - - -

Yesterday I was walking across campus. I saw a guy wearing a Bob Ross t-shirt. I thought about how I like Bob Ross. I'd like to be neighbors with Bob Ross, but probably not roommates with him. And then I realized that it wasn't a Bob Ross t-shirt, it was a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt.

And I bet they would make good friends. I think Bob would appreciate Jimi's music, and I bet Jimi would enjoy some happy little trees.

I hadn't ever realized that they looked the same. But they do — kind of. In t-shirt world.


I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
~ Oscar Wilde

I think I've mentioned that we invented this game we play in the car where we take turns saying a word or phrase and then everyone in the car votes on who they think of when they hear that word or phrase. We try to keep it positive so no one says, "jackass" or the like and then we vote and someone gets their feelings hurt.

Anyway, one time we were playing and Maddie said the word, "Skilled" and Maddie voted for herself and Elizabeth voted for herself and Chris and I voted for me.

Elizabeth: (in response to the voting) WHAT?! Have you seen me throw an almond and an animal cracker up in the air and catch them in my mouth?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


A window of opportunity for me usually involves a rock.
~ Jay London
- - - - -

Would I rather be on the inside looking out through a window or on the outside looking in? I guess the former since I'd be more likely to be arrested for the latter.

Also, is a dirty window? If so, I'd rather be on the outside otherwise I'd just be thinking about how I need to clean my windows.

Monday, September 27, 2010


The people who fear humor - and there are many -are suspicious of its power to present things in unexpected lights to question received opinions and to suggest unforeseen possibilities.
~ Robertson Davies
- - - - -

One time I was cleaning Elizabeth's room. She had what I thought was a rock collection in a few small boxes. I opened one of the boxes and emptied it into my hand. Instead of rocks, I had a hand full of her baby teeth.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


(Art by Jolynn Anderson, photo by me)

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, 'toys not included.'
~ Bernard Manning
- - - - -

I love the idea of toys out of context. Toys in a grocery store. Toys on a tractor. Toys engaging in some alleged teamwork to get into a shed or a car.

I also love the idea of a band named "Toys Out of Context."

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I swear by that old expression, 'One monkey don't stop no show!'
The reality is, we still have some good men out there,
and we should hail those men as the kings they are.
~ Angie Stone
- - - - -

1. I hate seeing monkeys in clothes. HATE it. However, I am not bothered by sock monkeys in clothes. Probably because they're made OUT of clothes.

2. "One monkey don't stop no show?" It must be a VERY old expression. I've never heard it. And let me tell you, if one monkey ran across the stage at one of E's middle school band concerts, I guarantee you it would stop that show. So not only is it an old expression, it is a lie.


It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall.
~ Mexican Proverb

Elizabeth: It's not very often you get to ride a horse in a cave.

Friday, September 24, 2010


As a social good, I think privacy is greatly overrated because privacy basically means concealment. People conceal things in order to fool other people about them. They want to appear healthier than they are, smarter, more honest and so forth.
~ Richard Posner

Chris just told her mom, "Yeah, you should try living with Michelle when she's running around all day with a notepad and a pen writing down everything that happens for her blog!"

She says if she has a blog it would be called, "I Don't Want People to Know What I'm Thinking."


I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain. That's like a free compliment and you don't even gotta be smart to notice it.
~ Mitch Hedberg
- - - - -

So tonight Maddie was looking at the entries about Elizabeth crying. She laughed at some of the photos. When she got to the last one she said, "Aryan? Is that what Elizabeth really wanted to name her doll?"

I said, "Yes, it is."

Maddie said, "Oh, that's pretty."

We discussed the ramifications and implications of naming a little girl Aryan. I'm not sure Maddie was listening, though. The TV was on.


All art is exorcism. I paint dreams and visions too; the dreams and visions of my time. Painting is the effort to produce order; order in yourself. There is much chaos in me, much chaos in our time.
~ Otto Dix

Last year I took a week off to refinish the kitchen cabinets. They turned out fine.

At one point, Chris said they HAD to be done by Friday night because Maddie was having a sleepover. By "done" I thought she meant they had to be mostly done, but that the doors didn't have to be put back on, etc. By "done" what she actually meant is that they had to be completely finished. How could I have known that?!

That is about the time that I made the observation, "Now I know why there's not a Wii game called Paint the Kitchen Cabinets."

Thursday, September 23, 2010


(Elizabeth potentially going to cry because the little bouncy ride is terrifying.)

“The main thing in one's own private world
is to try to laugh as much as you cry.
~ Maya Angelou
- - - - -

Elizabeth cries every day.

EVERY day.

Here are a few examples along with the reason for the tears. I think almost all of the explanations are true.

Elizabeth about to cry because the fold-out bed is uncomfortable.

Elizabeth getting ready to cry because family photo day is horrible day.

Elizabeth about to cry because it is ridiculous to have to WAIT for food in a restaurant.

Elizabeth about to cry because Worlds of Fun is really Worlds of Exhaustion.

Elizabeth about to cry because her mom is hugging Maddie and not hugging Elizabeth.

Elizabeth crying because it's her mom's birthday and not Elizabeth's birthday.

Elizabeth about to cry because she only has TWO American Girl dolls to sleep with and we wouldn't let her name either of them "Aryan."


Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Today is my dad's birthday. I think I got my interest in photography from him. He was always taking pictures. Except he didn't take photos, he took slides. And he didn't post them on a blog, he would sequester people in the basement to look at them. As a viewer, I prefer the blog. As a subject of the photographs (particularly in the process of documenting my childhood), I prefer the sequestered slide show. Not nearly as public.

The girls are actually really good sports about my blogging them. Of course, they don't read my blog, so that could be a major contributing factor.

If my parents had blogged about my teen years, I don't think it would have been very interesting. It probably would have read something like this:

"Day 497: She is still angry. Still sitting in room. Hates all of humanity. Would probably do a nice job working in student affairs..."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.
~ W. Clement Stone

So, when we lived in the residence halls, prisoners would come in the spring and in the fall to bunk / debunk the beds in the hall. What you see above is an example of what we might see a couple of times a year.

One day Chris came back from a potluck with her staff. She had some leftover brownies. She walked past the prisoners to the building. They said hello and she asked the guard guy if she could give them some brownies.

"Please man. Please can we have a brownie?" the guys asked.

"They're not 'funny brownies,' are they?" the guard guy asked.

Chris assured him they weren't. And she gave away the rest of the brownies.

And after that all the guys got out of jail for good behavior and opened a bakery/candy store. It was called Ex-CONfectionary.

That last part isn't true. The part about her giving away the brownies is, though.


Sometimes when I feel like killing someone, I do a little trick to calm myself down. I'll go over to the person's house and ring the doorbell. When the person comes to the door, I'm gone, but you know what I've left on the porch? A jack-o-lantern with a knife stuck in the side of its head with a note that says 'You.' After that I usually feel a lot better, and no harm done.
~ Jack Handey
(incidentally, this is my favorite Jack Handey quote)

Autumn is my favorite season and today is the first day of it. Clearly it is the best season since it has two names "Autumn" and "Fall." It's not like summer is called "Summer" and "Hotsie" or winter is called "Winter" and "WTF?!" Well, maybe some days it is.

But I digress...

One of the things that happens during autumn is a festival called "Halloween." If you've not heard of it, it is a time when some people in our culture celebrate the harvest and witchcraft and deception. We teach the offspring to disguise themselves so as to fool others into giving them candy. To teach the youngsters that nothing is free, they are encouraged to tell jokes in order to get candy.

Last year, Elizabeth came home and said she had a joke. "How do you wake up Lady Gaga?" she asked. "Pokerface!" she answered before I could respond. Elizabeth followed it up saying, "I'm not using that for Halloween, though, because old people don't even know Lady Gaga."

I bet Lady Gaga's elderly relatives -- Lady Grandma and Lady Grandpa -- know who she is.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh, no,' I said, 'Disneyland burned down.' He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.
~ Jack Handey

When Chris' Mom and Dad moved a few years ago, we told the girls that they moved into a cute little house on the other side of town. When we went to Manchester, we took them by this abandoned building next to the railroad tracks.

The girls were not impressed.

Later we told them it was a joke. And that their grandparents ran off and left a note that said, "Don't try to find us. The reason we're running away is YOU, Maddie and Elizabeth. Now leave us alone."

They didn't believe that, either.

Actually, that second part is a lie. We DID drive them by that abandoned blue building and tell them it was their grandparent's new house. The note part I made up, though. I just thought of it. If I had thought of it at the time, we'd have done that, too.

I think jokes like that help build the girls' self esteem.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.
~ Spanish Proverb

Elizabeth: If you make a whistle shaped like an elephant, when you get it to finally make a whistle when you blow it, don't mess with it, 'cause you'll break it and they won't let you fix it and that's the day it goes in the kiln.


Temptation is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart.
~William Shakespeare

If they ever make a show about a person who makes people fall in love with her/him and then ruins people's lives by burning down their houses when s/he breaks up with them, I think a good theme song for that show would be "You Light Up My Life."

I also think a good name for the show would be "Pyromantic."

Sunday, September 19, 2010


If you're going to tell people the truth, be funny or else they'll kill you.
~ Billy Wilder

On a few occasions people have told me that I'm "funnier than hell." I take that as a rather backhanded comment because so is everyone else.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


(photo by Elizabeth Fowler)
Happiness isn't happiness unless there's a violin-playing goat.
~ Julia Roberts

I think that if you are ever playing with matches in a barn and a goat kicks you and it starts a fire, but then the goat drags you out to safety, you should blame the goat. You should also credit the goat for saving you. You should call it an escapegoat.

PS #1: Yes, I know that was a long way to go for "escapegoat."
PS #2: I also know that above is a picture of a horse and not a goat. I couldn't find a goat picture, so I used this one of a horse instead.

Friday, September 17, 2010


With love and patience, nothing is impossible.
~ Daisaku Ikeda

Randomly overheard...

Person 1: What are you DOING?

Person 2: Growing out my bangs.


Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
~ Gloria Steinem

So, Penny Rice gave Chris and I Aperture 3 as a thank you for taking pictures of Liz & Josh's wedding. I am so excited. I have been playing with photos all night. A few samples...

I believe the expression on Chris' face in this last photo captures all of the following:

* Her annoyance with me hogging the computer.
* Her annoyance with me playing with photos instead of doing my homework.
* Her discomfort with the smell of the manure wagon.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to summer camp.
~ Raymond Duncan

I don't remember exactly the context of the following exchange, but I somehow picture my brother Kirk talking to some kid.

Kid: My mom and dad are already sick of me for the summer.
Kirk(?): Well, so am I and I just started talking to you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The great challenge working on this show for me is wearing polyester all day long and having the worst haircut known to man at the top of my head and sitting under fluorescent lights. That is America, people. Polyester, bad haircuts, under fluorescent lights.
~ Rainn Wilson

One night Chris and I came home from someplace and Elizabeth and Maddie were in bed. I don't recall the details, but somehow we found a bunch of hair in the girls' bathroom wastebasket. We went to get Elizabeth and Maddie up to find out what had happened. Elizabeth had decided to cut her own hair.

When we asked her what she was thinking or how she thought we wouldn't notice, Elizabeth said, "I was just going to wear a hat for a while." Elizabeth doesn't really wear hats. Ever.

Maddie had tried to help even it out because E had apparently really hacked it up. In order to teach her a lesson, Chris made her go around with her self-hair cut for a few days. Chris took E over to Friley to see Sally and Ginny. Instead of, "Elizabeth! What in the world happened to your hair?!" they both said how cute her haircut was.

The moral of the story is... don't ever own scissors.


The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.
~ Madame Marie du Deffand

From your sincere regard for something to my thinking that same thing is stupid - the distance may not be far, but it may be deep. It is probably a sarchasm.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Listen to many, speak to a few.
~ William Shakespeare

I had a Shakespeare teacher who told us that Shakespeare believed tragedy is togetherness that comes apart and comedy is apartness that comes together. It makes me think that Shakespeare wouldn't have been too good at jigsaw puzzles.

Monday, September 13, 2010


There are three classes of people: those who see.
Those who see what they are shown.
Those who do not see.
~ Leonardo da Vinci

So, I keep notes. I keep notes on all kinds of observations and overhearances. I sometimes go through and pick out key quotes or observations or ideas from my notes. Then, sometimes, I lose the context. Here are a few of my notes -- in some of these instances I do not remember what was going on or who was doing the talking...

* Vision is what we see by, not what we see.

* Who wants to listen to a stupid person think?!

* My Spanish is pretty much "beer Spanish."

* She is as shallow as you can get without evaporating.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Observation: When I went looking for a quote about drinking a lot of them say, "Anonymous" or "Author Unknown." Hmmm...

My grandmother is over eighty and still doesn't need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle. ~Henny Youngman

Maddie: How old were you when you started drinking?

Chris: What?

Maddie: Drinking -- I mean more than "finger dips and sips."


Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty. ~Sicilian Proverb

Maddie is going through a phase where one day she doesn't seem to have (or want?) any friends and other days she has all these friends and we don't have a clue who they are. The other night Chris was making Maddie list off all of her friends. Maddie was resistant and annoyed.

Elizabeth started to name off all of her friends. Chris interrupted Elizabeth to prod Maddie to continue and then ignored Elizabeth as E kept trying to list off all of her own friends.

Michelle: I guess she doesn't care who YOU hang out with, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: I hang out with hobos.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


BEAT THE hawks!

How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and it doesn't have that dangerous beak.
~ Jack Handey

Maddie: (regarding Cy the Cyclone) It looks normal and you're like -- "Woo! Go CYCLONES!" And then you really look at it and it's a cardinal coming our of a tornado and you're like -- "What the heck is that?!"


Don't be yourself, be someone a little nicer.
~ Mignon McLaughlin

We have to name who in the car we think of first when we hear the word "kind."

Elizabeth: (laughing) It's not gonna be me!

Friday, September 10, 2010


All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. - Indian Proverb


Chris: I think we should plant lazy Susans out front.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings.
~ Octavio Paz

Elizabeth: We have a grammar test every week.

Michelle: How much do you know about your grandma?

Elizabeth: GRAMMAR!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,
As round and round we run;
And the Truth shall evermore come uppermost,
And Justice shall be done.
~ Charles Mackay

Elizabeth: So, Anna had a ring pop and a snow cone and was running around at the football game and she went in the bathroom and threw up. I said, "Are you okay?" and she said, "Yeah." And then me and Charlotte went and got a ring pop.


Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
~ Jonathan Swift

When Elizabeth was little she used to say,"Look, Charlie Brown!!" every time we would drive by a Red Lobster. Finally, one night, before she could say it, I said, "Look, Elizabeth! Charlie Brown!" From the backseat she said, with a voice of complete disdain, "That's not Charlie Brown, Michelle. That's Red Lobster."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Ripley thought Monday was "Labrador Day." When I explained to him it was "Labor Day" he was displeased.

Ripley spent most of the holiday weekend at the farm. We had a wedding for which we were the photographers (lots of fun - no, really, it was! AND the bride said I can use some of the photos in the blog!).

What we learned during Ripley's absence is that we drop a lot of food on the ground. We also learned (or perhaps (re)learned) that we are very lazy because it took a lot of effort to pick up the food we dropped - something we never have to do when Ripley is home.


Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
~ Coco Chanel

Chris: (reading from an online resource to the girls who asked what a tube top is) "A tube top is a sleeveless top shaped like a tube that is generally --

Michelle: Repulsive?