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Saturday, October 30, 2010


Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going to fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.
~ Eddie Cantor
- - - - -
I think in notes for horror films when they describe the setting, they should call it "sceneerie" in the script. On the set, I think this would cut some of the tension that's bound to arise when people are getting killed all the time.

Friday, October 29, 2010


If you go to a costume party at your boss's house, wouldn't you think a good costume would be to dress up like the boss's wife? Trust me, it's not.
~ Jack Handey
- - - - -

October 27th, 2010 - I had the day off. Elizabeth got ready for school, left, and about 15 seconds later, rang the front doorbell.

Elizabeth: Hey, so while you're home today, can you think about me and Halloween?

Michelle: You mean a costume idea?

Elizabeth: Yes, for trick-or-treating.

Michelle: Okay...

Elizabeth: Okay that's all. See ya!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


By the time we hit fifty, we have learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves.
~ Marie Dressler
- - - - -

Penny has a birthday today, too. Maddie is fifteen and Penny is fifty. They sound a lot alike. Maybe those ages are just two sides of a coin...

1. Fifteen - I can't wait to drive people around.
Fifty - I can't wait to drive people crazy.

2. Fifteen - I am focused on wearing what smells clean.
Fifty - I am focused on wearing what is comfortable.

3. Fifteen - what people think about me matters.
Fifty - what I think about people is all that matters.

4. Fifteen - moody.
Fifty - not moody, but why is everyone around me so stupid?!

5. Fifteen - I know everything and tell everyone that I know everything.
Fifty - I know everything, but generally keep it to myself with a knowing smile at the idiots.

6. Fifteen - impatient.
Fifty - outpatient.

7. Fifteen - I am so embarrassed by my family.
Fifty - I love embarrassing my family.

8. Fifteen - keeping up with homework is killing me.
Fifty - keeping up with housework is killing me.

9. Fifteen - Gaga.
Fifty - ABBA.

10. Fifteen - I can't wait to get a job - then I can do whatever I want.
Fifty - I can't wait to retire - then I can do whatever I want.


A revolution only lasts fifteen years, a period which coincides
with the effectiveness of a generation.
~ Jose Ortega y Gasset
- - - - -

So, I think I have mentioned before that Maddie is an excellent cook. She can make most anything and if she follows the directions and pays close attention, it usually tastes pretty good.
Anyway, the other night she made goulash. She was getting herself a bowl when she flipped one of the noodles out of the pan.

Maddie: Eat that.

Michelle: Don't boss me.

Maddie: I made it.

Michelle: I paid for the food.

Maddie: Maybe the noodles. Grandma brought the meat.

Michelle: What did you cook it on?

Maddie: I could cook it over a fire in the yard.

Michelle: Not in my yard.

Maddie: I could go in the street.

Michelle: I think you can get in trouble for randomly making a fire in the middle of the street.

NOTE: The photo above will be used for the cover of Maddie's new country music album, "Bossy at 15."


A sense of humor is the ability to understand a joke -
and that the joke is oneself.
~ Clifton Paul Fadiman

Michelle: Maddie, you should text your mom that you missed the bus.

Maddie: But I WALK to school.

Elizabeth: Maddie - DUH! That's the JOKE!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I like a teacher who gives you something
to take home to think about besides homework.
~ Lily Tomlin
- - - - -

So, this is the school project of which I am most proud. Maddie had to make a model of a cell. We talked about different ways she might do it. She finally decided that she would make a cake, cut it so it resembled a cell, frost it, and design it with the parts of a cell. She did it all herself, I just helped her brainstorm ideas. We got an A on it.

We also just got an A on her Islam in Spain project. Again, I just helped her with ideas and she did the work. Trust me, I'm a judicial affairs professional. I know those lines between helping and academic misconduct.

As I said, I'm really just an idea person. I don't like to do any actual work.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
~ Mark Twain
- - - - -
When I used to live in Iowa City and I worked at the newspaper (a job I didn't really care for), I used to imagine what it would be like if I didn't take the turn that I needed to to go to work. What if I just kept driving and headed... east? I think I was driving east when I used to think this. What would it matter if I didn't go to work but just went to West Branch. West Branch? I think that's the name of the town where President Hoover was born. Or further even. Wait, West Branch is east of Iowa City? I guess it could be.

Anyway, since my geography isn't too good, I just kept going to work.

Monday, October 25, 2010


A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.
~ Sivananda
- - - - -
The Outer Banks of North Carolina is one of my favorite places on earth. I would like to have a house there. But they get a lot of hurricanes. I would like to rent a house there, but not when there are a lot of people there.

Maybe even more than the Outer Banks, I might like to have a house on that island where Tom Hanks was in Castaway.

No. I wouldn't really like that. Because I wouldn't be good at self-dentistry.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


We have a strange and wonderful relationship - he's strange and I'm wonderful.
~ Mike Ditka
- - - - -

So, the other night Elizabeth announced that she had a boyfriend. Three days later, we had this conversation at our house...

Chris: Elizabeth, you'll keep us updated on your relationship status, right?

Elizabeth: Yes.


Michelle: So, are you still boyfriend and girlfriend?

Elizabeth: No.

Chris: What? Why?

Elizabeth: Because his parents said he was too young to date.

Chris: Oh, okay, so you're still friends?

Elizabeth: Yes.

Michelle: So his other girlfriend wasn't so much a girlfriend, huh?

Elizabeth: Yep.

NOTE: This post was previewed and approved by Elizabeth M. Fowler.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
~ Ashley Smith
- - - - -

So, Elizabeth comes home from the Iowa State vs. Kansas State Volleyball game and says, "Oh, I won a t-shirt and tickets to Beauty and the Beast." Chris asks her what she's talking about. Elizabeth says, "Well, they asked who the loudest fan is and I jumped up and started screaming and they threw me this t-shirt." It's an Iowa State t-shirt and two tickets to the ISU gymnastics / wrestling "Beauty and the Beast" matches in January.

The kid knows how to maximize the return on the gifts she's been given.

Friday, October 22, 2010


No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

Dear Previous Homeowners,

Thank you so very much for venting the dryer into the fan in the bathroom and the bathroom vent into the dryer duct. By venting them to one another and not to the outside of the house, you have allowed us to further insulate the ceiling of our basement with at least 4 years worth of lint.


Love, Michelle & Chris

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Rooster today, feather duster tomorrow.
~ Russian Proverb
- - - - -

First of all, thanks to Brad Freihoefer for alerting me to the existence of this Jewell sculpture.

Second of all, Chris sets the alarm on her phone and then hits snooze about 10 times before she gets up. I don't understand that. I'd rather oversleep and get some rest than wake up every 9 minutes (or whatever it is) and go, "What the?!! — Do I have to get up right now? Oh, whew. No, I can sleep for another 9 minutes."

I wish it was like olden times when a rooster would crow and that would wake us up. It's not like people went out and hit the rooster on the head so they could sleep a little longer. Or if they did, that hasn't been captured very well in the history books.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


All marriages are mixed marriages.
~ Chantal Saperstein
- - - - -

Maddie: Mom has no say in who I marry!

Michelle: Oooooooh.

Maddie: Just kidding.

Elizabeth: If you're under 18 you have to get mom to sign off on it.

Chris: Thank you, Elizabeth. (pause) I don't know how you know that.

Maddie: I don't either. I've never heard that before.

Elizabeth: Series of Unfortunate Events. Books teach you things!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~ Albert Camus
- - - - -

I think it's interesting that people sometimes use dried up corn stalks as decorations. It's kind of like when we had a giant brush pile in the backyard and our neighbor finally asked us to do something about it because he was pretty sure there was an oppossum living in it. I should have said it was a "decoration."

Monday, October 18, 2010


If you can't annoy someone, there's little point in writing.
~ Kingsley Amis
- - - - -

Maddie: Elizabeth said that you weren't bringing us breakfast and that I had to read for at least an hour in my book today and that 4H lasts from 2 until 5 tonight!!

Chris: Don't believe anything she says, Maddie. Elizabeth, why do you do that?

Elizabeth: 'Cause it's fun. She gets SO angry!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

The sign above implies that trespassing up until this point is fine.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.
~ Buddha
- - - - -

Chris: We're going to Thiesen's. It was closed last night.

Maddie: What?! Where'd you go, then?!

Chris: Borders.

Elizabeth: Don't lie. We downloaded an app and we looked up your cell phone and it said you were in the house and then we saw that you left your cell phone here.

Chris: (to Michelle) Isn't that freaky? But at least we know we can keep track of them now.

Michelle: No we can't. We don't know how to download the app.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
~ Sergei Rachmaninov
- - - - -
August 6th, 2010: Fa da Liom Uaimi Uaimi by Cherish the Ladies
7th: I Want to be a Billionaire by Travie McCoy
8th: The Nationwide Insurance Jingle (Nationwide is on your side...)
9th: Simply the Best by Tina Turner
10th: Enjoy the Silence (Tango Remix) by Tanghetto vs. Depeche Mode
12th: And so it Goes by Blake
13th: Tue Love Don't Grow on Trees by Helene Smith
14th: In a Little While by Uncle Kracker
16th: Nothing Sweet About Me by Gabriella
17th: Please Don't Leave Me by P!nk
18th: No One / Tattoo by Boyce Avenue
21st: Lollipop Tree by Burl Ives
22nd: Take Care of Business (Pilooski Remix) by Nina Simone
23rd: Never Been to Spain by Three Dog Night
24th: Six Days on the Road by Dave Dudley
25th How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria from The Sound of Music
27th: Run Joey Run by David Geddes
28th: Bang Bang by Melanie Fiona
29th: What's New Pussycat by Tom Jones
30th: Law and Order Theme by Mike Post

September 1st, 2010: Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon
2nd: Spring by Vivaldi
3rd: Beautiful Girls by Sean Kingston
4th: Goodbye Earl by The Dixie Chicks
5th: And So It Goes by Blake
6th: Die, Die, Die by The Avett Brothers
7th: Apologies by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
10th: Beautiful Nightmare by Beyonce
12th: Bust the Windows Out Your Car from Glee
13th: Cool Change by The Little River Band
14th: Apologies by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
15th: Everyday by Buddy Holly
16th: Papa's Got a Brand New Bag by James Brown
20th: Nothin' on You B.o.B.
21st: Walk Right In by The Rooftop Singers
23rd: True Love Ways by Buddy Holly
24th: Her Diamonds by Rob Thomas
25th: Unchain My Heart by Ray Charles
27th: Black Cat by Janet Jackson
28th: Jesse by Carly Simon
29th: Toxic by Brittney Spears
30th: Rich Girl by Hall and Oates

October 1st, 2010: Find Your Grail from Spamalot
3rd: Popcorn by Gershon Kingsley & Hot Butter
4th: My Strongest Suit from Adia
5th: Dynamite by Taio Cruz
6th: The Beat Goes On by Sonny & Cher
7th: Oh my Gosh by Usher
9th: All I Have to Do Is Dream by The Everly Brothers
10th: Rhythm of Love by The Plain White Ts
11th: Theme from Green Acres by Albert & Gabor
13th: Falling for You by Colbie Callait
14th: No One / Tattoo by Boyce Avenue

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you,
but it is most important that you do it.
~ Mohandas Gandhi
- - - - -

Michelle: People judge you by the company you keep.

Maddie: What are YOU TALKING ABOUT?

Michelle: If you would let me finish… If you run around with people who do drugs, people will think you do drugs. If you run around with people who swear, people will think you swear. If you run around with people who hate black people, people will think you hate black people.

Maddie: So the other day when I dove in the pool and hit my lip…

(everyone laughs)

Maddie: What?!

Chris: Here, let me show you. (to Michelle) So, Michelle, I’m talking to you and explaining something and I want you to understand and so now I’ve finished making my point.

Michelle: Uh, huh… So, I like bunnies because they’re so soft…

Maddie: That’s not the same at ALL. I was talking about something IMPORTANT.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Truth be told, being a grandma is as close we ever get to perfection.
The ultimate warm sticky bun with plump raisins and nuts.
Clouds nine, ten, and eleven.
~ Bryan Nelson Paston
- - - - -

So the other night I was in a bathroom in a place. The bathroom smelled just like my grandma's bathroom used to smell. I'm not going to tell you the place where I was, because if you go there and it smells bad you'll think my grandma's nasty and she isn't so shut up.


Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one
at the end of your arm. . . As you grow older you will discover
that you have two hands. One for helping yourself,
the other for helping others.
~ Audrey Hepburn
- - - - -

Chris: (in a text to Maddie) Can you come outside and help me get off the roof?

Maddie did not respond because she was inside baking banana bread. Instead of 1 teaspoon of salt in the banana bread, however, she used 1 tablespoon. They called it "Salty Bread." You could also call it "Garbage Bread" because that's where it ended up.

Oh, and Chris did figure out a way to get off the roof.

And, no, I wasn't hiding in the neighbor's yard taking this picture of her being stuck on the roof. I wasn't at home at the time. Or maybe I WOULD have been doing that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.
~ Doug Larson

So, the other day I walked up to Bruce Springsteen and said, "Who died and made you boss?!"

Monday, October 11, 2010


If you could build a house on a trampoline, that would suit me fine.
~ Alan Rickman
- - - - -

Sometimes Maddie and Elizabeth like to sleep on the trampoline. The good thing is, if you fall out of bed, then you just are standing up. The other good thing is that they are enjoying the outdoors. The other good thing is that we're getting our money's worth out of the trampoline.

I wonder, if they have babies, if they will ever have their babies sleep on one of those little exercise trampolines. I hope not because I bet that's against some kind of law.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
~ Lao Tzu
- - - - -

Today is the day that my friends El Unicornio and Rockstar have their ceremony. I thought it would be nice if I gave them some advice. Not that I'm in any position to give advice, but I think I would like to be an advice columnist, so I will practice on them. Mainly because they're relationship is durable enough to endure my practicing.

1. If you can't laugh with your partner, laugh at him. If you can't laugh at him go someplace private where you can laugh at him.

2. It is good to have non-swear / non-profane nicknames for one another (Ex: not "asshole" or "jackass" or "ass"). You've already done that, so good job. Also, I think "El Unicornio and the Rockstar" would make a great children's cartoon.

3. Remember that "love" spelled backwards is "evil."

4. All good relationships are not built on compromise. They are built on being right and being patient and letting the other person pretend he is right once in a while. But not telling him that you are pretending is pretty important or else you end up in a big fight.

5. "Happily ever after" is summative not formative. I think. If I understand those concepts correctly. If I don't understand those concepts correctly, I blame the faculty in my doctoral program.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by the Chicken of Depression.
~ Gary Larson
- - - - -
So you can't reflect in streaming water. Given. But what about that fable about the dog and the bone. If the dog had passed over streaming water instead of still (reflective) water, he'd still have the bone, right? He wouldn't have foolishly dropped it to get the bone from the other (reflection) dog. But then he might have gone home and choked on it. Especially if it was a chicken bone. But who would give a dog chicken bones? That's not good. I think the person who did that needs to do some reflecting. In prison.

NOTE: I realize this is exactly the same post as yesterday. Yesterday, however it focused on the water. Today it focuses on the chicken. How does that make you feel?

a. Angry — make up a new post or don't post at all.
b. Disappointed — I don't like to read about dead chickens.
c. Invigorated — I love the opportunity to derive different meanings from the same writing through a variety of lenses.
d. Like a Genius — I "get it." And only a genius would get what you write. I feel like a genius. Correction, I AM A GENIUS.

NOTE 2: Yes, I am intentionally trying to guide the reader to select option d (in case I was too subtle). The reader feels good and Michelle feels good. Win-win. Selecting option c would also be acceptable.

Friday, October 8, 2010


One can not reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.
~ Lao Tzu
- - - - -

So you can't reflect in streaming water. Given. But what about that fable about the dog and the bone. If the dog had passed over streaming water instead of still (reflective) water, he'd still have the bone, right? He wouldn't have foolishly dropped it to get the bone from the other (reflection) dog. But then he might have gone home and choked on it. Especially if it was a chicken bone. But who would give a dog chicken bones? That's not good. I think the person who did that needs to do some reflecting. In prison.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
~ Abraham Lincoln
- - - - -

Maddie: Oh my gosh, Michelle!! Come here!! Quick!!

Michelle: (coming, but not so quick) What, Maddie?

Maddie: They have it again! They have it again!

Michelle: They have what, Maddie?

Maddie: Cranberry Splash Sierra Mist! I am so excited. I told Mom that I felt like an 80-year-old lady who found her kindergarten friend in the grocery store!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ''tomorrow'' on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday's defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, ''If I had my life to live over again." Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.
Your life will never be the same again.
~ Og Mandino

- - - - -

Okay, I know I'm not the first person to take a picture of a Dead End sign in front of a cemetery. If I am wrong, though, and I AM the first, then "COPYRIGHT DIBS!"

What I was thinking when I was looking through my photos though and saw this was, "Why 'Dead End'?" Why not just "End" or "End Ahead" or "No More" or "All Done?" "Road Stops?" "Quit Driving?" "Nowhere." "Stop It."

Seems like a lot of other options that aren't so macabre.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I went down the street to the 24-hour grocery. When I got there, the guy was locking the front door. I said, 'Hey, the sign says you're open 24 hours.' He said, 'Yes, but not in a row.'
~ Steven Wright
- - - - -

Chris hates this store. I'm not sure if the actual name is "Almost Always Open" or if it's just "Conoco." Regardless, I like it a lot. I feel like it's very honest. Even if the place was ALWAYS open, there could be a disaster or something and it might have to close.

Would someone sue over that? I doubt it, but we are part of a pretty litigious society, so I say better safe than sorry.

Monday, October 4, 2010


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

I don't think we should make trash cans look pretty or like little works of art. I think that sends a bad message to children. "Look, children! Look at the beautiful trash can! Don't you want to make more trash so you can put it in the beautiful trash can?!"

Way to wreck the whole earth garbage can artists!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


An un-named song is like an un-named child, it has no identity.
~ Robyn Hitchcock

- - - - -

No, Robyn Hitchcock, an unnamed song is NOT like an unnamed child. They are very different. One is a piece of paper the other is a little person.

I am not sure why the man on the motorcycle put ZERO IQ on his license plate. If he truly has ZERO IQ, maybe he doesn't even know what it means and his friends did it to him. That is mean. I'm surprised he could even get a driver's license.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.
~ Doug Larson
- - - - -

I do not know anything about candidate Bacon. I don't know his party affiliation, his stand on issues, his personal history. Nothing. But it seems to me that someone named Bacon running for a political office in Iowa is a shoe-in.

In fact, I have a feeling some people I know who have moved out of Iowa (Chatriand, Amy, Marshall, Joe, Tiffany, Brad, — and I'll add Liz & Josh even though they're still IN Iowa, since they had bacon to dip in the chocolate fountain at their wedding & Aja who has a passion for bacon) may choose to register in-state just so they can say, "I voted YES for BACON."

If any of you listed don't like bacon, let me know and I'll edit this post and also try to figure out what's wrong with you.


(photo by Maddie Fowler)

There are only two kinds of scholars;
those who love ideas and those who hate them.
~ Emile Chartier
- - - - -

I am always writing things down. I love to take notes. I like to capture words and ideas and random thoughts. I like to absorb moments so that I can recycle them later on in some way.

I also write things down because it helps me remember stuff.

Friday, October 1, 2010


There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
- - - - -

Welcome, October. I am glad you are here.

One thing I enjoy that happens during October is carving pumpkins. Most every year we get a pumpkin and carve it so that it resembles a severed human head. It's a fun little tradition.

This year, we are growing pumpkins in our garden. One thing you may not realize is that pumpkin vines are scary. They literally have taken over the garden, gone over the fence into the front yard and are working their way up the deck to our back door.

Right now we have three pumpkins on our pumpkin vines (at least that I've seen so far). When the time is right, we will pick the pumpkins and carve them. That is, unless they get to us first.

So October starts today. "Oct" meaning Eight and "ober" meaning month. Thus, October is the eight month.