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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mystery

A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.
~ Lewis Mumford
- - - - -

So, I was going through my photos from a recent trip to Philadelphia. I came across this one. Doesn't the side of the building above (where it looks like there might have been a mural) look a lot like that notorious Patterson photo of Bigfoot?

What does it mean? Is it a sign? Is it just me who sees it? Is Bigfoot one of the founding fathers? What about the Yeti? How many other amazing mysteries are just waiting for us? Or maybe it just means that I have spent too much time looking at that Bigfoot photo.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Style

Fashions fade, style is eternal.
~ Yves Saint Laurent
- - - - -

On a recent trip to Chicago, Elizabeth bought this trench coat for herself. She looks very stylish in it. And walking through Chicago in the coat and the scarf she bought to go with it, with the bags from her day of shopping in the crook of her elbow, she looks very sophisticated. So much so, that I was concerned that people would look at the four of us and think, "That little girl doesn't seem to fit with those other three."

That idea was okay when the three of us were dressed "normally" and E was wearing stripes and plaids together. Now, though, her sense of style has outgrown us. It's not like we didn't see it coming, though.







Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Artists

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable,
but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
~ George Bernard Shaw
- - - - -
One of the places I went when I visited Philadelphia was the Rodin museum. This sculpture of George Bernard Shaw was inside. The Thinker was outside. I enjoyed the museum, though there were some creepy pieces there. It looked like much of the art was donated by a couple who had lived in Philadelphia.

I think collecting art is cool, but whenever I see large art collections donated, I wonder where the people kept the art before they donated it. Did they have it on display in their home? Did they have it in storage?

Also, I wonder, given the amount of sculpture at this museum, couldn't they have made a better sign than this?:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Warnings

The silence of the people is a warning for the king.
~ French Proverb
- - - - -

When I was a kid, my mom used to say, "Don't run away from home or else a truck driver will pick you up, take you to California, cut you up, and mail you home in a shoebox."

This warning scared me so much that I was terrified of the idea of running away from home. It also instilled in me a horrific fear of truck drivers, the U.S. Postal Service, knives, the state of California, and shoeboxes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
~ King Solomon
- - - - -

I know that Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love, but why is there so much honking there? And cars that look like they've been sideswiped by other cars? And pitbulls? Seriously, I was there for about 5 days and every dog I saw (and I saw a lot of dogs) except for 1 was a pitbull. The one that wasn't was a little poodleish dog wearing a pink tutu.

Maybe it's because the way brothers love each other they fight and yell and have pitbulls. Now that I think about it, brotherly love — or sisterly love for that matter — any kind of sibling love is combined with disgust. I guess the city is well-named after all.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Danger

Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?
~ George Carlin
- - - - -

I think it's good that we've been warned about freedom of speech not encompassing yelling, "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. Additionally, I wish the Supreme Court would talk more about the idea of yelling, "Theatre!" around a crowded fire. While perhaps not as dangerous, it still can be annoying if someone does it over and over and over and over again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fame


Fame is the thirst of youth.
~ Lord Byron
- - - - -

Maddie: How much would you pay for me to go see Vinny from "Jersey Shore?"

Michelle: Uh... How much would I pay?!

Maddie: (laughing nervously) I mean, uh, yeah.

Michelle: How much does it cost?

Maddie: Well, to sit at a table with him it's $1000.

Michelle: $1000?! What?!

Maddie: Well, I wasn't expecting that. Besides, you have to be 18 or something because it's in a club. But he's going to be at some hair place and it's like $40.

Michelle: What are you going to do? Watch him get his hair cut?

Maddie: Well, that's what I don't really know.

(photo by some woman at Leedz Salon. you can kind of see her in the mirror.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Photography

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.
What you have caught on film is captured forever...
it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
~ Aaron Siskind
- - - - -

I love photography. I like taking pictures and seeing what images you have when you're done. Even with digital photography, when you look at the photo as soon as you've taken it, there are surprises.

Like when the light is just so or you capture an expression from someone at the exact moment, or when the security guard says, "We don't allow photos of Miss Bullock and that 'press credential' is something that it looks like you made for yourself out of glitter glue and pipe cleaners."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Travel

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.
~ Dennis Waitley
- - - - -

I love traveling. I love traveling by car the best. When you're in a car, you can determine the route, the pace, and the detours. Well, not all of the detours. The road construction crews sometimes determine those.

Anyway, I think it's good when you're traveling to remember that detour spelled backwards is routed.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Learning

It's not easy to point out what the motivation is. But it may be
that education is seen as a very visible sign of progress.
~ Edward Carwardine
- - - - -

Random Grandma to her random grandchild (overheard at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore): I wouldn't worry about it because what are they gonna do — kick you out of school? What's that called? Expulse ya'?!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weddings

Now very often events are set up for photographers...
The weddings are orchestrated about the photographers taking the picture, because if it hasn't been photographed it doesn't really exist.
~ Elliott Erwitt
- - - - -

"Do you want to go to a wedding with me?" is not a good way to propose to someone.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Playgrounds

I must apologise because I know all writers have memories of being on the outer because it's the children on the side of the playground who become the dangerous writers.
~ Thomas Keneally
- - - - -

Kirk: The only horror film I ever watched was "Saw." It was AMAZING.

Me: I have no desire to see "Saw."

(pause)

Me: Hahaha

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yards

Pay no attention to what the critics say.
A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.
~ Jean Sibelius
- - - - -

I used to be violently opposed to yard art. I think it's because about 4 blocks from my house when I was growing up there was a statue of a German Shepherd. It always sat at about a 45 degree angle. It looked ridiculous.

There was also a fawn statue on our street that faded and chipped and... well, it didn't look real at all.

Now, I kind of like it when people put lawn ornaments out. At least I like driving by and seeing them randomly. I just don't like seeing them at my house. Though we do a frog in our front yard that the neighbors left for us. And once we had a painting of two lions left by our tree.

It was not a nice painting. Maddie was too embarrassed to move it, so she left it there all day. Because it's way less embarrassing to have it sit where everyone can see it than to go out and actually move it.

That painting doesn't live with us anymore.

That reminds me... April Fool's Day is coming up.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reading

It is what you read when you don't have to that determines
what you will be when you can't help it.
~Oscar Wilde
- - - - -

Maddie just finished reading a book. A book she liked a lot. I don't remember the name of it. I think maybe it had the word "hunger" in the title. Or "hungry?" Maybe it wasn't a book. Maybe she was just looking at the box of "Hungry, Hungry Hippos."

Anyway, it's good she's reading.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Awareness

I can't swim. I can't drive, either. I was going to learn to drive,
but then I thought, "Well, what if I crash into a lake?"
~ Dylan Moran

- - - - -

So, Maddie will get her driver's license sometime this year. Allegedly. I hope that she drives well and exercises caution and pays attention. She knows she doesn't always pay full attention.

As an example, Chris and I suggested that Maddie look into being a lifeguard. She said she wasn't interested. We asked why and she said, "Because I zone out sometimes and that would be... yeah, that would be bad."

Self-awareness is awesome.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rules

There are two great rules of life: never tell everything at once.
~ Kurt Venturi
- - - - -

I have almost always been a rule follower. My current job in judicial affairs is a result of my respect for rules. I think I started out following rules because I really wanted to be a Supreme Court justice and thought it would be a good idea to have a clean record.

Today, I find it unlikely that I will ever be a Supreme Court Justice, though I would love to even make "the short list."
(pause)
Yes, I would definitely rather be on the short list for the Supreme Court that the other kinds of lists some people keep.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Decisions

You are the one who must choose your place.
~ James Lane Allen
- - - - -

We all have things we have to do. I have come to understand the decision-making process some people use in doing those things. I have boiled this process down to four easy steps. And I am going to share them with you right now.

1. I have something to do.

2. I don't really want to do it.

3. I will make someone else do it.

4. There. Now I don't have to do it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wine

It is better to hide ignorance, but it is hard to do this when we relax over wine.
~ Heraclitus
- - - - -

I love liquor stores. I think they are beautiful and creative places. The bottles are all different colors and the contents of those bottles have all different flavors and the names on the bottles are clever and the artwork on some of the bottles is good.
We went to Elizabeth's school conferences the other day and the teacher had a sign up that said, "No Whining: $5.00 Fine." I asked if she really charged $5.00. She said, "No. If I did, I'd be rich. All my students ask me that."
I think maybe she was just making conversation, but she might also have been tolding me I was acting like an 11-year-old.
Also, I don't think the transition from "wine" to "whining" was very good, but 11-year-olds aren't always good at transitions in their writing.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Going

If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going.
~ Professor Irwin Corey
- - - - -

Elizabeth: Mom! Maddie just called me stupid in Spanish!!

Michelle: What did she say, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: Estupido!

Michelle: Tell her, "Vamos a la playa."

Elizabeth: Hey, Maddie! Vamos a la playa!

Michelle: Do you know what you just said to her?

Elizabeth: No. (pause) What was it?

Michelle: "Let's go to the beach."

Elizabeth: What?! Really?!!

Michelle: See why you should learn Spanish instead of French or German, Elizabeth?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Self

To thine own self be true, and it must follow,
as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
~ William Shakespeare

- - - - -

I made the end of the above quote larger than the rest because we don't remember that part of this quote. I think most people know the "To thine own self be true," but forget the second half. I know i forgot it. I was too focused on the "thine own self" piece. Thanks, Polonius.

This photo is a self-portrait. It also appears to be somewhat self-reflective. In addition it is self-centered.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stories

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is
written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.
~ C.S. Lewis
- - - - -

I like looking across campus (or other places) and thinking about all the stories out there. Stories of the current people on campus. Stories from the past. Stories yet to come. Everyone has a story.

Well, some people maybe just have a haiku. Everyone has a haiku. That's why I often write haiku (haikus? I forget what the plural is...) for people.

Well, some people might just have a tag line. Like on the news or talk shows. "Disgruntled Neighbor." "Award-Winning Grocery Store Clerk." "Kitten Rescuer." "Thinks She's Funny." "Rabble Rouser."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recovery


Genius is the recovery of childhood at will.
~ Arthur Rimbaud
- - - - -

Maddie was home sick this week. She happened to be at home sick on a day that Elizabeth didn't have school. When Chris and I got home that night, we asked them how the day had been.

Maddie: Elizabeth was really strict. She said I couldn't watch TV and made sure I didn't have any fun at all since I was sick.

Chris: Sounds like she'd be a good nurse or doctor.

Michelle: Or mom.

Maddie: Yeah. Except that she wasn't at all loving or anything.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Serious

If you are truly serious abut preparing your child for the future,
don't teach him to subtract teach him to deduct.
~ Fran Lebowitz

- - - - -


We have been trying to teach the girls to be independent and take care of themselves. I don't know why Chris thinks that's so important, but it seems to matter to her. Here is a conversation at our house this week:


Michelle: Elizabeth, did you take off your mascara last night?

Elizabeth: I took it off my bottom lashes.

Michelle: No makeup for a week, then.

Elizabeth: (sighing) I know... I know...

Michelle: I'm serious.

Elizabeth: I know you're serious. I can see the serious on your face.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Leadership

Too bad all the people who know how to run the country
are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.
~ George F. Burns
- - - - -

And also, all the people who know how to run the country are between the ages of 11 and 16. Really, they are. Just ask them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Writing

The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
- - - - -

I really want to be a writer when I grow up and be able to make a living doing that. I would like to win an Oscar for best original screenplay. Mainly, I'd like to do it because there's a pretty expensive coffee table in the Restoration Hardware catalog that I'd like to get.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Occupations

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.
~ Aristotle
- - - - -

Michelle: We need to go see that new Zywicki baby.

Chris: What was the name again?

Elizabeth: Riki-Tiki Zywicki.

Michelle: It should be.

Chris: What is it, really?

Michelle: Liliana Debra.

Chris: Liliana Debra Zywicki?

Michelle: Yes. I think she'll be a cellist.

Maddie: What? Why would you say that?

Chris: Like Madeline Fowler sounds like a physician. "Paging, Dr. Madeline Fowler"

Michelle: And Elizabeth sounds like someone on America's Most Wanted. Elizabeth "Liz" "Lizzie" "Little Bit" "Shorty" Fowler.

Elizabeth: NICE, Michelle. Liliana is a cello-player, Maddie is a doctor and I'm a criminal!

Michelle: Elizabeth Fowler was last seen headed east on Lincoln Way...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nuts

We tend to idealize tolerance, then wonder why we find
ourselves infested with losers and nut cases.
~ Patrick Nielsen Hayden
- - - - -

Elizabeth was really upset the other night because she thought Chris called her "Little Idiot." What Chris actually said was "You're my little itty bit, Lizabeth."

Miscommunication is funny.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Doorknobs

Doorknob:
Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.
~ Alice in Wonderland (1951 film based on the work of Lewis Carroll)
- - - - -

I don't know what is more disconcerting about a detached doorknob, the fact that I can't get in to wherever the doorknob came from or the fact that whoever is in there may not be able to get out.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mouth

An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes.
~ Cato
- - - - -

Some people think these kind of talking mouth / chattering teeth are funny. I, however, disagree. The idea of disembodied mouths running around moving of their [perceived] own accord is disturbing.

Of course, these toys are no more disturbing than some of the embodied mouths running around and talking every day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Doors

There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.
~ Jim Morrison
- - - - -

We don't have very good "slamming doors" in our house. I think that's good. I remember my parents put strips of foam rubber around the edges of a couple of the bedroom doors (Erik's and mine) while we were growing up. We could still close the doors, we just couldn't slam them when we were angry at our parents' ignorance. Or at each other.

I think that's a good practice if you have slammable doors and teenagers in the same house.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Windmills

There isn't a single windmill owner in Holland who doesn't have a second job — for when there is no wind.
~ Johnny Ball
- - - - -

It's good to keep your skills ready in case you need them. For example, if something happens and I don't work in higher education anymore, I can fall back on my skills of fixing vacuum cleaners and copy machines. Except that I don't have any certification to do those. I could also return to my previous work ing public radio except that if higher education cuts jobs because of funding, public radio probably won't be hiring, either. In addition, I am excellent at winding up strings of holiday lights. But that's mostly seasonal work, I bet.

So, as you can see, it's good to have a diversified portfolio of skills - just in case.