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Monday, May 30, 2011


I'm lazy. But it's the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn't like walking or carrying things.
~ Lech Walesa

- - - - -

I am not sure what is lazier  — not taking the time to boil your eggs or not taking the time to peel them.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.  
~James Thurber
- - - - -

When we were kids, my brother, my cousin and I would lip sync to three songs:

Copa Cabana by Barry Manilow
Crocodile Rock by Elton John
The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence

We had some pretty serious choreography and acting to go along with them.  

I am glad that there were not phones with video cameras in them then.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Silence is a text easy to misread.
~ A. A. Attanasio
- - - - -

One of the pieces of Iowa State Department of Residence mythology involves a hall director who wanted a silent letter at the beginning of her name. She was given a silent Q at the beginning of her name. I believe it was given to her by Ryan Evely Gildersleeve.

Now, many of us simply call her Q. Her real name is Suzanne. I don't know anyone who calls her QSuzanne. But then, if the Q is silent, I wouldn't be able to tell, would I?

Friday, May 27, 2011


The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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I have always been really good at finding things.  One time when I was a kid I was walking in a stream and a fishing lure got stuck in my big toe.  Not long after I also got to find out what a tetanus shot felt like.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I don't answer the phone. I get the feeling whenever I do
that there will be someone on the other end.
~Fred Couples
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I am about to go on a trip where I won't really have cell phone reception.  I think that will be good for me.  And good for everyone I know, too.  For a little while, it won't matter what you call me.  I won't answer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


You must grow like a tree, not like a mushroom.
~ Janet Erskine Stuart
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First of all, there aren't as many quotations about mushrooms as I expected there would be.  Second, most of the quotations about mushrooms are pretty negative.  Third, I think mushrooms would get more quotations and respect if they were called something other than "mushrooms."  For example, "Shade blossoms" or "Moisture blooms" or maybe if we just stressed the FUN part of fungi.

Anyway, these are some morels we found in our backyard with the help of our friend Jerry.  I love finding morels.  I am hoping more will grow next year.  

We gave them to our neighbors because:

1. We were leaving on vacation.
2. I am the only person at our house who eats morels.
3. Our neighbors are always giving us things.
4. Best to have a test group before eating things that randomly grow in your backyard.

Monday, May 23, 2011


A friend of mine once sent me a post card 
with a picture of the entire planet Earth taken from space. 
On the back it said, "Wish you were here.
~ Steven Wright
- - - - -

I buy a lot of cards to send to people.  You know what, though?  They don't make "You're Welcome" cards.  I would buy and send a TON of those if they made them.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I don't know why I should have to learn Algebra... 
I'm never likely to go there.
~ Billy Connolly

- - - - -

I am pretty sure that if I would have had a dry erase board and a bunch of colored markers in my room when I was 11 years old that I wouldn't have written algebraic equations on it.

Elizabeth is a freak sometimes.

But a freak we are trying to get into M.I.T. if she wants to go there.

Go, Algebra Girl!  Go!

Friday, May 20, 2011


If you make friends with yourself, you will never be alone
~ Maxwell Maltz
- - - - -

Elizabeth: (while texting Emma) Oh!  I forgot to put "possum" at the end.  "Awesome Possum" -- that's my saying.

Maddie:  I don't know how you have friends.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm writing a new love story, set in eastern North Carolina. Surprise, surprise, huh?
~ Nicholas Sparks
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When we made our trip to North Carolina for vacation, I put together some music for us.  One of the songs I included was "Carolina in my Mind" by James Taylor.

Maddie:  Oh -- he's singing "Carolina."  (pause)  But he's only going there in his mind.  Ha.

Elizabeth:  Do you have "Sweet Caroline?"

One of the other songs was not "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond.  Fortunately, though, the girls knew all the words to that.  Or at least enough of them to string a few phrases together loudly for the next twenty minutes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I've been things and seen places.
~ Mae West
- - - - -

Elizabeth:  Do they have a Ron Paul Surf Shop here?

Chris:  I think you mean Ron Jon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old.
~ Winston Churchill
- - - - -

I like most old things, but I do not like old books.  The way they smell grosses me out.  I think it's because the idea of other people touching those pages and then me having to touch them is troubling.  However, my old book problem is better than my friend who used to get explosive diarrhea from walking into a fabric store.

Monday, May 16, 2011


The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.  
~Erma Bombeck
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Chris: Who wants to go with me to the store? We're out of cat litter and dog food.

Maddie: (still under the influence of the drugs from having her wisdom teeth out) Why don't we just let Neko poop in a box and then Ripley can eat it?

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The sage speaks of what he sees; the fool, of what he hears.
~ Turkish Proverb
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You might think that someone who lived on "Sage Avenue" would be wise.  But you would be wrong.  At least not those one people who live there and have three giant German Shepherds that they let roam freely and attack cars that are driving by.  Those people aren't wise at all.  Neither are the dogs that belong to those people because I almost squashed one.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Earth laughs in flowers.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

When I told Ginny that I hated marigolds, but I was growing them to try and keep the rabbits away from our tulips and hostas, she asked me why I hate marigolds. I told her I hate the smell. Then I told her I was growing white ones instead of the red-orange-yellow ones. She said, "Those probably don't smell as much."

At first I thought she was being supportive of my loathing of the way marigolds smell, but then I realized that she was actually undermining my rabbit-deterrent plan.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

I looked on my Facebook wall and saw this question from Elizabeth Fowler, "Do you think Michelle Boettcher is secretly a unicorn?"

Okay, who even asks questions like that?! Trust me, if I was a unicorn, EVERYONE would know it. I'd be proud to be a unicorn. And I'd use my antler to gouge people I didn't like. And I'd fly. And be able to breathe under water. I'd be like a seahorse unicorn.

I just checked with Elizabeth and she answered the question above, "No." She knows me so well.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.
~ Abraham Lincoln

- - - - -

I am glad that - unlike bikes - we don't start life with something called "training feet."  That would freak me out.  And would they just fall off when you didn't need them or would your parent have to remove them with a wrench?

Sometimes I think the way things have played out in human development is just right.  Sometimes I don't think that, but sometimes I do.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Why slap them on the wrist with feather when you can 
belt them over the head with a sledgehammer?
~ Katharine Hepburn

- - - - -

You know Easter is over when you see a smashed peep on the ground.  And also you know it is over when the date on the calendar that says "Easter" has passed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Hard though it may be to accept, remember that guilt is sometimes
a friendly internal voice reminding you that you're messing up.
~ Marge Kennedy
- - - - -

You might think that peeking in your neighbor's window to make sure he isn't suffering from night terrors is a friendly thing to do. Not every neighbor will agree with you, though. And a lot of times law enforcement won't agree with you, either.

Monday, May 9, 2011


 These are bagpipes. I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.
~ Alfred Hitchcock
- - - - -

When you grow up in Iowa, you become accustomed to seeing things that represent the culture and livelihoods that keep the state running.  I pride myself on being able to distinguish the smells of pigs, cows, and chickens.  They're really quite different.  To the unsophisticated nose, though, they just all smell bad.

Trust me, just like with man, there are different degrees of badness with man-ure.  Often the level of badness has to do with proximity.  Or quantity.  As I said, just like with people.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Begin, be bold and venture to be wise.
~ Horace
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Elizabeth is one of the most brave, bold, and confident people I know. Except at bedtime. At bedtime she always has a pain that requires an ice pack. And she whines. I guess it takes a lot of energy and hurts your foot "like there's a needle poking in it" to be that brave, bold, and confident all day long.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
not going all the way, and not starting.
- - - - -

Liar, liar — pants on fire!

That seems pretty Draconian.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion . . .  I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
~ Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
- - - - -
Having worked in the residence halls for a number of years, I had the great opportunity to observe some interesting things. One incident took place at the end of the spring semester when students were moving out. A resident came to the front desk and asked to use some Goo Gone which we had purchased to help students remove the adhesive from dry erase boards they posted on their doors and the like.

Anyway, his staff member came into his room to see how things were going as he was preparing to move and the student was attempting to clean what appeared to be dried vomit off of his wall with the Goo Gone.

"What are you doing?" the staff member asked.

"Trying to clean my wall," the resident replied.

"That won't work," the staff member said.

"Why not?" asked the resident. "It's goo!"

Thursday, May 5, 2011


There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a
problem, and a concerned person solves a problem.
~ Harold Stephens
- - - - -
A few days ago we got an email from one of Elizabeth's teachers about her friendships getting in the way of her productivity in art class. For some reason, the message came just to me and not to both Chris and I. I forwarded the email to Chris. Here is a summary of our email exchanges around that topic:

Michelle: I would like Elizabeth not to have any friends over tonight until we discuss this.

Chris: She has softball practice, so she won't be home until later.

Michelle: Okay. I am concerned that this kind of behavior is becoming a pattern with her. What are your thoughts?

Chris: I'm out of beer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating
the cage in which man is kept imprisoned.
~ Swami Nirmalananda
- - - - -

When people keep a lot of stuff in their yards, I think it's disrespectful. It's a lot harder to get close enough to the house to look in the windows at night with all that junk in the yard.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


A fact is like a sack - it won't stand up if it's empty. To make it stand up, first you have to put in it all the reasons and feelings that caused it in the first place.
~ Luigi Pirandello
- - - - -

The grocery bagging drama continues for my friend Ryan.  The other day he asked for paper and as much as possible into the paper sack.  He said it twice thinking it would matter if he made it very clear.  The checker heard him and he repeated it to the bagger when the bagger arrived.  The bagger then put items in a plastic bag, put the plastic bag in the bottom of the paper bag and covered the plastic bagged items with other items.

Then this evening, Ryan called and we had the following exchange.

Phone rings.

Michelle:  Hello?

Ryan:  So, if you were to bag 1 jar of salsa, 2 bags of shredded cheese, 1 quart of soy milk, and a box of eggo waffles, how would you put those items in a single paper bag with handles so as to put as many items as possible into as few bags as possible?

(I paused, considering what response would most enrage my friend)

Michelle:  I would probably put each item into an individual paper bag and then tie the handles of all the paper bags together with as many plastic bags as possible.

Ryan:  (laughing, but ignoring my response)  Would you put the two packages of cheese in the bottom of the bag and pile the other items on top of the cheese?

Michelle:  No.  I would probably put in the salsa and milk first —

Ryan:  Interesting.

Michelle:  And after doing that I feel that I could probably stand the other items vertically so that no item had to sit on any other item.

Ryan:  Exactly!

What I didn't say to Ryan is that I hope he doesn't invite me over for a brunch of eggo waffle quesadillas.

Monday, May 2, 2011


I guess I just prefer to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And chipped a tooth.
~ Janeane Garofalo

- - - - -

Maddie: (looking at a vending machine) Look! Shot glasses!

Michelle: How do you know what shot glasses are?

Maddie: Duh, Michelle! Elizabeth, do you know what shot glasses are?

Elizabeth: Uh - huh! They're what Mom and Michelle drink out of!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don't let them scare you unduly,
for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.
~ R. I. Fitzhenry
- - - - -

I cannot figure out why the girls love '80s hairband music. One of Maddie's favorite songs is, "Cherry Pie" by Warrant. Today Elizabeth announced that she loves "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison.

Maybe the person most surprised and concerned is Chris. She gave me a look of despairpain or shockdisgust when Elizabeth said, "Guess what song I love by the band Poison?" And I said, "The only one I can think of is Every Rose Has Its Thorn." I do have a freakishly powerful recall of songs.

Anyway, seriously, we raised them better than that.


Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.
- - - - -

So, I have learned that when I am under stress that I don't wake up with music in my head. This is a disappointing post, but here are the songs in my head since February...

March 13: Rocket Man by Elton John
April 15: Brand New Key by Melanie Safka
April 30: Born this Way by Lady Gaga

The positive thing is that the music has not been replaced with voices in my head.