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Friday, September 30, 2011


I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
~ David Herbert Lawrence
- - - - -

I wonder if birds ever try to upgrade their birdhouses.  Would a bird be in a small birdhouse and then see one of those crazy birdhouse mansions and want to move into that?  This house, for example...  You can see the birdbath in the distance behind the birdhouse in this photo.  Would a bird think, "That's way too far to fly for a bath.  I need something closer."?

I know birds wouldn't care about not having a bathroom in their birdhouse because they poop everywhere.  And also I think it would be difficult to flush a toilet with a wing.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Never thank anybody for anything, except a drink of water in the desert - and then make it brief. 
~Gene Fowler
- - - - -

I had lunch with my friend Jessica the other day.  Our wait person was very nice, but...  well, read for yourself:

Wait person:  May I get you something to drink?

Jessica:  Do you have iced tea?

WP:  No, we don't have any tea.

Jessica:  Oh, okay.  Do you have Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi?

WP:  Diet Coke.

Jessica:  Okay.  I'll have that.

WP:  Well, our soda machine isn't working.

Jessica: Oh.  Well, what do you have?

WP:  We have water.

Jessica:  (pause)  Okay.  I'd like some water.

WP:  Okay.  (to me)  What would you like to drink?

Me:  Ummm....  I'll have water. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. 
It's jolted by every pebble on the road.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
- - - - -

I like to go out and drive around and take pictures.  I live in Iowa.  Most of the places I go are small towns.  Or roads out in the country.  Sometimes I get strange looks from the people in the small towns.  I guess they're not used to paparazzi.

The roads don't seem to mind so much.

Monday, September 26, 2011


A rattlesnake loose in the kitchen tends to end all discussion of animal rights. 
~ Lance Morrow 
- - - - -

Elizabeth:  So my teacher has a license and she can go get dead animals.  We had to go to all these different stations in class to look at things she found.  She got a snake and brought it.  She was scraping back the skin and you could hear it and she told us to all gather around.  Then she said, "That's where the penis is," and I was like, "Ooooooookaaaaaaaaaay.  Next station for me!"

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Take chances, make mistakes. 
That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. 
You have to fail in order to practice being brave. 
~ Mary Tyler Moore 

- - - - -

Maddie:  Sometimes it's hard to swallow really big pills.  I know — we could practice with almonds.

Michelle:  Or quarters.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language. 
~ Martin Buber 
- - - - -

Michelle:  Look at that dog.

Elizabeth:  What kind of dog is that?

Michelle:  It's a boxer.

Elizabeth:  No, I think it's a pit bull.

Michelle:  No, it's a boxer.

Elizabeth.  I think it's a pit bull.  Go put your face next to it's face.

Friday, September 23, 2011


My dad always used to tell me that if they challenge you to an after-school fight, tell them you won't wait-you can kick their ass right now. 
~ Cameron Diaz 

- - - - -

Today is my dad's birthday.  He kind of looks like Michael Douglas did in the movie, "Falling Down."  That never used to freak me out.  Until the movie "Falling Down" came out.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Just because an animal is large, it doesn't mean he doesn't want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.
~ A. A. Milne
- - - - -

Elizabeth:  So, I saw this commercial for something and then they show Winnie the Pooh — that pig or bear or whatever is.  

Michelle:  Pig?  Winnie the Pooh a PIG?!

Chris:  Elizabeth, do you know what animal Tigger is?

Elizabeth:  A tiger.

Michelle:  DO you know what animal Owl is?!

Elizabeth:  Duh, Michelle.  An owl!

Chris:  Piglet?

Elizabeth:  It's a pig, but it doesn't look like a pig.  It looks like a big, pink mouse with floppy ears.

Chris:  Well, that's what a pig is, Elizabeth.  A big, pink mouse with floppy ears.

Note:  I know that a rhinoceros photo doesn't have much to do with this entry, but it was an animal of which I had a picture.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I can spend hours in a grocery store. I get so excited when I see food, I go crazy. I spend hours arranging my baskets so that everything fits in and nothing gets squashed. I'm really anal about it, actually. 
~ Cameron Diaz 
- - - - -

I miss my friend Ryan.  He used to call and leave me messages like this, "Abox of eggo waffles, two 1 lb packages of meat - ground pork and ground lamb respectively and a package of goldfish crackers.  Oh and a small bag - very, very small bag of baby heirloom tomatoes and a lemon.  How many brown paper bags with handles would these groceries need?  Particularly, if I stressed to the bagger, 'Please use as FEW brown paper bags with handles as possible.'?"

I could usually come up with an answer that both satisfied him and contradicted what the bagger had actually done.  

I miss hearing about his shopping lists.  And his bagging stress.  I suppose the bagging is all "perfect" and "wonderful" in Texas.  Maybe so.  But the stories are not the same.

"Hey, Michelle.  This is Ryan.  I just wanted to let you know I went to the store and they bagged my groceries perfectly."

See?  Not the same at all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Vision without action is a daydream.  
Action without vision is a nightmare. 
-Japanese Proverb
- - - - -

When I was a kid I used to play with the other kids in the neighborhoods.  They were mostly boys.  I remember we used to play "Guns."  "Big cars."  and "Little Cars."  We were pretty creative with the names of the games we played.

I don't think I'd like it much if a bunch of kids in my neighborhood were running around "playing guns."

Maybe if they were squirt guns.

I'd be fine if they ran around playing "Gnus."  Seems like it might be a kind of boring game, though.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. 
~ Seneca
- - - - -

So, I did my capstone project for my PhD program on outdoor recreation student staff.  I got the idea to do something with Outdoor Rec from Chris.  When I was in my dissertation seminar this semester, someone asked me what my capstone was about.  When I told them, someone else said, "That's not fair! You're not supposed to have FUN doing your doctoral work!"

I beg to differ.  Which is why I'm doing my dissertation on what it's like for me to travel around the country and visit friends and get presents from them.  I'm not sure how it will make a significant contribution to existing knowledge about higher education, but - hey - PRESENTS!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
~ Albert Einstein
- - - - -

Maddie wrote this reminder to herself.  One would think that if you wanted banana bread and you knew how to make it and you had bananas, you would not need a reminder.  However, that is not true for 15 year olds.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -

Creativity is one of my favorite things.  I love it when people make something new.  It can be something new from something old or something new from the air around them and the ideas in their heads.

Sometimes the something new they make is a baby.  I do NOT need the details on that, though.

Friday, September 16, 2011


In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad. 
~ Friedrich Nietzsche 
- - - - -

So, a while ago I came home and went to throw something in the trash.  In the trash I saw a can of chicken noodle soup with all the noodles in it.  At first I thought Elizabeth had done something — an experiment most likely.  But she said it was Maddie.

I asked Maddie why she threw out a can of chicken noodle soup.  She said, "I saw a recipe on food network that I wanted to try, but it called for chicken broth and we didn't have any, so I drained the juice off the soup and used it.  It worked pretty well."

Clearly, I can't be angry at ingenuity.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


If a farmer fills his barn with grain, he gets mice. If he leaves it empty, he gets actors.
~ Sir Walter Scott
- - - - -

I always kind of wanted to live in a barn.  But if I did, I would want to have a lot of kids - like 15 or so.  And I would send them to spend time with my parents often.  And then, when my mom would say to them, "Where were you raised?  In a barn?!"  - well, I guess SHE'D feel pretty awful now wouldn't she?  There you go, Mom.  There's your dose of humility.  You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The five S's of sports training are:
Stamina, Speed, Strength, Skill and Spirit;
but the greatest of these is Spirit.
--Ken Doherty

- - - - -

"I don't know if people know this or not, but when there's a cross-country meet, you don't play disc golf.  Seriously.  What idiot plays disc golf through the middle of a meet?!" Elizabeth Fowler.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


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

Elizabeth:  I have an idea - you guess what book I'm reading right now!

Michelle:  Really?!  Okay.  Is it one of the Harry Potter books?

Elizabeth:  Nope.

Michelle:  To Kill a Mockingbird?

Elizabeth:  Nope.

Michelle:  Catcher in the Rye?

Elizabeth:  Nope.

Michelle: A Light in August?

Elizabeth:  Nope.

Michelle:  Okay, give me the letters of the first words in the title.

Elizabeth:  Um, okay...  T  C  Q

Michelle:  Q?  Queen?  Quotient?  Quark?  Hmmm...  Okay, I give up.

Elizabeth:  THE CUPCAKE QUEEN!!!!

Michelle:  (long pause)  Yes.  I would not have ever guessed that.

Elizabeth:  I KNOW!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion. 
~ Ludwig Wittgenstein 
- - - - - 

The other day I ate some cashews that were in the console of our car.  They were in a package, but the package was open.  I learned that if you store an open bag of cashews in the console of a car with an air freshener, the cashews will have an air freshenery taste.

My new word for that is "yuckashew."  I think I also made up the word "freshenery" in this blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Life is never easy for those who dream.
~ Robert James Waller
- - - - -

I think it's good to pursue dreams.  You have to have one first.  And then you have to do something about it.  And if you have a dream and you don't do anything about it, I think you're kind of disrespecting the people who can't have dreams at all.  

But if you have nightmares, I wouldn't pursue those.  I'd run the other way.  Just like I did in my recurring nightmare as a child where I ran away from the witch on the train.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I don't want to be alone, I want to be left alone. 
~ Audrey Hepburn 

- - - - -

Me:  Maddie, do you think you'll be all right home alone?

Chris:  Alone?  She'll be fine.  She was BORN alone!!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Writing is conscience, scruple, and the farming of our ancestors. 
~ Edward Dahlberg 
- - - - -

I think that writing and farming are really the same thing, as Edward Dahlberg alludes in the above quote.   Both involve solitude with time for reflection, patience, a willingness to allow things to grow, riding a tractor, and storing things in a silo.  

Also, if you rearrange the word "farmers" you can get the word "framers."  And what were the "framers" of our Constitution?  That's right.  They were writers.  Think THAT'S a coincidence?  I daresay not.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Other kids did drugs; I did crafts. I never knew where I fit in. 
~ Kathie Lee Gifford 
- - - - -

Some people don't like crafts.  I like to make dioramas of those people out of pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, and glitter glue.  Then I think it helps those people to like crafts.


Okay, that is a lie.  While I do enjoy a good diorama, you would have to pay me a LOT of money to use glitter glue.  Or just plain glitter.  Or even shiny confetti - which is nothing more than oversized glitter.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Love, I find, is like singing. Everyone can do enough to satisfy themselves, though it may not impress the neighbors as being very much.
~ Zora Neale Hurston
- - - - - 

I'd rather be impressed than depressed, suppressed, oppressed, or repressed.  Or even more than just plain pressed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


If anyone would have been paying serious attention 
to my puppet shows, I would have been sent to 
therapy very young. 
~ Bob Balaban 

- - - - -
I didn't mind the fact that there was a puppet theatre at the art festival.  Though I don't care for dolls, puppets are less scary to me.  No, what I minded was the fact that the puppet master kept yelling at the top of his lungs, "PUPPET SHOW IN THREE MINUTES!!  COME TO THE PUPPET SHOW!!  PUPPPET SHOW RIGHT HERE!  PUPPET SHOW IN TWO MINUTES AND THIRTY FIVE SECONDS!  SOME SEE PUPPETS!  REAL PUPPETS!  PUPPET SHOW IN TWO MINUTES AND 27 SECONDS!!"

You get my drift, right?  Well, I got the puppet master's drift, too.  Instead of attracting me to the puppet show, it drove me away.

I won't hold it against all puppets or puppeteers, though.

Also, now that I've typed the word "puppet" over and over, it doesn't look right to me.  But I'm pretty sure it is.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I had a bag of fritos, they were texas grilled fritos. These fritos had grill marks on them. They remind me of something, when we used to fire up the barbeque and throw down some fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on, better flip that frito, dad, you know how I like mine.
~ Mitch Hedberg
- - - - -

As we were driving through the tailgate lots, my sense of smell told me that a lot of people must use charcoal lighter as a condiment.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.
~ Abigail Adams
- - - - -

I checked and the word "skittle" is not a verb, but if it was (and, really, it SHOULD be), the photo above captures what it would mean to "skittle across the desk."

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out.

~ Steven Wright
- - - - -

So, today I am trying to fix my reading glasses.  The little screw came out and somehow magically stayed on my desk and did not roll onto the floor where I would be unable to find out.  However, when you need reading glasses, it is really difficult to get the little screw to go back into where it holds the glasses together.

And, yes, I DID buy that "World's Best Boss" mug for myself.  I kept waiting for Sara or Gretchen to do it.  I figured they must be too busy, so I just got it for my own self.

Friday, September 2, 2011


All is not butter that comes from the cow.  
- - - - -

Michelle: (coming home from doing homework)  Did I miss anything?

Chris:  We watched "Food, Inc." and folded laundry.  Now I think you have three vegetarians that you live with.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


You can learn many things from children.  
How much patience you have, for instance.  
~Franklin P. Jones
- - - - -

Elizabeth:  You need to take your phone to Verizon.

Chris:  No.  It works when I shake it.  Just like babies.  I used to shake you and look at you now.