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Sunday, March 31, 2013


If Jesus were around today he wouldn't be riding around on a donkey.  He'd be taking the plane.  He'd be using the media.
~ Joel Osteen
- - - - -

I disagree.  I mean, really, neither Joel Osteen nor I know what Jesus would do if he was here today.  I don't think he'd be riding on planes, though.  Just my humble opinion.  I also don't think he'd be wearing a bracelet with the letters, "WWID?"

Saturday, March 30, 2013


The key to everything is patience.  You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
~ Arnold H. Glasgow
- - - - -

The early arrival of spring based on the groundhog has yet to happen.  It has been colder than usual and definitely colder than a year ago.  Some people are very down about this.  They are ready for warm weather and sunshine.  I would like that, too, but I can't control it, so I will just wait until it gets nicer.

I do like to do things to help people, though.  I know my parents are getting older and old people are cranky and crotchety and impatient.  So, this year I am going to do something special for them.  In order to celebrate spring - the spring to come if not the spring we have right now - I am going to hide little surprises in their home  I am going to hide eggs around the house so that they can have a little chuckle about the Easter Bunny leaving them eggs.

And as an added bonus, I am not going to dye the eggs.  And I am not going to hard boil them.  That way, when they find them - in a few days or weeks or months - they case use them however they want.  They won't be bound to have hard boiled eggs.  They could fry them or use them in bread or they could choose to hard boil them later.

My generosity overwhelms me sometimes.

Friday, March 29, 2013


I was eating at a Chinese restaurant downtown.  There was a dish called, "Mother and Child Reunion."  It's chicken and eggs.  And I said, "I gotta use that one."
~ Paul Simon
- - - - -

I love mailboxes.  I think it is interesting when people want to convert their mailboxes into works of art.  I think making art out of everyday items is a gift.

I am not going to say whether I think the person who created this chicken out of a mailbox was able to execute "good" art or not.  It is not my place to make that assessment publicly.  I'll just make it privately.

I do wonder what the mail carrier thinks about things like this.  If s/he ever gives thought at all to the types of mailboxes people have.  Maybe not.  S/he might be too busy with the mail.  I wonder if the people at this house leave Easter eggs for the mail carrier in the mailbox each year.  That would be kind of funny, but I hope the people who live there aren't disappointed since Easter falls on Sunday this year and there isn't mail service on Sundays.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


If you want to reach people, theater is not always the best way to do it.
~ Harvey Fierstein
- - - - -

Leslie recently took me to see the play "Thurgood."  I enjoyed it.  I love the Supreme Court and Thurgood Marshall is one of my favorite justices.

Before the play began, we had the opportunity to listen to two oldsters - Leslie thought maybe they were on a date - talk about their ears.  I thought it strange date conversation, but they didn't seem familiar as friends or longtime companions, so she may have been right.

Her:  I just got my ears irrigated.  Painful was not the word for it.
Him:  Every six months I get my ears cleaned out.  They do an effective job.  They put it on a screen and you can watch 'em do it.
Her:  My audiologist does mine.  He uses a little hook.
Him:  If you want the name of my guy, you can make an appointment to get your ears cleaned.

The irony is that as much as I didn't really want to listen to their conversation, I was oddly consoled by the fact that no one had to use a hook in my ear or show me on a screen how they cleared out my ears in order to hear the two of them talk.

I was concerned when about three minutes into the play I heard this...

Her:  Can you hear it?
Him:  Yes.  Can you?
Her:  Yes.

And then later there was a strange humming sound.  We didn't ever figure out what it was, but sounded like some sort of machine.  I was afraid to look for fear of what else they might be cleaning out.

Later, Leslie said, "We have that to look forward to."  Which concerns me.  Because I'm not looking forward to that at all.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.
~ H.L. Mencken
- - - - -
I know that the best thing we can do for the world is to love the world.  The people in it, their faults and their grace.  The challenges and obstacles we face.  We should love time and sense of place.  Not only the winning, but the race. We should love and give love and then we will be most likely to receive it back.  And if we love ourselves, well - then you've always got that.
So, I know that love is the answer.  I just really, really hope that the question isn't, "How do you feel about cooked spinach.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


You have to expect that if you cuss out the world, 
the world is going to cuss back.
~ Andrew Young
- - - - -

I think it is interesting that when I have a problem focusing, it is not always accompanied by a problem cussing.  Sometimes it is easy to swear when I can't stay on task or pay attention very well.  It's as if focusing is the foe of cussing.  Coincidence?  Surely not.

You might wonder what a flower has to do with all of this.  Well, let me tell you...


I can't remember.

Monday, March 25, 2013


The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.
~ Zora Neale Hurston
- - - - -

I love the name "Ova Easy" for this product.  Clever.  I like clever. 

I will say that "Egg Crystals" don't appeal to me.  Well, at least not Whole Egg Crystals.  Maybe Partial Egg Crystals.  Or Deviled Egg Crystals.  But I don't care for Whole Egg Crystals.

Sentences you will never hear: "Hey, Mom!  Can we have Egg Crystals for dinner?!"

Because we all know kids only like Egg Crystals for breakfast. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Is it worthwhile to observe that there are no Venetian blinds in Venice?
~ William Dean Howells
- - - - -

Blinds don't just keep sunshine from coming in, they keep your sunshine from going out.  They can protect and shield us, but they also isolate and separate us.  It is hard for us to really see the world if we don't let the world really see us.  You can't partially engage and fully experience what is going on around you.  Living is a reciprocal arrangement.

That said, it's okay to close the blinds sometimes.  Because sometimes we don't want to see you.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


A great artist is always before his time or behind it.
~ George Edward Moore
- - - - -

I was reviewing this post and I have no idea what the context of the discussion was. 

Sara:  They will never be Picasso or Van Gogh.

Me:  Which is good.

Sara:  Yes.  Ears are good.

While it is possible that I missed some of the lines of dialogue, I doubt it.  This is the way Sara communicates with me a lot of the time.  It's like there are pieces missing in our conversation.  But we've just gotten to the point that we laugh and move on.  Sara is laughing because it is funny to her (I think).  I generally am laughing because I think she somehow conditioned me to do it.


I bet that's why she keeps that bell on her desk.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Always observe how ephemeral and worthless human things are.  Pass then through this little space of time conformably to nature, and end thy journey in content, just as on olive falls off when it is ripe, blessing nature who produced it, and thanking the tree on which it grew.
~ Marcus Aurelius
- - - - -

I think that it is interesting that there are pimentos in some olives.  I think the difference in color is striking.  And it's like there's a little surprise in each olive.

If you think about it, we are not so different from these olives.  We might look one way on the outside, but each of us has something surprising inside of us.  Sometimes it surprises other people, but often it even surprises us.  Depending on how we look at one another, we might never see that surprising thing.  We might miss out on a central part of other person's being.

And also, just as the pimento inside an olive is red, so is the inside of a person red.  Like, from the blood and stuff.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Don't close the barn door after the horse escapes.
~ American Proverb
- - - - -

Maybe you close the barn door not because a horse escaped, but so no more horses will escape.  or maybe you close the barn door so that your neighbor doesn't steal your pitchfork.  Or see your penis.  If you have one.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.
~ John Wayne
- - - - -

Leslie is coming to visit in a few days, and I suggested that we could take a road trip while she's here.

Leslie:  Where?

Me:  I don't know.  Maybe the SPAM museum?

Leslie:  How far is that?

Me:  I think two or four hours away.

(long pause)

Me:  Oh!  Guess what they're making into a musical?

Leslie:  I don't know.

Me:  The Bridges of Madison County.  Kirk told me he's going to make Jared go.

Leslie:  Oh no.

Me:  I told Kirk I was sad that they already made it because I think we could come up with some good songs for it.  Like, "Nope.  Not getting out of this truck."

Leslie:  I don't want to go see it.  That book was horrifically written.

Me:  We could go see the Bridges of Madison County - the actual bridges.

Leslie:  That might be nice.  I bet they're pretty.  Or - I suppose John Wayne's birthplace is in totally the opposite direction.

Me:  No.  It's in the same town.

Leslie:  I like John Wayne.

Me:  I know.

The moral of the story is, there are a lot of exciting things to see and do on daycations around Iowa.  I guess they're called day trips or staycations.  I like daycations.

Sometimes I take daydreamcations at work.  But it's weird because every time I go all the people I work with are there.

On a pretty much unrelated note, corned beef and cabbage gives me incredibly violent dreams.  It's probably the sodium.  Sodium violentathol.

This has been a rambly entry.  Much in the same way that one rambles around on a road trip or a daycation.  See how I brought this all full circle?  Words are fun.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all.  No man can serve two masters.  Your life is shaped by the end you live for.  You are made in the image of what you desire.
~ Thomas Merton
- - - - -

I like distorted images because I think we all distort reality.  There is no reality. There are just impressions. But some impressions are creepier than others.  Which is okay.  And one of the impressions I have is that ghosts exist.  I'm pretty sure it was a ghost that woke me up to watch Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding.  By pulling on my pillow.  No one else was awake.  It wasn't a scary ghost.  Just being helpful, I think.

There are scary ghosts.  Like the one that came to my house one time and moved every item I own to the right side of my home.  It kept happening again and again. And then I realized it was an Ann Coultergeist.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Our senses are indeed our doors and windows on this world, 

in a very real sense the key to the unlocking of meaning 

and the wellspring of creativity.

~ Jean Houston

- - - - -

I have a few things on my to do list that I really need to get to work on.  Many of them involve writing film scripts.  Like the one about Pearl Bailey which will star Queen Latifah.  And the one about Mabel Normand starring Eva Amurri.

I really need to get to work on those.

Also, I need to get contact information for Queen Latifah and Eva Amurri.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


My two favorite colors of the rainbow are gold and leprechaun.
~ Jarod Kintz
- - - - -

First of all, I know that this is a nutcracker and not a leprechaun.  But, if you think about it, they are pretty similar, aren't they?  I think they are at least cousins in the realm of holiday-connected fantasy creatures.

Now on to the point of this post...

David:  What was the title of "Leprechaun 4?"
Michael: "Leprechaun 4: Back in Da Hood."
Me:  I'm not sure if I'm more IMpressed or DEpressed that you know that.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


There is nothing to writing.
All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
~ Ernest Hemingway

- - - - -
I love typewriters.  My grandmother had an old one we used to play with.  My mom had one a lot like this one.  I think maybe it was more green than teal.  I always thought that magic came out of typewriters because you used them to make things that didn't exist before.  New things that no one else had come up with before.  New places.  New people.  Inventions and combinations of words not seen before.  Ideas made concrete, but at the same time malleable by the reader. 

Of course, when I was six or seven, I highly doubt that I used the word "malleable" in my thoughts.  Maybe "Silly Puttyish" instead.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Nothing goes by luck in composition.  It allows no tricks.  
The best you can write will be the best you are.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -

There are all those quotes about good luck happening when you are prepared.  I think that is true most of the time.  The more you are ready for something, the more likely you are to find opportunities to make things happen.

And the opposite is also true.  I can honestly say that the tests for which I did not prepare in high school and college were some of the most unlucky tests I ever took.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.
~ Orison Swett Marden
- - - - -

I have mentioned Downton Abbey before.  I am about to mention it again.

A while ago Leslie and I were talking about Sybil's untimely demise as a result of eclampsia.  I told Leslie that in a future episode the Downtons were going to start a campaign about safety in childbirth.  That they felt so strongly that women needed better healthcare that they even were going to re-name eclampsia to increase awareness of what could happen.  I told her they were going to call it "Sybillus."

She was not amused and gave me a look like one the Dowager Countess might have given if the DC were to say to me, "Vulgarity is no substitute for wit."

And if you didn't know the thing about Sybil before now, sorry.  But, I think it happened in like 1919 or something, so catch up.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
~ Buddha
- - - - -

I was working on a project and it included using some of these Magnetic Poetry words.  In order to best find the words I wanted I sort of alphabetized them.  By first letter, at least.  It made me feel good to give order to so many words.  Some structure.  Some system.  

I don't know why I like things organized so much.  I have to be careful that I don't spend so much time getting organized that I forget to take the next step and create.  Or even to just be.  Structure is all good and whatever, but spontaneity is living.  At least to me. 

I probably kind of do that when I write, too.  I have to have some sort of idea in mind before I put words on paper.  I like that, "The pen is mightier than the sword."  It is interesting, however that it's not, "The words are mightier than the sword."  Because "words" and "sword" have the same letters.  

I have no idea what that means or why or if that is significant.  I'm just making observations.  I do that sometimes.  I do think, however, that if a "Wordfish" and a "Swordfish" got in a fight, the swordfish would win, unless the wordfish was able to convince the swordfish to become transformed into a plowsharefish - which I find unlikely.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


A lot of good arguments are spoiled by some fool who knows what he is talking about.
~ Miguel de Unamuno
- - - - -

I'm about 90% sure that the pickled herring I ate was still good.  Of course some would argue that pickled herring is never good.  Of course those some would be wrong and would be being insensitive to my Scandinavian culture. 

But if you argued that lutefisk is never good...  I am not going to argue that.  It's fine to me (neutral, really).  I do, however, understand that it might be problematic to some (almost nearly every single one of the) people.  When Reyes and I talked about going on The Amazing Race, I really hoped that there would be a lutefisk challenge, because I could rock that.

Of course then we'd probably have to put our hands in a pocket of crumbs and other peoples' hair.  That, my friends, is a challenge I would fail.

Monday, March 11, 2013


(Art by Andy Magee)

There is no defense against criticism except obscurity.
~ Joseph Addisono
- - - - -

I, for one, am glad there is so much spending on defense.  I think that it is funding well spent.  People criticize defense-spending and highlight other priorities.  Every person has a right to her or his opinion.  This blog is where I express mine.  I think funding defense is important.

Of course, it is very selfish on my part.  I have my doctoral defense today and that check I got in the mail for $ 1.5 trillion is really going to come in handy.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I woke up and realized life is great and people are awesome and life is worth living.
~ Hulk Hogan
- - - - -

I think it's good to encourage people to do nice things.  I try to do that in a few different ways.  I try to role model doing nice things.  I try to acknowledge when I see people doing nice things for one another.  I try to highlight opportunities to do nice things.

I provided some of my colleagues the opportunity to do something nice before I went to a recent conference.  I left them each a note card that said, "I think you for your awesomeness," and encouraged each of them to fill it out for me and leave it for me as a surprise when I returned.

Their comments included the following:

Charyl - "I see the word 'Awesome' being replaced by the word 'Michelle' in the English language. eg. 'What a Michelle fireworks display!' 'Wasn't that a Michelle concert?!'"

Jan - "You are a fine colleague."

Pamela - "You are the epitome of AWESOMENESS."

Joy - "Love ya asshole."  (Joy needs to work on her approach a little bit.)

Some of them commented on my dissertation defense:

Abby - " Patty says we'll call you Dr. Michelle Awesome.  Or perhaps Dr. Awesome Boettcher.  Or maybe just princess doctor awesomepants forever."

Basil - "You won't even need to defend [your dissertation]!  You'll walk in and they'll be like, 'Ph shoot!  Here's Michelle!  She's so awesome we'll just give it to her!' And you'll be like, "Awwwwwww yea!  That's right!'"

Tiffany - "Michelle, Michelle where do I start?  Michelle, Michelle I have to fart."

Kipp - "I'm proud of you for being able to balance all the happenings of your life and still not be a pain in the ass to those around you."

Bailey - "In the words fo Ed Rooney (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) 'I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese in the wind!'"

Good work, people.  Good work.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I've never been cool, and I don't care.
~ Celine Dion
- - - - -

I took this picture of Celine Dion in Las Vegas.  It isn't really Celine Dion, but the performer kept striking this pose and it made me laugh.  Because of that, I now love Celine Dion.  At least this Celine Dion.  

I think the first time I heard her music I drove all night - yes - it's all coming back to me now...  I wasn't taking chances, but was hoping for a world to believe in and through the power of a dream I realized that's the way it is.  Whether I get to see fake Celine or real Celine, my heart will go one.

You could say that Celine Dion is a vessel through which beauty and love and music flow.  A vas Celine, if you will.

But you probably wouldn't choose to say that.

And, yes, I am fully aware that this was a long road to travel just to come up with something to go along with my photo of a Celine Dion impersonator.  You'll look back on this post someday and realize you read it to the end because you loved me.

Friday, March 8, 2013


If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.
~ Katharine Hepburn
- - - - -

So, I just got back from a conference in Las Vegas.  I got to room with my friend Mimi.  As we are both in student affairs with residence life backgrounds, I thought it best for us to have a roommate agreement for our time together.  This is what I drafted on my flight to Las Vegas:

1. No overnight guests.
2. No loud parties.
3. No watching shows with the word "HOUSEWIVES" in title.
4. We alternate cleaning / taking out the trash on a weekly basis.  This week is your week.
5. If  you are on the phone and someone is trying to sleep - go in the hall.
6. The "What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas" does not apply to things I might want to put in my blog.
7. No more monkeys jumping on the bed (per doctor's orders).
8. If you snore, you should provide complimentary ear plugs to your roommate.
9. Clothes on the floor are okay, but only in your own space and not in a way that obstructs emergency egress or violates fire or other safety codes.
10. Don't get on each others' nerves.
11. Don't forget your key.
12. If oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, that would be really weird.
13. Pranks are okay but - seriously, Mimi - try not to get too carried away.
14. If you have a problem with someone, talk to them first before going to others.
15. Be respectful.
16. Don't hit the snooze more than once.
17. Other than the snooze, don't hit.
18. Don't steal or covet or sloth.
19. Look both ways before you cross the street.
20. No pets.
21. No smoking.
22. No illegal drugs and no sharing of prescription medication.

Mimi agreed with one edit.  She insisted that we change #5.  The revised version is, "If you are on the phone and someone is trying to sleep - go to hell."

Mimi is very strict.  And has a potty mouth.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


You must try to generate happiness within yourself.  
If you aren't happy in one place, chances are 
you won't be happy anyplace.
~ Ernie Banks
- - - - -

When I looked down and saw this little Ernie in my shopping cart, it made me smile.  But then I wasn't sure how it got there.  I always liked Ernie.  He seemed a little irreverent and pretty easy going with a good sense of humor.  And I also enjoy rubber ducks.

And then I wondered how the Ernie got there.  If he had come to life and climbed into the cart. And if he would continue to show up unexpectedly tormenting me for all of my days.  And then I thought he wasn't so cute and it didn't make me smile so much.

Anything coming to life and tormenting you is scary.  Think about it. There are no exceptions to that statement.  The operative word being tormenting.

But don't think about it for too long or you won't sleep very well.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Last night someone broke into my apartment and replaced everything with exact duplicates...  When I pointed it out to my roommate, he said, "Do I know you?"
~ Steven Wright
- - - - -

I always liked Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street.  Bert seemed a little high strung and Ernie seemed not to be too bright, but I liked them.  I am surprised that Bert continued to be Ernie's roommate.  Like when Bert told Ernie not to eat crackers in bed because he'd get crumbs in the bed.  A few moments later Bert said, "Ernie, what are you doing?"  And Ernie said, "I'm eating crackers in your bed, Bert."

Now, that is pretty rude.  It is also pretty funny.  In a "Well, it's funny if it happened to you but would be infuriating if it happened to me" kind of way. 

I think that maybe if you watch enough Bert and Ernie you can figure out some guidelines for a pretty good roommate contract when you go to college.  Or when you get married or civilly unionized with someone.  Or just shack up.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


The true poem rests between the words.
~ Vanna Bonta
- - - - - -

I love this.  And I love that it is at a rest area just outside of Iowa City.  There is a lot of stuff about writing at this rest area. I admit I am biased, but Iowa has some of the best rest areas in the country, I think.  And I've driven lots of places.  Some states don't even have many rest areas.  People there are less well-rested, I think.  I guess it just depends.

I wanted to take more photos while I was there, but I was in a hurry, and I also think it's just a little bit creepy to take photos at a rest area.  Or it might make people uncomfortable.  Not that I was taking photos in the restroom itself or in the stalls.  Ironically, there wasn't any writing there at all.

Monday, March 4, 2013


I love the rebelliousness of snail mail, and I love anything that can arrive with a postage stamp.  There's something about that person's breath and hands on the letter.
~ Diane Lane
- - - - -

Leslie got so angry about her experience at the post office.  I hope she doesn't get so upset that she is on one of those "banned from the post office" lists.  My mom got on one of those and ended up with her photo in the Post Office.


Wait.  No.  That was for something else.  Never mind.  Forget I mentioned it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


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
- - - - -

Sometimes I really, really like rain.  It can be quiet or demanding.  It can be gentle or pounding.  It can be soothing or disturbing.  It brings the same water back to earth that has been here so many times before.  The water cycle one of the many cycles of life.  Renewal.  Cleansing.  Refreshing.  Gentle yet persistent.  What has gone will come again.

There's nothing like it.  There is nothing like the dripping of water off of something the way water drips off of silverware as you wash it in the sink. 

Sometimes I really, really like rain.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Creativity is just connecting things.  When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty, because they didn't really do it, they just saw something.  It seemed obvious to them after a while.  That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.
~ Steve Jobs
- - - - -

So when Gretchen went to take a different job, we had a goodbye thing for her.  She likes sock monkeys, so I called Hy-Vee to see if they could make sock monkey cupcakes or cookies.

Bakery Lady:  Well, there are two answers to that.  Yes, I can make a sock monkey, but technically they are trade marked, so I can't make them for you.

Me:  (disappointed)  Oh...

Bakery Lady:  I can make a plain monkey.  Or we have the license to make Curious George.

Me: (knowing Curious George wasn't exactly what I wanted).  Well...  Hey - could you make half of them monkeys and half of them socks?

The Bakery Lady got very excited and said she certainly could do that.  She said that they like making things that are different.  She mentioned that she had already made three Minnie Mouse cakes that day.

I thought about saying, "Oh!!!  Minnie Mouse!  That would be even better!"  But I didn't.  I knew she had her heart sent on making socks.

I'm all kinds of generous and thoughtful like that.

Friday, March 1, 2013


I tend to head for what's amusing because a lot of things aren't happy. 
But usually you can find a funny side to practically anything.
~ Dame Maggie Smith
- - - - -

Today is Friday.  The end of the week.  Just as the plant in this photo has withered and dried up, so has this workweek finished its time with us.  Now it is time for the weekend.  Which is what everybody is working for.  Except the Dowager Countess.  She can't be working for the weekend because she doesn't know what a weekEND is.  And also she doesn't work.

I think I'm drawn to Downton Abbey because their lives are so much like my own.  Like the time when I had to forego my family fortune because even though I am firstborn, I am not male.  Or the time that one of the footmen kidnapped my dog.  Or the time that the guest mysteriously died in my house overnight.  Or the time that...

You know what.  None of that happened to me.

But you can still call me Downton...  Maybe?