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Sunday, June 30, 2013


We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; 
no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of 
while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.
~ Tennessee Williams
- - - - -

I am going to be moving.  My neighbor smokes and the smell gets in my part of the rental.  She is also freakishly loud.  It didn't use to be so bad because she was only loud on Friday nights when some hilarious show is on or when the St. Louis Cardinals played baseball.  And then she got a roommate.  Now she is loud ALL the time.

Since I've lived here, I have found that I keep my doors and windows closed.  Mainly to keep the noise and smoke out of my home.  But it has had a significant psychological effect on me.  And those of you who know me know that I don't need any additional psychoses.

Right now both of my co-duplex residents are gone.  I have both doors and some windows open.  I like it. 

I also like that I'm not co-duplex residents with Tennessee Williams. Sounds like his place is worse.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Fashion is architecture.  It is a matter of proportions.
~ Coco Chanel
- - - - -

I am not sure the context of this conversation and who was involved in it.  It sounds like something Kirk and I would have said to one another.  It's hard to say, though.  There is a part of me that assumes this was just something I overheard since I am rarely involved in dialogue related to fashion.  Hard to believe, I know, but it's true.

Person 1:  He's looking for a fashionista.
Person 2:  Why would he want you?
Person 1:  I mean - if he wanted an award-wining show about fashion.

There is a difference between award-winning shows about fashion and award-winning fashion.

-ista means someone who follows a principle of something.  Which, if someone followed the principles of the Easter Bunny, she would be an Easter Bunnyista.  Or someone who followed the principles of the west  would be a Westista.

There are so many thoughts needing to be thought.

Friday, June 28, 2013


The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
- - - - -

I wish I was more forgiving.  I think I am understanding, but I know that isn't the same thing.  To me understanding is being able to put together the context in which another person may have made a decision or taken an action and not being so critical or harsh or hurt because of that.  Which is good.  And can be helpful.  

I think that being forgiving is not being so critical or harsh or hurt without any context of "the other."  It's being willing to let things go.  To assume goodwill.  To know that their actions are about what is in them not really about you.  At least most of the time.

In a way being understanding is an extra step that can impede or even prevent the forgiveness process.  It requires review and critique instead of being based simply on kindness towards others.

I guess I'll need to think more about this.  Maybe I've got it all wrong.  I've made mistakes in the past.  But that's understandable.  (pause)  

Oops.  I mean forgivable. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Just because someone's pretty doesn't mean she's decent.  Or vice versa.  I'm not into appearances.  I like flaws, I think they make things interesting.
~ Sarah Dessen
- - - - -

A year ago about now I was on the water in Utah.  I would go to sleep every night under the starriest sky I have ever seen.  My goal was to see at least three shooting (or falling) stars each night before I went to sleep.  Other than the last night or so when it rained / was cloudy, I achieved that goal.  That was my favorite part of the day.

I never thought of myself as a desert person.  I don't like movies about the desert or about being trapped in snow.  But I like visiting the desert.  It is pretty in a way that other things aren't pretty.  Pretty in its own way.

Much like people.  We are all pretty in our own ways.  Some are pretty smart.  Others are pretty tall.  Some are pretty annoying.  Julia Roberts is Pretty Woman.  Roy Orbinson sang Pretty Woman pretty well. 

That's pretty much it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


The shoe that fits one person pinches another; 
there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.
~ Carl Jung
- - - - -

It is good to reflect.  And it is good to look at things from a variety of angles.  We don't and can't know everything about everything.  But we can try to know more about some things than we already know.  If we are curious.  If we want to pursue a more full picture or a more complete understanding.

Case in point: Shoe Mirrors.  It's interesting that we have shoe mirrors, but I don't really understand the purpose given the angle of the mirrors.  I suppose it's not a bad thing to consider your shoes from a different perspective.  However, let me tell you that if someone was lying on the floor to actually see my shoes from this angle, it would be disconcerting. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; 
a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
~ Buddha
- - - - -

Sometimes friendships change.  Which, I think, is good.  Because people change.  If you try to hold on to the same type of friendship with a person over the course of decades, that is kind of weird.  You're not the same person you were when you're 40 that you were when you were 10.  In some cases the friendships evolve as we change.  In other cases the friendships just come to a close.

Elizabeth and I had a conversation kind of like this.  I was talking to her about Facebook friends who have unfriended me.  It happens.

Me:  I'm kind of proud of the list of Facebook friends who have unfriended me.

E:  Why?

Me:  Well, in a lot of cases, they turned out to be not very nice people.

E:  Oh.  I guess I'd better --

Me:  Don't say that you have to go home and unfriend me.

E:  Oh, no.  I was going to say that I need to go home and send you a new friend request...

She is a clever one.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Your success and happiness lies in you.  Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
~ Helen Keller
- - - - -

I found this upon reviewing drafts for my blog.  I think I had intended to post it on January 1st, 2013.  Instead, I'll post it today.  E's birthday...

I struggled with what to write for this New Year's Day post.  I wasn't sure if I should be reflective, philosophical, cynical...  And then I saw this picture of Elizabeth at the beach.  I love the ocean.  And I love Elizabeth.  And so I decided to go with this for a post...

A new year's day is a chance to look ahead differently.  To see things in a new way.  It's our annual "do-over."  Our "this year I'm gonna..." moment.  The time when we haven't made any mistakes this year, yet.  And we are working toward a set of sometimes ambiguous and sometimes unachievable goals.

I don't think the symbol for New Year's should be a baby.  A baby can't do anything - besides wear a sash and a top hat, I guess.  I know it's supposed to represent possibility.  But it is possibility without capability.

I think the symbol for New Year's should be a 12 year old.  Obnoxious at times, but with enough knowledge to know that some of the things the rest of us don't think are possible ARE possible.  Not only are they possible, but each 12 year old is the one person who can achieve those possibilities.  Kind of like the political candidates caucusing in Iowa around this time.

With most 12 year-olds, you don't know for sure if they'll use their powers for good or for evil.  Same thing with each new year.  You don't know if it's going to be good or super-sucky.

Also, I think that the New Year's symbol should probably be a 12 year old girl.  Because most pre- and early-teen old boys, as I have mentioned before, look and act like Shrek and there could be copyright issues if we used them.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.
~ William D. Tammeus
- - - - -

I can only imagine how much of a shock it was for Luke Skywalker to learn that Darth Vader is his father.  Oops.  I should have given a spoiler alert in case people haven't seen Star Wars.  Or at least for those who haven't seen The Empire Strikes Back.

I have to believe that Mr. Vader was doing what he thought was best for his family.  Right?

I don't think people should tell other people how to raise their kids.


Well, I did tell that one guy that I thought he ought to use BOTH hands to raise his infant daughter over his head. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013


The grave is but a covered bridge,
Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- - - - -

I really like bridges.  You may have already realized that if you have read some of my other blog posts.  This is one of the covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa.  I need for you to understand that while I like bridges and I even enjoy seeing the bridges in Madison County, I did not enjoy reading The Bridges of Madison County.  Actually, I'm not 100% sure that I read the entire book.  I did see the movie. 

I like Meryl Streep.  She was in the movie.  While I didn't see her on my recent trip, I like to think that she probably was there.  Admiring me from afar.  Too nervous to come up and ask for my autograph.  I think I get that a lot from celebrities, but of course I can never be sure.

Friday, June 21, 2013


I have no special talent.  
I am only passionately curious.
~ Albert Einstein
- - - - -

I have written blogs like this before, but sometimes I find notes I have written and have no idea what they mean.  I assume they were possible prompts for the blog, but I am  not always sure.

Today, I found a Post-It brand post it note with the following on it:

"Fly in the car.  albatri pl of albatross.  coral sex."

Albatri is NOT the plural of albatross.  Albatrosses is.  Or albatross is also acceptable as plural.  However, I guess that albatri is Italian for albatross.  

I like to try to find ways to link disparate ideas.  This is a challenging one, though.

Coral reproduces asexually.  All three are living beings - fly, albatross, coral.  An albatross can fly.

I just tried an anagram generator for "fly albatri coral," but don't want to share what it generated.

Coral is the symbol of Florida.  An albatross is a symbol for a psychological burden.  A fly is a symbol for evil or mortality.  The state motto of Florida is "The Sunshine State."  It used to be "The Land of Good Living."

I think we have it.  An albatross is killed in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  A fly is a symbol of mortality and "The Land of Good Living" as a motto is dead to the state of Florida.


I really wish I could remember what my blog ideas were for those things.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


The single biggest problem in communication 
is the illusion that it has taken place.
~ George Bernard Shaw
- - - - - 

Communication is difficult.  It's difficult in person, in writing, over the phone.  It's more difficult with some people than others.  It is affected by emotions on the part of the sender and the receiver.  It is affected by one's surroundings.  It changes all the time from one moment to the next.  

You know the conversation about, "What if red doesn't look the same to you as it does to me?"  Well, words are the same way.  What if "love" doesn't mean the same to you as it does to me?  Or "sunshine."  Or "Flag Day."  Or "puppy."  We have to navigate these kinds of things all the time.  It's difficult.  

The other day Leslie and I were talking on the phone and I realized that I was not understanding what she was trying to convey.

Me:  Either you're not communicating well or I'm not tracking.

Leslie:  (pauses)  Whichever one is bad for you.

See how we communicated?  I identified a problem - poor communication, and she identified the cause - me.  It's good to talk through communication problems.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.
~ Erma Bombeck
- - - - -

When I was a kid I had a recurring dream of being on a train and being chased by a witch through the train.  I would get to the caboose and jump off in a tunnel and the witch would stand on the back of the caboose shaking her fist at me as the train sped away.

I'm not sure what that means.  First of all, other than in the movies or cartoons, I have never seen someone so angry that s/he shook her or his fist at another person.  That seems an unusual gesture.  Second, I guess it's good I was able to escape the witch, but now I'm stranded in a train tunnel in the middle of who knows where?  Third, I don't remember other people being on the train, but if there were other people, seriously?  They couldn't help a little kid out?  Finally, you might think that maybe the witch represents my mom and I was mad at her because she was trying to boss me around.  But you forget about the dream where I discovered that my mom was really Wonder Woman and she came to speak at a school assembly, so I don't think I thought she was the witch.

Why don't you like my mom?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by humankind.
~ Rudyard Kipling
- - - - -

I am confident I probably mentioned in my blog before that my least favorite word is "conglomerate."  It sticks in your throat, gag-like and ends too gently to clear the feeling by the time the word is done.  I hate that word.

I decided recently that my favorite word is "our."  I think that using that word unifies people psychologically which can lead to connecting us literally - emotionally, in terms of purpose, with a focus on the common good.  It is about sharing.  About care.  About partnership.  About togetherness.

It's as if the word is saying, "Oh, you are one with me.  We are together in this.  We share something."  And it is interesting that "our" is spelled "Oh, you are."  O - U - R.

Crazy, huh?  

P.S.  I love how this is our favorite blog.  Don't you?

Monday, June 17, 2013


We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by 
the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
- - - - -

There is a guy in town whom I have seen twice at the Hy-Vee parking lot.  He walks around with his boom box booming, "Slow Ride" by Foghat.  I like him.  I only see him at the Hy-Vee parking lot.  And I only hear him playing that one song.  

And I only like him from a distance.

This might be unusual.  But it isn't.  Because from a distance is how I really like most people.  And by "a distance" I mean about half the width of the Hy-Vee parking lot.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


To me clowns aren't funny.  In fact, they're kind of scary.  
I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back 
to the time I went to the circus and a clown killed my dad.
~ Jack Handy
- - - - -
A clown never killed my dad at a circus.  But clowns are still scary.

The only real circus memory I have is the time we went and Erik got a root beer and then a wasp or a bee was flying around his root beer cup.  Some woman walked up - allegedly to help.  She swatted at the wasp, which flew away.  At the end of her swat, however, she knocked the cup of root beer out of Erik's hand and it spilled all over the ground.  And the woman looked at Erik and then walked away.

I also kind of remember those little gun things that made sparks when you pulled the trigger.  Maybe we got some of those that day.  

My point, though, is that I called my dad LAST Sunday to wish him Happy Father's Day.  Last Sunday was NOT Father's Day.  I think it just goes to show that I probably love my dad more than you love yours if you haven't called him to wish him Happy Pre-Father's Day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


He was as uncommunicative as a vending machine.
~ Lewis H. Lapham
- - - - -

Sometimes when I am looking at photos and thinking of ideas for blogs, I try to learn a little bit about whatever is in the photo.  In the process of writing this blog, I learned that the first recorded information about vending machines was based on the work of Hero of Alexandria who was an engineer and mathematician in the first century.  He designed and built a vending machine to sell holy water.

Then there was a lull in vending machine activity until the 1880s when they re-surfaced in London to sell postcards and shortly thereafter in the U.S. to sell gum for the Thomas Adams Gum company.  Coke had the first soda vending machines.  The vending machine is also an ancestor of gumball, pinball and slot machines.

In a lot of ways what I do in judicial affairs is kind of like being a vending machine of justice.  Except without having to put coins in first.  And without getting to choose which "flavor of justice" you want.  Though if you could choose a flavor you should choose Skittles justice - no matter what Sara says.  Because Skittle justice affords you a variety of justice in one package.  As opposed to Cool Ranch Dorito justice which is all just Cool Ranch Dorito-like.


I have made my peace with the fact that some blogs are better than others.

Friday, June 14, 2013


The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
~ Pablo Picasso
- - - - -

I love unexpected art.  I love finding art where it "shouldn't be."  Which is stupid.  Because art SHOULD be everywhere.  And maybe it is.  If we take the time to look.  If we let the definition of art be broad and more-encompassing.  

I say more-encompassing instead of all-encompassing on purpose.  Because not everything IS art.  Like litter.  Or roadkill.  Or most things involving pipe cleaners.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can't hurry the crops 
or make an ox in two days.
~ Henri Alain
- - - - -

I have more patience than I realized.  I find that I appreciate things more when I have to wait for them.  It doesn't mean I like doing that, but sometimes with some things I am willing and able to be patient.  Maybe as I have moments where I realize Zen I am able to be in the moment and not lurching after the future.

Maybe I have simply grown more patient as I have gotten older.  It seems like it shouldn't be that way.  That as you get older and time slips away you should be less patient.  Or maybe I'm not yet old enough to be impatient.  I'm still out patient.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I don't believe in dying.  It's been done.  I'm working on a new exit.
Besides, I can't die now - I'm booked!
~ George Burns
- - - - -

Sometimes I'm sad when people die.  I know that death is a part of life and not separate from life.  I know that it is the next phase.  Some people think everything ends when you die.  Some people think you come back for another trip.  Some people think you go to Heaven.  Some people probably think things about death that I don't know they are thinking.

When I was little, they told me that when you die you go to Heaven and everything is perfect there.  At the time, I imagined that Heaven was a big room with lots of bunk beds and a huge swimming pool.  

As I got older, I realized how silly and juvenile that was.  First, I almost drowned which kind of squashed the swimming pool aspect.  And then I found out that bunk beds aren't necessarily ideal.

Does that mean that I was wrong about Heaven as a child?  Or does it mean that Heaven changed as I got older?  Probably neither.  And both.  I actually think that Heaven can be all things to all people.

Let me just add this...  Now that I'm older, I am also sure that "bunk bed swimming Heaven" is separated from whatever my new version of Heaven is by soundproof walls.  Because if it wasn't, it wouldn't be heavenly at all to me.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


To jealousy, nothing is more frightful than laughter.
~ Francoise Sagan
- - - - -

I was at a park the other day and I wondered if clouds and trees ever get jealous of one another.  I realize I'm anthropomorphizing these things.  And I am projecting negative human characteristics on them.  But I wondered.

I thought that maybe a tree would be jealous of a cloud because the cloud can just wander and can see things from up on high and can be closer to the sky and the sun and the stars.

And I thought maybe the cloud would be jealous of the tree because the tree is grounded and connected to something and a part of the global ecosystem.

I guess the grass is always greener.

And the grass is probably jealous of the tree because the tree is tall.  But the grass is not jealous of the clouds because the tree blocks the clouds so the grass doesn't even know they are up there.

Monday, June 10, 2013


The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. 
In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.
~ Julia Child
- - - - -
I completely agree with Julia Child.  And let me tell you that when I started cooking with my new pan and the paper on the bottom of the pan started burning I most certainly DID think "What the hell?!"

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
~ Lao Tzu
- - - - -
I was looking on Craigslist recently and saw a posting for "74 Cassette Tapes."  I went and looked and it looked like my cassette tape collection from when I had cassette tapes.  I am not sure how someone got so many of my old tapes.  Or at least seemed to have gotten them.
And then I remembered the time when we had April Fool's Month in the hall where I was a resident assistant.  The pranks culminated in my room being disassembled and moved from in my room to between the elevators.  Loft and all. 
That wasn't the worst part.  The worst part was that someone also took my cassette tapes and moved them from one case to the next.  I had them in alphabetical order (because it is how I function best when it comes to music, DVDs, etc.).  At first I thought they had just scrambled them.  I realphabetized them and all was well.  Until I went to play one and it wasn't in the right case.
The most brilliant part of this was that they didn't reorganize them in any particular order.  It took me months to get that all sorted out.
Not only can music in the soul be heard by the universe, so could my growls of frustration at this entire experience.

But I'm over it now.  I barely remember it at all.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


The earth is what we all have in common.
~ Wendell Berry
- - - - -

When Leslie and I hiked the bog we came to this place on the path.  After looking at the marker for a moment, Leslie said, "Where in the world else would you go?!"

I concur that it was pretty apparent that the bridge on the path was the next part of the route hikers would want to follow.

However, if we expand this beyond our own lived experiences, this sign could mean other things.  For instance, if you are billy goat, it might indicate that this bridge is safe to cross.  Or if you are a hobo, this symbol means you should be ready to defend yourself.

If you are a hobo billy goat, I guess you can go over the bridge, but be ready to defend yourself, too.

Friday, June 7, 2013


When we all think alike, no one is thinking.
~ Walter Lippman
- - - - -

My mom is very creative.  She helped create me, after all.  

I remember when I was a kid she used an old tackle box for a first aid kit.  It was huge and all the compartments came in handy for different things - bandages, ointments, tweezers, whatever.  She was a nurse and so she knew a lot of first-aidy kinds of things that would be good to have on hand.  The cranial saw did take up a lot of space in the tackle box, though.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -
My birthday is a month from today.  People think I make a big deal about my birthday because I mention it frequently.  It is a pretty important day.  At least in my life it is important.  It is kind of the starting point.  Not in an abstract metaphysical sense, but in a literal sense.
This year my birthday falls on a Saturday.  I was also born on a Saturday.  "Saturday's child works hard for a living," the saying goes.  That is true.  I do work pretty hard most days. 
You can also sing, "Works hard for a living" to the tune of Donna Summer's "She Works Hard for the Money." 
I just accidentally typed, "She Works Hard for the Monday."  That's interesting. And would be true if either someone worked an extra job on the weekends and the job she had on Monday was easier OR if she worked weekends and got Mondays off.
Anyway, you could also sing, "You work hard for my birthday," to the same tune.
My point is that hard work is important. 
And hard.
And my birthday is a month from today.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Monday Monday, so good to me,
Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be.
~ John Phillips
- - - - -
Yesterday morning (Tuesday), when I was walking in to the Memorial Union from the parking ramp, I was greeted by a man who said, "Good Monday morning!!"  I was messing around on my phone, so I looked up briefly and said, "Yes."
Then I realized it wasn't Monday. 
I followed him (because we were headed the same direction not because I was creepering him) and heard him say the same thing to the front desk staff at the MU hotel.  Then I saw him go to a room and look in. The lights were off.  There were no tables set up.  No one was in the room.
Then I saw him look at the daily events schedule bulletin board.  Then he pulled papers out from his bag - as though he were checking to see where his 7 a.m. Monday morning meeting was being held.
I think he really thought it was Monday. 
It reminded me of The Office episode where Dwight thought it was Friday, but it was really Thursday.
Now, I don't know what meeting the man missed - if indeed he missed a meeting.  I have to believe, though, that it is better to miss a Monday meeting and take an extra weekend day than it is to think Sunday is Monday and show up to work and wonder where everyone is.
And maybe I was creepering him a little.  I just watched him, though.  I didn't stray from my predetermined route in the process.  Is that still creepering?  Not to me.
But maybe to him.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Magic Mirror: Prepare to be amazed beyond all expectations.  After all it is what I do.
~ Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
- - - - -

I think that sometimes movies do not send good life lessons.  Take Disney movies with princesses, for example.  There is a lot of talk about how they don't portray relationships in a very realistic or healthy way.  Like relationships with evil step-mothers.  But I think there is more to it than that.  I think if we really, really examine these films we can find other incredibly dangerous messages.

To my point, if someone was getting ready to go out somewhere and a bunch of birds started flying around trying to wrap ribbons and things around his or her neck or if the birds were pecking and pulling at the person's hair, I think freaking out and screaming is a better response in the real world than standing still and smiling and singing. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


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

I think it is good to be alone sometimes.  Or at least left alone.  I think reflection and quiet are important.  And we don't get enough of that.  Between people and the busyness of life and the constant connection of electronic engagement, there are few times we can find quiet and peace and calm.

I saw a man walking alone the other day.  I had stopped at the gas station.  He was walking.  By himself.  He wasn't looking at a cell phone or listening to something on earphones.  He was just walking.  By himself.  I don't know what sorts of thoughts he might be thinking or how he might be enjoying (or not) his aloneness.  I just thought it was interesting to see someone walking alone.  Without distraction.

Of course, he was wearing a shirt which read, "I fart on the first date," so that might have had something to do with it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.
~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca
- - - - -

I have started trying to take a walk each day - either in the morning as the sun comes up or in the evening as the sun goes down.  The other night I walked over by the local swimming pool which is not yet open.  There is a large green, grassy field next to the pool and parking lot and a wooded area next to the field.  I have seen deer there lots of different times.

So on this particular walk I saw nine deer and three bats. I saw five people with five dogs. Then I saw three people with zero dogs. And two bicyclists on two bicycles. I saw zero armadillos. I saw zero bolts of lightning. I saw zero poisonous snakes.

It's scary that the armadillos and lightning and poisonous snakes are invisible.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


People are always making rules for themselves 
and always finding loopholes.
~ William Rotsler
- - - - -

I like the idea of loops - as in "keep me in the loop."  The idea of roundness and wholeness and completion.  The idea that we are all part of something larger - separate but attached.  The idea that without each of us the whole would be severely compromised and not whole at all.

Keeping people in the loop is usually a good idea.  It should not, however, be confused with "Keep me in the noose."  While also round and about connection, there is a reason that saying never caught on.