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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Encouragement

Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- - - - -

Encouragement...  To cause a state of courage.  I don't know if we always think about the fact that we are inspiring people to be brave and courageous when we encourage them.  We are just motivating them to finish something.  We are supporting them in doing something scary or intimidating.  We are letting them to know we are with them as they move forward in bravery.

If we need to be encouraged it is because we are scared of something.  And it's okay to be scared.  And it helps when people are with us.

Like if we wanted to create a new community.  I mean, all the states had to go through it.  EnIowament.  EnPennsylvaniament.  EnMainement.  To cause a state of Iowa.  To cause a state of Pennsylvania.  To cause a state of Maine.

Granted, none of those are as scary as EnDCment.  I know a lot of people are still not very brave when it comes to enDCment exposure.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Run

Time and the hour run through the roughest day.
~ William Shakespeare
- - - - -

I got Elizabeth a book on running for Christmas this year.  I couldn't really remember much about it.  I thought it was about runners in South America.  I was talking to Leslie about it.  She asked the name of it.

Me:  I forget.  It's a bunch of people who run... maybe in the rainforest in South America?  I can't remember the name of it."

LL:  Is it "Run, Rainforest, Run?"

It was not.  She is not always helpful.  She is usually amusing though.  At least to herself. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Guess

If your happiness depends on what someone else does,
I guess you do have a problem.
~ Richard Bach
- - - - -
Sometimes I like to play with Web MD.  I had a game when I was a kid that was a lot like Web MD.  I think it was called Doctor, Doctor.  Yes.  It was.  Apparently it now sells on eBay for $42.

Anyway, you would get a list of the patient's symptoms and run tests on the patient and then eventually diagnose the patient.  And if you got it right you won the game.  

Well, the other night when I was playing with Web MD, I was answering questions and one of them asked if the symptoms were "made worse by swallowing irritating chemicals or poison."

I didn't choose that as an option, but I'm guessing that if you said that yes the symptoms were made worse by swallowing irritating chemicals or poison that the medical recommendation you got was, "Let natural selection take its course."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fortune


I believe in censorship.  I made a fortune out of it.
~ Mae West
- - - - -

I think we make our own good fortune.  If we look for good things, we find good things.  If we focus on negative things, we find negative things.  We have a lot more control over our experiences than we sometimes realize.  Like if I want to win the lottery, I just have to go out and win the lottery and then I will win it.

No, wait.  I was thinking of soup.  

I think we make our own soup.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Change

Change is the end result of all true learning.
~ Leo Buscaglia
- - - - -
 
We do learn through change.  As a kid I remember getting lots of worksheets with pennies and nickels and dimes on them.  We had to figure out how to count change. 
 
I guess my elementary school was preparing me for a job as a cashier.  Or a wishing well fabricator.  I'd like to be the latter.  I like the idea of making people's wishes come true.
 
Or maybe they were preparing me for a job as Santa Claus.  He makes wishes come true.  Sometimes.  If you're good.
 
But being good is sometimes overrated.  You probably ought to focus on just making your own wishes come true.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Rooms

I've seen how you can't learn anything if you're trying to look like the smartest person in the room.
~ Barbara Kingsolver
- - - - -

Different rooms carry different stories in our lives.  Some rooms are novels or even a series of novels.  Lots of chapters.  Lots of anecdotes.  Lots of people moving in and out and through those rooms.

Other rooms are rooms of a singular incident.  Tragic.  Comic.  Ironic.  Romantic.  Stoic.  Epic.  Acerbic.  But a room and a memory and a moment that stays with us.  However we choose to capture it - whether accurate or not.

And other rooms are filled with quiet.  Places of reflection.  Private places where we can collect our thoughts.  Places of isolation where we can recuperate and get ready to move ahead.  Where we need a moment.  Time.  Time to breathe before going to what is next or what is waiting or the unknown. 

Those are the rest rooms. 
 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Learning

The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
- - - - -

I went on a hike a few months ago and found this.  It was at the top of a hill in the woods.  It was in a county park.  The trail was called "Cabin Loop" or "Old Cabin Loop."  Something like that.

It was not called "Cult Get Together Loop."  If it had been, I probably wouldn't have gone on that trail.

(pause)

Who am I kidding?  I DEFINTELY would have gone on that loop.  I'm always saying I don't have enough arts and cults in my life.  Wait, maybe that's not what I always say.  Or maybe my spelling is wrong. 

Sometimes I have to learn the hard way.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Work

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
~ Thomas Edison
- - - - -
 
Leslie is a very hard worker.  She pays a lot of attention to detail.  She gets frustrated with people who are willing to settle for less than their best.  It just doesn't make sense to her.  If you are going to do something, why would you ever not do the best you can?

She is always working on something.  Sometimes it is rewarding like writing or creating something.  Sometimes it is something tedious like paying bills.  Sometimes it's something helpful like running an errand for a friend or going through every cabinet in the house to try and scrounge up some chocolate for Granny.

Other times what she is doing is work-related.  Sometimes that is rewarding to her.  Sometimes it is tedious.  Sometimes it is  helpful.  Maybe all of our jobs are like that.

And sometimes she does stuff at work just confuses me.  Like the other day when I asked her what she was doing and she responded, "Right now I'm trying to get the curriculum center to order me a female sailor puppet."

Librarian work is a mystery.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bridge

True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over 
which they invite their students to cross; then, having 
facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging 
[students] to create their own.
~ Nikos Kazantzakis
- - - - -
Are teachers bridges or tunnels?  Do they help us cross over gaps in knowledge?  Do they get us over chasms?  Or maybe do they help us through things - through mountains of ideas and information.  Through good research and bad?

Or are they people?  I think mostly they are people.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Leaf

Only with a leaf can I talk of the forest.
~ Visa Zhiti
- - - - -
 
Leaves are like people.  When they are on a tree, when they look like all the other leaves and blend in... you don't notice them.  It's only when they forego the safe anonymity of the leaves on the tree that you see them as individuals.  When they burst into color - red, brown, yellow, orange - you see them as something distinct from the green branches.
 
And people are the same way.  If they huddle together, safe in the group, painted green so they all blend in with each other, you don't notice them. 
 
Who am I kidding?  You would totally notice a swarm of people painted green hanging around your neighborhood.
 
People are not like leaves.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

World


Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
- - - - -

Or, as I like to say, it's a man's world.  And you know how they keep house.

You might think this post is sexist.  Or you might think it's sexiest.  Depends on your spelling.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wagon

A hundred wagon loads of thoughts will not pay a single ounce of debt.
~ Italian Proverb
- - - - -
 
I don't like it when people jump on the wagon just because everyone else is.  I mean - addiction clich├ęs aside.  I mean bandwagons.  You don't need to be jumping on those.  Well, unless you are the driver of the bandwagon.

Even she or he shouldn't probably jump on the wagon.  It's not good for the springs.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Learning

There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
- - - - -

Babies learn a lot.  And they learn a lot in a short period of time.  And their learning is mostly the responsibility of their parents. 

But I don't think we should put ourselves down because as adults it might take us longer to learn things.  Our brains are more full.  We have already learned all that baby stuff.

And we could totally still defeat babies in a game of Trivial Pursuit.  And isn't that the ultimate test of learning and knowledge?

(That's not a rhetorical question.  It's an essay question.  So get to work.)

 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Books

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
~ Stephen King
- - - - -
 
This is the bookshelf in my office.  Well, how it looked at one stage when I was moving in.  
 
As you can see, I arrange my books by color.  This is terribly aggravating for some people.  Say...  librarians for example.  Or at least one specific librarian I know.
But it's okay.  I don't know that this would work on a larger scale, but for my books, it works.  I think I may have written this before, but I know my books well enough to know what color they are.
 
That isn't the point I'm trying to make, though.
 
My point is that I was on Amazon the other day and under "Inspired by your browsing history" the first book listed was, The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance: And Other Real Laws That Human Beings Actually Dreamed Up.  
 
Yep.  That seems about right in terms of how I am inspirational.  At least to myself.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Youth

Youth is wasted on the young.
~ George Bernard Shaw
- - - - -

I think I know why people went searching for the fountain of youth.  I think that they hoped to stay young physically and mentally, but with the experience and memories of age.  I don't think they wanted to regress or forget things.  Even the painful things make us who we are.  Being young and healthy and experienced enough to know better than to ruin your health...  maybe that's ideal.

I also think I know why people don't go searching for the fountain of euthanasia.  Because you can use any fountain for that.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Arise

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
~ Marcus Aurelius
- - - - -
Arise.  It is important.  It is about beginning and persisting and being.  It can be the start or the continuation.  Certainly you can wait for a moment to arise, or you can play a role in making things arise.  And getting beat down might only be preparing you for greater things.
Like bread.  Getting beat down is the yeast of your worries.  It isn't something to loaf about, but you butter arise again and again and again even on the crumby days.  As I'm sure you've bread, the bun also arises.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fences

Love recognizes no barriers.  It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
~ Maya Angelou
- - - - -
When I was driving from Iowa to Pennsylvania on the first leg of my move to South Carolina (I know it's not a direct route geographically, but it was a direct route emotionally and organizationally), I listened to a lot of music.  
A little kid once asked me why almost all songs are love songs.  I thought that was pretty profound.  I hadn't really considered it before.  It's true, they are.
With that in mind, I got to thinking about how almost any love song, if sung to you by someone who makes you uncomfortable or who creeps you out, does not sound like a love song.  It sounds like a pretty scary song.
Try it next time you listen to music.
Or don't.  It kind of ruins music for you if you do it too much. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Memories

Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time.  I think I've forgotten this before.
~ Steven Wright.
- - - - -

When I went back to Athens to visit, Maddie and Elizabeth and I toured town.  I commented on things that were the same and things that had changed since I was there.  We drove past a lot of things and I said, "That wasn't here when I was here."  Then we drove past a restaurant - "Lam's Garden."  I said, "That restaurant was here when I was here."

Elizabeth said she went to school with the kid whose family owns it.  I said, "Really?  Does he have a sister named 'Mary Hattalyttle'?"

She paused.  And then - with a confused expression she said, "Mary Hattalyttle..?"

Maddie laughed.

Elizabeth, looking disgusted, said, "Ha ha.  Very funny."

I said, "Elizabeth, it was worth driving seven hours just for that."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Truck

Always remember the last words of my grandfather who said, "A truck!"
~ Emo Phillips
- - - - -

I talk to Leslie often when she is driving home from work.  In addition to getting a rundown of her workday, I also get a play-by-play of the traffic.  Commentary is a little more heated if there is a Penguins or a Pirates game.  She isn't often driving home from work during a Stillerz game or I imagine I'd get that info, too.

The other day she was driving and talking (hands-free, of course) to me.  Suddenly, she said, "AAAAHH!  That truck scared me!"

Worried about her safety, I responded immediately, "Was it a MONSTER truck?  Bwaaa ha ha ha!!"

"You're such a butt," she said.

I think that is code for, "Thanks for being so concerned about my safety.  I really appreciate you."  I'm pretty sure I'm right because I'm good at deciphering codes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Yuck

There are only two mantras, yum and yuck.  Mine is yum.
~ Tom Robbins
- - - - -

I would not buy these.  Well, I might buy them and send them to Kirk or Maddie as a joke.  But I did not buy them when I saw them.  I thought, "Yuck."  Then I thought, "I wonder if the Target people get mad if you take photos of their products."  Then I thought, "No one is around right now."  Then I thought, "Good.  I got that photo."

I do a LOT of thinking.  I'm a thinker.

I think someone should make Fruit and Veggie Blend Veggie Flavored Snacks.  Instead of strawberry, raspberry, orange and peach, they could have celery, peas, kohlrabi, and eggplant flavors.  

I would DEFINITELY buy those.  And give them to people - people I do not like and people I like to harass.  That covers most all people.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mental

People need to know that they have all the tools within themselves.  Self-awareness, which means awareness of their body, awareness of their mental space, awareness of their relationships - not only with each other, but with life and the ecosystem.
~ Deepak Chopra
- - - - -

When I was a little kid I used to have dreams that I was committed to a mental asylum.  It was in the basement of my elementary school - which was under the gymnasium.  It was not a pleasant place.  There was dripping water and bad lighting.

I am not sure where I got that image.  I guess from TV.  Not sure why my parents let me watch TV shows about asylums when I was a kid.  Or maybe it was stories my mom - the nurse - used to tell.  She used to tell about when she worked in Salem, Oregon and all the problems she had with Randle McMurphy.

Wait.  Maybe I have her stories confused with something else.  

Anyway, I'm glad I don't have those dreams anymore.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dog

A well-trained dog is like religion, it sets the deserving at their ease and is a terror to evildoers.
~ Elizabeth Goudge
- - - - -

I might argue that a well-trained religion is like a dog, it sets the deserving at their ease and is a terror to evildoers.

Okay, I wouldn't argue it.  I might say or think it, though.

And like a dog, a good religion will let the evildoer figure out on his own that he is an evildoer.  A religion that judges before it knows a person isn't a safe place.  A religion that judges a person after it knows a person isn't, either.

Unless it was a religion started by Judge Judy.  Because you can't fault her for judging.  It's who she is.  She wields judging and guilt pretty well.  I guess her religion is Judyism.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Discs

Life is more fun if you play games.
~ Roald Dahl
- - - - -

I love disc golf.  I am not good at it.  That's okay.  I find that there are lots of things I'm not good at that I enjoy.  It's part of my carefree nature that I can be like that.

(pause)

Who am I kidding?  I'm not carefree.  My cares definitely cost me something.

I do like disc golf, though.  And I like it with Leslie even though she is better at it than I am and she's only played it twice.  What that means is that I am a very good teacher of disc golf.

See?  Even if you don't win, you can be a whiner.  

(pause)

I mean winner.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mucus

Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.  And even if you don't come up with a picture to cure world poverty, you can make someone smile while they're having a piss.
~ Banksy
- - - - -

In writing this post, I tried to find a quote about mucus to go with this photo.  There weren't a lot out there.  The ones I did find were oogey.  Which was not surprising to me.

Apparently, there was someone at an institution where I used to work (which shall remain nameless) and that someone used to write "mucus" on things at the union there.  I don't know why.  I found it amusing, but my friend Scott didn't so much. 

I imagine Scott recited this poem over and over.

I cuss
Mucus
We all cuss
About graffiti.

He probably didn't, but if I had written it sooner, he might have. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Days

Every day is a gift.  It's just...  Does it have to be a pair of socks?
~ Tony Soprano
- - - - -

Some days are better than others.  We know that is true.  Some days everything seems to fall into place.  Other days the obstacles just keep coming up over and over again.  

Here's the thing, though.  The thing is that you have a day.  You get to make some choices about how you go through that day.  There are people with a lot more obstacles than you and they forge ahead and some of them are very positive people.

And, just for the record, I think socks make good gifts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Destruction

I guess humans like to watch a little destruction.  Sand castles, houses of cards, that's where they begin.  Their great skill is their capacity to escalate.
~ Markus Zusah
- - - - -

Remember Toonces the Driving Cat, the Cat who Could Drive from Saturday Night Live?  I do.  And this photo reminds me of that.  Is it because "Doosan" and "Toonces" sound kind of alike?  No.  Is it because of the destruction in this scene - and Toonces always crashed the car he was driving?   No.

It's because it looks like a cat is operating this thing.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Feedback

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
~ Ken Blanchard
- - - - -
Assessment is very important. And if you do it only part way - you're an ass. And if you do it only part way with others then you're asses. But if you do it all the way through, you have assessment.
See what I did?
I was once asked for feedback during residence life training. I provided that feedback.
1. Confirming if you can present on the listed topics.
I can present on the topic listed for me to present on those topics listed for presenting on by me.
2. Ideas to improve the experience.
Snacks. Desk relay races. Worst Case Scenario session where we all go to MWL desk, ravage it and watch MWL staff sort it out -- learning from their every move.
3. Criticisms of what is identified thus far...
Didn't much like the font.
4. Criticisms of each other.
Too many to list.
I don't remember being asked to provide feedback after that. I guess I must have been pretty thorough.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Well


True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- - - - -
"Well, well, well..."  I began.  Actually, I probably just began by saying, "Well."  I tend not to use percussive speech patterns. 
"Well," I sometimes began.
"That's a deep subject," my father would reply.
By then I forgot what I was going to say.  Which, I am only left to assume, was his plan.  Clever.  So clever.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dogs


I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
~ Rita Rudner
- - - - - 

I appreciate that people love their dogs.  Dogs can be outstanding companions.  They can be loving and loyal and more excited to see us than anyone or anything else ever.  It is often good to be around a dog - some of its good habits might rub off on us.  

I guess that just goes to show that , like people, some dogs are odd.  And some dog owners are also weird.  I'm not sure which comes first the weird dog or the weird dog owner.  No, I do know which comes first.  It's the weird dog owner.

A few months ago Leslie and I were at an event, and the guy in front of us was showing pictures of his dog to a little kid sitting next to him.  The kid asked what kind of dog it was.  The guy said, "It's part wiener dog and part pit bull."  He then showed the kid a video of the dog eating corn on the cob.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Inspiration

Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods.
~ Japanese Proverb
- - - - -

I get inspiration from a lot of different places.  Sometimes things just come to me, but more often I hear or see something and it makes a connection to something else in my mind.  Or sometimes I'm in the middle of a project and I hear something and it makes me think of a different way to do my project or something new to include.

The other night I was trying to write an end of the year thing.  I love the end of the year (though I do not like New Year's Eve as a holiday).  I like reflecting.  But it takes work.  At least for me.  I have to take some time and go back and consider what has happened.  Notes help.  Looking back to see what I wrote or journaled about can help me understand my experience better.

Anyway, I had been working on this end of 2014 thing for quite a while and it just wasn't coming together.  Then it was New Year's Eve and I really wanted to finish it and post it.  So I was working and writing.  I got it done.

Later that night, Leslie was reading it.  One of the things I mentioned was that I was glad I hadn't had to interact with Elmo because I don't like him especially when he talks baby talk.

Leslie:  But you like Aurora and she talks baby talk.  You do like her don't you?

Me:  What?!  Yes I like her.  But she's a BABY - gosh dang!!!

Sometimes it's hard when people don't understand your mind.  Sometimes it's even harder when they DO understand it and they mess with it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Try

If you not yet try
How to know you can or not?
~ Sopharat
- - - - -

All you can do is try.  If you try to be kind and people don't accept your kindness, that is about them not about you.  If you try to find common ground and other people avoid it, at least you tried.  If you make mistakes by doing something to try and make the world a better place that is better than making the mistake of doing nothing.

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life.  I anticipate making a lot more of them.  If I do, I will be correct.  If I don't make any more mistakes, I will also be correct.

See how that works?