The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
- - - - - So on Facebook (which is a social media platform, if you're not familiar) I get notifications each day of who has a birthday. I like to look at the list of birthday-havers and figure out what sorts of things they have in common. Are there personality traits? Do they work in similar areas? Are there geographical connections? Do they share hobbies? I can always find at least one thing. It's really interesting. Of course some days there is only one person I know on Facebook with a birthday. Then I don't play that game. And most days - when there is more than one person - the only thing I come up with as a commonality for the people sharing a birthday is that they have the same birthday. I actually don't spend a lot of time on this activity.
Happy is the soul that has a friend. Happier is the soul that trusts in the truth of the heart of a friend. Happiest is the soul that knows the solemnity of friendship and honors its laws.
~ Ogwo David Emineke
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So when I find photos I want to use in my blog, I put them in here in draft form. I used to just do that. Then I ended up with so many photos that I needed a system to figure out what they were without having to open every draft I had. So now I give each one a tentative title. I put photos on at different times. Often I forget what photo I have put with a given title.
All I can see in draft form is the title. I just opened this draft. This one was titled, "Friend."
It made me smile when I saw it.
This was in West Virginia when we took a hike around a lake at Pipestem. We heard the ice creaking several times while we were there. It was warmish in the sun and coolish in the shade. There were some icy spots, but nothing too bad.
It was a good day.
This is a good friend.
Everyone should have a good friend. And you don't have to hike around a lake with your friend, you can do other things with her. You could do macrame or clean chicken coops or eat black licorice. If those are things you love to do, I hope you find someone with whom to do those things.
And also, don't ask me to be your friend and do those things. I might be your friend, but I really don't want to do those things. And I reallydon't want to just "hang out" after you clean your chicken coop, okay?
I wish I could read the mind of babies. Not kids and not adults. I don't want to know their thoughts. But babies? Toddlers? I'd like to know what they are thinking.
I have heard some things recently about how it's good that toddlers are so small because they only have a sense of themselves and their own wants and needs and they might kill us all if they were bigger and stronger.
That's scary. But It also might be kind of funny to read the thoughts of a little baby thinking, "I am going to beat the crap out of you if you don't give me more candy! I hate you! I hate you and your sweet potato puree! I. WILL. DESTROY. YOU."
And by "you" in the above, I do not mean me. I mean you.
The higher nature in man always seeks for something which transcends itself and yet is its deepest truth; which claims all its sacrifice, yet makes this sacrifice its own recompense. This is man's dharma, man's religion, and man's self is the vessel.
~ Rabindranath Tagore
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Nature and religion are connected. Really everything is connected. What affects one of us has some effect on all of us. We don't have to share beliefs or philosophies or space or language or ideology or experiences.
Like my friend Allison. We were at lunch a few weeks ago and she said, "I'm not religionous."
I get it, Allison. I don't know what being "not religionous" means to you, but I respect that. I think I am not religionous in my own way too.
Time is a difficult thing to get a handle on. I think it was Einstein who said time was an illusion. I don't know about that. I just know that time can be challenging because it can feel different to different people. Additionally, it can feel different to each of us at different times. Crazy.
And how do you know where you are in time? Or where someone else is?
Leslie: Are you still up?
Ok, guess not.
Me: Sorry. Just leaving the grad celebration. If you happen to be up give me a call.
Leslie: right now?
I mean, is this now? It is so late.
Me: Up to you. It's okay if you're sleeping. Tomorrow is fine.
The greatest pleasure when I started making money was not buying cars or yachts but finding myself able to have as many freshly typed drafts as possible.
~ Gore Vidal
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Sometimes when I am preparing blogs, I have a photo I like and a rough idea of what I might write. I haven't wrestled with it enough to get it to the point that I want to post it. I jot notes, preliminary ideas, possibilities.
Then I leave it. I leave it to sit because I know that stepping away is the right thing to do. And that when I come back, the pieces might fall into place. Or I might have had a new idea that would work to bring it all together better. Or I may decide to take it in a completely different direction.
Here is an example of notes I had to go with this picture.
"So they have llamas in Argentina." "And a baby llama is called a cria" "There's some sort of joke about don't cria for me Argentina there"
Sometimes when I come back to a draft, the pieces don't come together. Then I either leave it longer or I delete my notes and figure I'll come back to the photo later on or I delete the entire thing.
Or sometimes I write stuff like this and go ahead and post it anyway.
Wine gives a man nothing... It only puts in motion what had been locked up in frost.
~ Samuel Johnson
- - - - -
Sometimes the things that wine puts in motion are not good things. Emotions or actions that can't be undone. While they might be locked up again so as not to recur, they can't be taken back. They are there and done and said and felt and heard and experienced and lingering and carried.
Like if you get mad because you spill your wine. If you never were drinking that wine to begin with, you wouldn't have spilled it.
They say there's no point in crying over spilled milk. Well, there's no point in crying over spilled wine, either. But people still do it.
I guess people also cry in their beer. At least I remember our bus driver when I was a kid yelling at us and saying, "No sense crying in your beer!"
I wonder how they decide whom to hire as bus drivers.
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy...
~ William Shakespeare
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Don't we all have a Yorick? Someone from our past who made us laugh. A person with incredible imagination? Someone who mattered to us a great deal in dark moments. Somehow we lose track of those people from time to time.
Sometimes we find them again. If you have a Yorick, you should try to find him or her. You should appreciate him or her. It would be good to find them.
Hopefully we find all of them and not their skulls. Also, why are we hanging out and digging in places where we might come across skulls? It's not like we're archaeologists, right?
See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... we need silence to be able to touch souls.
~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta
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If yu are quiet in nature, you can hear things. But even if you are very, very quiet, nature can hear you too. It hears your breathing. It hears your quiet movements on leaves and grass and rock. I suspect it can even hear you blink or turn your head.
And if you are in a forest and no one is around and you fart, well I know nature hears that, too. And smells it. And the people you thought weren't around? They heard that, too. You know because you hear them giggling.
If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf.
~ Lemony Snicket
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When Leslie and I went to the Wildthings game last summer, we waited a long time for the game to start. The softball game that had happened in the afternoon had gone into 15 innings or something and they had to get the field ready.
There was a woman with a microphone who was trying to keep the crowd entertained while we waited. She kept giving out tickets to TNA Wrestling which was going to be in town the following week. She would have people do little quizzes or whatever to get the tickets. Then she would give them tickets and yell, "Tell us what you know about T 'n A!!"
It seemed very inappropriate for a family event. She also called them the "Wahld things." And at some point she referred to a guy as an "amputee victim."
Leslie kept murmuring things to me like, "The Wahld Things are in number first place!!" Leslie is a troublemaker. At least she didn't run around screaming about T 'n A, though.
You have to walk carefully in the beginning love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip.
~ Jonathan Carroll
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I like to play with the lyrics in existing songs. Lots of times I think I can come up with better words than the ones in the actual song. But that's how I am. Pretty full of my songwriting self.
Here is an example I thought of a few months ago when Leslie called the Campanile a "Concubine."
My funny concubine, Sweet comic concubine, You make me smile with my heart. Your looks are laughable. Unphotographable. Yet you're my favourite work of art.
Is your figure less than Greek? Is your mouth a little weak? When you open it to speak Are you smart?
But don't change a hair for me. Not if you care for me. Stay little concubine stay. Each day is Concubine's Day.
I know it isn't my most creative work. And I'm not 100% sure I'm an advocate for "Concubine's Day." Still thinking (though not too much) on that.
Oh, and for the record, if I saw someone running across a field in a sprint of love and they fell, I'd laugh. Whether it was beginning love or later love. I would definitely ask about broken hips and chipped teeth, but I would be laughing while I asked.
Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself.
~ Walter Anderson
- - - - -
The other night I got a paper cut. It was inside my left index finger. It was one of those paper cuts you don't realize you have until you get something in it. In this case it was something like barbecue sauce. Or maybe some sort of household cleaner.
Who am I kidding? It was barbecue sauce.
Anyway, it stung and stung and stung. I didn't like it.
I mean, what's worse than a paper cut?
A lot of things - poverty, war, hate, ignorance. Really? you couldn't come up with things worse than a paper cut on your own? Like I just said - you're ignorance. Also, know what is worse than a paper cut? Confusing barbecue sauce and some sort of household cleaner.
Seeing, hearing, feeling are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.
~ Walk Whitman
- - - - - When we go to the island with Bill and Suzanne, we can see and hear lots of things. Birds, bears (allegedly, I've not seen any bears the two years I've gone), snakes, sunsets, sunrises. You can hear the water sometimes the rain. You can hear people talking as they kayak by or talk on islands nearby. You can hear geese and boats and the wind. One time we were sitting on the dock and heard banjo music. Leslie said, "Sounds like a Ken Burns documentary." I really like her.
Sometimes it's heartbreaking to see your siblings as the people they've become. Maybe that's why we all stay away from each other as a matter of course.
~ Jonathan Topper
- - - - -
Kirk: How is Leslie's mom doing??? Me: Pretty well. They just get on each other's nerves sometimes because they can both be stubborn.
Kirk: Glad she is well! Family is the worst! I always... Oh crap. I forgot who I'm texting. Damn autocorrect. "Family is the worst" was supposed to read "Family is wonderful. I'm so glad my family is super friends with each other and never argues ever." Stupid autocorrect.
I think that if we were indeed Superfriends, Kirk would be Gleek.
Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and their politicians as a joke.
~ Will Rogers
- - - - -
I love this sign. Don't just consider going with experienced paddlers. And we can't REQUIRE you to go with experienced paddlers. SERIOUSLY consider going with experienced paddlers.
At least don't go alone. Always outdoorsy with others. Otherwise you have an accident and you are alone. And you have to cut off your arm. Or you have to feed your leg to a bear to escape. Or you have to figure out a way to purify your urine so you can drink it to survive.
On second thought... Seriously consider staying inside at home.
Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or else the message and the messenger will be rejected.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
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I like it when Wayne shares updates with me. He tends to find bitlits of news and information that I would like to know about. Then he texts me. Then I know.
Sometimes we discuss what he shares at length. More often we each make a couple of comments and I thank him and tell him he is wonderful and he says I am wonderful and I agree that we are wonderful. It's nice. And oh so true.
A recent example:
Wayne: "Author and Publisher of Choose your Own Adventure Books Dies at 78..."
I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.
~ Lily Tomlin
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Learning isn't always easy, fun or exciting. Sometimes it can be. Sometimes it is just really hard work. And often you don't realize what you have learned until a long time later.
Like this bulletin board tribute to Walter White. He didn't learn how valuable chemistry can be until a long time after he was done in school and even a long time after he had been teaching. Then he knew. Then he used what he learned to make some money.
I'm not sure people should make bulletin board tributes to Walter White, though. I mean, that show isn't even on anymore.
The word diva to me means doing something supernatural with something natural.
~ Patti Lupone
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I was thinking about Patti Lupone the other day. I don't know her. I did see a video of her yelling at rude people who didn't turn off their cell phones during one of her performances. "Good for her," I say. Well, "Good for her, " I type.
I think she is very talented. I also am kind of intimidated by her. Like, I bet she would get really angry if you spelled her name Patty Lupone instead of Patti. Or if you spelled it Pattilou Pone. I understand that. People should spell other people's names correctly. And I don't think you have to be a diva to expect that.
I don't think Leslie is much of a diva (though she certainly could play one on TV). I know she loves swimming, though. And being in the water. I have heard she is really good at scuba. Does that make her a scuba diva? Maybe. Very, very maybe.
The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it.
~ Arthur Schopenhaur
- - - - -
And the however many years after that next thirty give people permission to say whatever they want. At least that runs in my family on my mother's side. Which scares me for when she gets to be an oldster. She is already good at speaking her mind. Who knows what she'll have to say when she decides it really is okay to say WHATEVER she thinks?
One thing is for sure, when that time comes there will be a lot of description and detail.
Is it snowing where you are? All the world that I see from my tower is draped in white and the flakes are coming down as big as pop-corns. It's late afternoon - the sun is just setting (a cold yellow colour) behind some colder violet hills, and I am up in my window seat using the last ligth to write you.
~ Jean Webster
- - - - -
It's not snowing where I am.
(Note: If Jean Webster and I were pen pals, I'm not sure if she would write me back.)
We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.
~ J. K. Rowling
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I agree with this. I think that if we listen to ourselves and pay attention to the world around us, we know things that we don't realize we know. We can do things we didn't think were possible. We just have to open ourselves to the possibilities - imagined and not - in the world.
For example, I texted Rachel and said, "Headed to your house. Need anything? Deviled eggs?"
She responded, "HOW did you KNOW?!!"
I texted, "Psychic."
Do I think I'm psychic? Is being psychic magic? Is the devil magic? I don't know. Do I think the devil got into me the same way he gets into deviled eggs? No. Deviled eggs are called that because they are spicy (pepper, mustard, Tobasco, something). I suppose I'm deviled since I have eaten pepper, mustard and Tobasco, but I think you're mixing up your words.
I am called divine. I can see where you'd make that mistake, though. Because you're bad at spelling.
I sent out some cards at the beginning of this year. Well, it was more like the end of last year. I started a few years ago sending out New Year's cards. I like New Year's Day. I don't like New Year's Eve. I think I've shared that. I do like the reflective nature of the end of a year. I just don't like the frivolity that goes along with it. I'm not a very frivolous person.
What's the opposite of frivolity?
According to my computer, it is sadness, work, understanding, sensibility, wiseness, seriousness.
Those are probably more true of me. I don't know that I'm sad or that I work hard. There are lots of things I don't understand or that don't make sense to me. I'm not always serious and less often wise.