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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Travel

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
~ Confucius
- - - - -

Today (or tomorrow maybe) Maddie leaves for Hungary.  I made her a CD to get her ready for the trip.  First I looked up the Hungarian Top 40.  I chose some songs from that.  Then I added some songs about traveling.  And then I tried to get the song from the Hungry, Hungry Hippos commercial, but couldn't find it.  Instead, I settled for some other songs with "Hungry" in the title.

I don't know that she will listen to the CD very much, but I entertained myself making it.  Which, really, is my goal in most tasks I undertake.  But then, you already were well aware of that.

Here's the playlist in case you want to duplicate / replicate it.


Yes, it's true.  I really do crack myself up.

Hungary Like the Wolf?

And that Eric Carmen classic, Hungary Eyes?

And adding "Gotta Travel On" - well, that one is going to stand out when it comes on.

Music is awesome.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Warm

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day.  Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm the rest of his life.
~ Terry Pratchett
- - - - -

When I was growing up, my parents had a heating pad.  I sort of remember it was blue and teal and white. Maybe it had some kind of pattern on it.  Then they got one that was just sort of yellowish.  I could never get the temperature quite where I wanted it.  It was either too hot or not warm enough.  I am not convinced that they have improved heating pad technology, but I'm also not sure they have dedicated a lot of research money toward that.

LL: (using heating pad)

Me: Is it helping?

LL: It's not very warm.

Me: Turn it up.

LL: I don't want to get 3rd degree burns.

Me:  That's right.  That's the heating pad I bought - The Flesh Cooker 4000!

LL: (pause)  smartass.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fragments



The past actually happened, but history is only what someone wrote down.
~ A Whitney Brown
- - - - -

Leslie is always giving me a hard time about he accuracy of my blog.  It's as if she thinks that my reporting of how I experience (or would have liked to experience) the world should be somehow based in fact.  

Leslie: Um... I don't think I said that.  

Me:  You are a writer! You cannot even PRETEND to be annoyed with my ---

Leslie: Liberal interpretation of history?

Me: (long pause)  yes.

Life is a creative endeavor.  I would be very sad if I let actuality, reality or accuracy get in my way.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

LoveCare

I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.
~ Leo Tolstoy
- - - - -

I was exchanging words with Kirk the other day and I tried to write to him that something he had done was "wonderful," but I accidentally typed "wounderful."  Then I spent a few hours trying to figure out what my subconscious what talking about.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Leisure

Leisure is a form of silence not noiselessness.  It is the silence of contemplation such as what occurs when let our minds rest on a rosebud, as a child at play, a Divine mystery or a waterfall.
Fulton J. Sheen
- - - - -

Children and leisure sometimes go together.  Sometimes they go apart.  Sometimes trying to get to a point of leisure is not a leisurely journey.  

For example, when Keith said that his babysitter canceled and he and Wendy were supposed to go to the James Taylor concert, some of us tried to come up with ideas to help him out.  Kipp suggested using a camera to spy on his children or maybe an iPad to keep in touch.  "SHHH!" I shouted, pretending to be Keith on the iPad talking to his kids, "You need to be quiet - it's time for 'Fire and Rain'!"

I don't remember really how this suggestion emerged, but Sara suggested a coyote wearing a hat.

Someone else suggested a stuffed animal.

I don't know what Keith did, but I don't think he asked any of the people who made these suggestions to watch his children.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Light

Education is the movement from darkness to light.
~ Allan Bloom
- - - - -

I agree.  Sometimes the educational process can be rather gloomy, though.  You hit rough spots where it is difficult to see or to see what others see or for others to see at all.  We all have different things to learn and therefore different educations to have.

It's like the light is sometimes on and other times the dark is where you have to go to do the learning.

And then there is also the possibility that some kid is just flicking the light switch in your classroom.  Don't worry though...  Just as some learning happens in the light and some in the dark, some happens in the principal's office.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sisters

Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer. 
~ Louise Gluck
- - - - -

Maddie is the watcher and Elizabeth is the dancer.  I'm not saying she's a good dancer.  I'm not saying she's a bad dancer. With Elizabeth sometimes there's a bit of misguiDANCE or discorDANCE, but more often there is abunDANCE.

That said, I'm guessing sometimes Maddie watches and thinks, "Good ridDANCE."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Snacks

I believe in a benevolent God not because He gave us the Grand Canyon or Michelanglo but because He gave us snacks.
~ Paul Rudnick
- - - - -

WARNING:  (I've never posted a warning on a blog before, but this one may be warranted if you have a weak stomach). Be warned that if you have a weak stomach you should be warned that this blog post might not be a blog post for you. Consider yourselves duly warned.  You're welcome.

One day I was sitting at Abernathy Park in Clemson, SC.  I like that park.  There is a place to sit where I go to write sometimes.  And I look at the water.  And I look at the boats.  And I look at the turtles swimming in the water.  

And there are people, but they usually just walk past on their walks and so there's no long-term commitment to engage with them.  That's the way I usually like my interactions with people to be.

Anyway, one day I was sitting at Abernathy Park in Clemson, SC and I saw two cardinals - a male and female - and a squirrel.  They were pretty close to me -- maybe 6 or 7 feet away.  And they were eating and then they'd leave and then they'd come back and eat some more.

It was a really beautiful sight.  The cardinals' colors were bright - the male's feathers and the female's beak.  Red and orange respectively.  And the squirrel had a white stomach and a fluffy tail.

The only thing that kind of ruined it was that they were snacking on what appeared to be human vomit.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Wish

Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.
~ T. S. Eliot
- - - - -

I sometimes I wish I would win an Oscar.  I realize that I would need to start doing something related to the world of film in order to even get nominated.  I haven't done that yet.

I also hope that if I do get nominated and win that I don't beat Meryl Streep.  I really don't want her to be angry with me.  Not that I think she's a poor sport.  But why take the risk?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Window

Remember even though the outside world might be raining, if you keep on smiling the sun will soon show its face and smile back at you.
~ Anna Lee
- - - - -

So one of the last times I was in Pittsburgh, I looked out the window and saw this.  It was dreary. I didn't mind so much, though. I was inside. I was with people I love. I was warm.

At one point we heard a police siren in the distance. Leslie said, "That's the police. You'd better behave or they'll come and get you." 

For the record, I was behaving.

However, that didn't stop the police from coming to the house. 

Leslie answered the door. 

Police: Hi. We're the police.

Leslie: Hi.

Police: Did you steal a guy's cell phone?

Leslie: No.

Police: Do you have teenagers who stole a guy's cell phone?

Leslie: No. I have an 88 1/2 year old mother.

Police: Did she steal a guy's cell phone?

Leslie: She's not here right now, but I don't think she's out stealing cell phones.

Police: Do you mind if we look around? The "Find My Cell Phone"
picture the guy got shows that it might be in your yard.

Leslie: Okay. I didn't know phones could do that.

Police: They can. Phones are pretty technological, ma'am.

Leslie: Was it a pay phone? I think I would have noticed that.

Police: No. Did I say it was a pay phone? If so, I misspoke.

Leslie: No. I don't think you did say that.

Police: So, we're going to look around your yard. Just didn't want to startle you.

Leslie: Okay. Good luck. There are teenagers in the neighborhood. They seem like the type of hooligans who probably steal cell phones.

Police: Thanks for the tip. Shall we lock them up?

Leslie: Only if there is a reward in it for me.

Police: There isn't.

Leslie: Never mind.

Police: Okay then. Have a nice day ma'am.

Leslie: Have a nice day police officer.

(pause)

This is a paraphrasing of what happened. I couldn't really hear everything that was said. 

My point is, windows come in handy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pen

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.
~ Terry Pratchett
- - - - -

I love it when I find a pen that writes well. There are too many pens out there with "fine" or "very fine" points. That is neither fine nor very fine with me. I like a pen that writes boldly.

I also like a pen like that when I have bold words to share. 'Cause I have some. And I want to make sure you can see them. Not to put too fine a point on it.

Because I wouldn't do that.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Seeds

Think twice before you speak because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in another.
~ Napoleon Hill

- - - - -

This summer I got to teach law and ethics in higher education.  I love teaching.  I love it because it means I get to learn all the time.  I probably learn all the time anyway, but this makes it more structured.

They say that teaching is like planting seeds.  You give information and it grows.  I'm not sure I agree.  

I think some people - the way they teach - it's like spreading manure.  It's more about them cultivating followers and feeding their egos than really challenging ways of thinking and knowing.  For others it's like hammering horseshoes, you beat knowledge into people - whether they like it or not.  For still others it's like raising a barn - you build something with your students, but it still is prescriptive and you have a definite outcome in mind instead of waiting to see what the students might build on their own.

A few things you can learn from this post...  First, to me all forms of teaching apparently are like something related to agriculture.

Also, teaching is very much like planting seeds.  Especially if you're teaching a course called, "Seed Planting."

Finally, I like teaching.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Green

Each person you meet
is an aspect of yourself
clamoring for love.
~ Eric Micha'el Leventhal
- - - - -

Today is my friend Amanda's birthday.  She gave me warning that I needed to make sure to write her a birthday haiku.  For a while I used to write birthday haikus all the time.  Then I got busy.  Or lazy.  Interesting how those things can look different but produce the same results.  (pause)  Maybe just interesting to me.

Anyway, I don't want to disappoint her, so here goes.

Thought I'd blog a few
Haiku for her and for you.
Three lines rhyme...  DAMMIT.

Happy birthday to
Amanda!  Happy birthday.
To Amanda.  Done.

June birthdays are good.
Not as good as July 6th.
'Cause that's my birthday.

Wow!  Just realized
"Amanda Melita Green"
Is a haiku line!

And so Amanda
Moved me to write these haiku
Happy birthday, friend.


(now I need to get to work on those educational haikus I owe Joanne!!!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Design

Don’t stare at a blank page for too long, be bold, and make the first incisive stroke. The rest will come naturally.
~ James Kingman

- - - - - -

Leslie: (reading her email) "Congratulations!  Your Shutterfly magnet won the best magnet of of the day award!

Me: (silence)

Me: really?  i ordered a magnet from them today, too.

Me: (more silence)

Leslie: (breaking silence with laughter)  I made that UP!!  They didn't really send me that!  They can't see your private stuff!!!  Besides, you helped me with my magnet!!

Me: (pouting) i know.  but still...

Leslie:  Are you POUTING?!  You're ridiculous!  What am I going to do with you?

Me: (still pouting) i dunno.

The truth is, I started pouting because I didn't win best magnet of the day from Shutterfly. I pouted at the end because I didn't get best prank of the day with Leslie Lewis.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Librarians

A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month's study of books.
~ Chinese Proverb
- - - - -

We were waiting at the post office so I could mail a package to my brother Erik. There were two people in front of us - maybe they were trying to get passport photos? I'm not sure. Then an older woman squeezed past us to stand with them and complain with them about not being able to get a passport photo. Then an older man squeezed past us so he could stand with and complain with them, too.

The couple who had been there first were younger. I don't know - 20-something? Maybe they were getting passports for a school trip. Or a honeymoon. The guy was tall and thin and had long hair he wore on top of his head. I mean, in a bun - not just that the hair was on top of his head.

The woman behind us whispered to Leslie, "I'm an ex-hippy.  I like his hair in a tight bun." 

Leslie said that she thought for a moment about how librarians often wear their hair in a similar way.  She told me later, "I almost said, 'Well, I'm a librarian. I like tight buns, too,' but I decided not to."

I only was partially listening because I was wondering what one does to actually leave the hippy movement.

The post office and libraries are fun.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cold

I like the cold weather.
It means you get work done.
~ Noam Chomsky
- - - - -

When I visited Pittsburgh in March we had a few chilly days. I didn't mind because I didn't want to get lazy and only be able to manage nice weather days like most of the days are in South Carolina. It was cold though.  A few days.

One day Leslie was complaining about how cold the room upstairs was. She said, "I was like Shackleton or something."

While Leslie does have a flair for the dramatic, I have to give her credit for having a flair for the historic, as well.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Opinions


Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.
~ Plato
- - - - -

Sometimes I put my opinions out into the world because I want to give people my perspective. Sometimes I do it because I want to challenge the way others (or all of us) are looking at something. Sometimes I do it just to annoy people. Sometimes the opinions I posit aren't even my own.

What I think is funny is how people think that because I post my opinions I am interested in theirs.

People are silly.  There is no "we" in opinion.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Education

(Photo by Stephen Gilbert)

There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.
~ John Adams
- - - - -

I love this photo.  Stephen shared it with Joanne who shared it with me.  They gave me permission to use it.  I'm grateful for that.

The photos is funny, but it also made me think... Maybe once you enter into an educational exchange, you can't exit. You can't go back to not knowing or ignorance or innocence. You have to deal with and integrate (or segregate) your new knowledge.

I also like that there is a number lock thing on this door. Unfortunately, in lots of educational situations you have to know the code, speak the language, understand the culture, have insider information before you can enter into those spaces.

But once you're in, you know what you can do? You can prop the door for other people. Some people won't like that. And I'm not encouraging you to do this in terms of residence halls because you don't want strangers wandering in.

But when you're learning... is there a better way to really explore topics and expose yourself to ideas than letting strangers into your educational space? I think not.

Also, bring your phone or laptop or a notepad. You're going to want to write some things down. You also are going to want some distractions because some people take up too much of that educational space (especially the talking part of the space) and aren't willing to share. I guess they think their ideas are bigger than everyone else's.  Or more important.

They're often wrong, but if they keep talking then I guess no one can get a word in to tell them they're wrong.

You know who I'm talking about. You know who you are. 

So quit it.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Miracles

The miracle is not to fly in the air or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.
~ Chinese Proverb
- - - - -

I love this. I agree with it. It's not about doing the supernatural or the superhuman. It's about doing the human. Being human. It is much more challenging to be fully present and to be fully engaged and to pay attention than it is to wish and work and try for things that take us away from being human.

Things like flying or walking on water. 

I mean, I'm not going to lie. If there was someone who did those things in front of me, I'd be impressed. But not as impressed as I would be with someone who was kind to me. Or to others.

That takes real effort and generosity. And the miracle of kindness is one of the greatest miracles there is. Or could be.

It is even greater than walking on water. Or walking on eggs. Or soybean oil. Or vinegar. Though if you walked on all of those things it could be a miracle, too.  Miracle Whip.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cursewords




When a toddler uses profanity, don't make a big deal about it. If you do, you give the child more power. After all, it's only a word - one that won't do much harm to anybody. In fact, if you think about it, a nasty word is a step up from hitting or biting someone. So look at it as a sign of growth.
~ Lawrence Balter
- - - - -

Mom used to get on us for swearing. I mean, it's not like we went around swearing all the time. Well, I didn't. I was the good one. Maybe Erik did. Maybe they gave up by the time Kirk came around. I don't know. Those are their stories to tell.

Now back to me...  In my recollection, Mom didn't want us to swear. She would always say, "People who swear are just showing their lack of vocabulary."

I wish I would have thought of it at the time.  I would have asked, "What the $%@# does vocabulary mean?"

Pause.

On second thought...  I'm not sure that would have gone over very well. And I never would have said that. I was the good child.

I mean. AM. I AM the good child. Except in adult form. 

Sometimes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Coming

A man of calm is like a shady tree.
People who need shelter come to it.
~ Toba Beta
- - - - -

I remember someone saying to us once that if people keep coming to you it's because they think you can help or because they think you have something to offer.

That's a pretty big compliment. 

Unless they keep coming to you for money.  Then they might just think you're a bank.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Work

Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.
~ Jim Rohn
- - - - -

My neighbors are having a garage built in their backyard which sits next to my bedroom and office.  There has been a crew of 5-8 guys there for the past couple of weeks or so.  They yell at each other a lot.  I think it's mostly because they can't hear each other if one is on the roof and one is on the ground or because someone is running a saw.

Anyway, the other day I came home from a walk and a sitting / thinking / writing session at the park and I heard the following...

Guy 1:  You disappeared when I told you what I needed you to do 
             up here!

Guy 2:  What?  What did you need me to do?

Guy 1:  I needed you to take care of them last eight windows.  And 
             then move this wire and then get that pole up here.

Guy 2:  Well, I've been working on other stuff.

Guy 1:  You're always working on other stuff when I give you 
             something to do.

Guy 2:  Hey!  I was the first one here yesterday and the last one to 
             leave!!

Guy 1:  Yeah, I know.  It's them in-between times that I'm more 
             worried about.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wright

Bureaucrats: they are dead at 30 and buried at 60.  They are like custard pies; you can't nail them to a wall.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
- - - - -

What an excellent quote.  You really can't nail a custard pie to a wall.  He was absolutely Wright.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Comforting

Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister?
~ Alice Walker
- - - - -

I don't have a sister, so I don't know if the above quote is true or not. I guess my brothers don't know either. You see, we're not close. Don't judge me. It's just that Erik is 1,012.9 miles away and Kirk is 1,085 miles away.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

World

Everybody wants to rule the world.
~ Tears for Fears
- - - - -
 
No they don't.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Up

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down.  Without the rain there would be no rainbow.
~ G. K. Chesterton
- - - - -

There are lots of different kinds of "up." Looking up.  Looking something up. Going up stairs. Going up the ladder of success.

We push up some things - like ice cream treats. We also pull up some things - like pull ups - those diaper-underwear crossover items. 

Or pants.  We pull up pants.

Or we try to.

Sometimes the pants don't fit because they aren't ours.  By "us" I mean Leslie.  And by not our pants, I mean that they were her mom's pants.

In Leslie's defense, I think they were the same style of pants. And it was early. And she had a lot going on.

Don't judge her until you've walked a mile in her pants. And when you do that, replace her pants with her mom's pants.

It's kind of hilarious.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sad

Every human walks around with a certain kind of sadness. They may not wear it on their sleeves, but it's there if you look deep.
~ Taraji P. Henson
- - - - -

We all are sad sometimes. And sometimes other people are sad. And that's okay. It's good to have days when things are hard. Sometimes you need to do that. Sometimes it's good when you have someone to try and help you out of it, too. Sometimes I don't try to do that for people.  Sometimes I do try to do that sometimes.  

Me: You look sad.  You want me to sing to you?

Leslie: What are you going to sing?

Me: "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Leslie: I thought it was "Private Dancer."

Me: No.  That's Tina Turner.  And that is also a totally different kind of song.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Duck

To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.
~ Igor Stravinsky
- - - - -
 
I used to have this duck.  It was pretty small.  It was made of glass.  Then I knocked it off a shelf and broke its head off.  I glued it back on, but I knocked it off the shelf again and it broke worse than the first time.
 
I learned some things from this.
 
1. This is why I can't have nice things.
2. I should not have a house with shelves or glass.  Well, maybe I can have one, but maybe not the other.  I think I won't live in a glass house because I like having shelves.
3. I'm really, REALLY glad it was a glass duck and not a real duck.  If I had accidentally knocked the head off a live duck, I would have vomited.
4. If I ever do get a live duck and keep it on a shelf, I will keep it in the bathroom like I did this little glass duck.  That way if I do accidentally knock its head off, I will already be in the bathroom.  You know, for the throwing up part.
 


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mirror

Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.
~ Ernest Holmes
- - - - -

Mirror, mirror by the garbage...
Do you have for me a message?

No.  Mirrors can't talk.

So what if the Wicked Queen (my favorite Disney villain) was just talking to herself in the mirror?  What if she didn't have a magic mirror?  What if all of the things that got said back to her were just pieces of her own knowledge, wisdom and self-awareness being made more accessible to her?

Wow, I bet that would really piss her off - especially if she paid a lot for that mirror!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tangle

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.
~ James A. Michener
- - - - -

I love the tangling of writing, too.  I like it when I read what someone has written and it makes me think, see or feel in a different way.  I have to take time to reflect and I learn and the world is different because of it.

Of course, the human emotions when I am writing are different. Like when I finished the final chapter of my dissertation and about an hour later Kirk called me and I was crying because I was watching the last episode of "Third Rock from the Sun" and the aliens had to go back home. That was a tangle of human emotions for sure.

Oh.  I guess I should have said, "spoiler alert" in case you haven't seen your 2001 television shows, yet.