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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Play

It is a happy talent to know how to play.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -
Kids are good at playing.  It's kind of their  job to play.  That's how they learn.  Maybe if we treated play more like work that would be good.  We could wake kids up and say, "It's time to go to play!"  And then we could pay them based on the quality or importance of their play.  And we could make them play for like 40 hours a week.

Then when they got tired of all the playing we could say, well... maybe if you play first you can have some time to work later.  Then by the time they got to be grown ups, they'd be all excited to go to work and they would live happy adult lives.

(pause)

I need to spend more time with Aurora.  I have some experiments I want to try out.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Crawfish

I like to eat crawfish and drink beer.  That's despair?
~ Walker Percy
- - - - -

Crawfish.

Crayfish.

Crawdads.

Mud puppies.

Mud bugs.

Icky.

People call them different things.  You rarely hear them called crayola fish.

If my friend Wayne met one that was acting very unusually and even in a weird or startling way, I strongly suspect he would call it a cray-crayfish.

'Cause he's great like that.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ladle

My heart is a ladle of sweet water brimming over.
~ Anita Diamant
- - - - -

This photo reminds me of a nursery rhyme.  You know... the one... Ladle Bo Peep.

Ladle Bo Peep
Has lost her sheep
And doesn't know where to find them.
Leave them alone.
And they'll come home.
And then you can go ahead and eat them.

Mary had a Little Lamb
it followed her to school one day
And made the children laugh and play
When Ladle Bo Peep 
made them lamb chops.

Ladle Bo Peep was a poor reader
A poor reader...  a poor reader
She thought it was pronounced "MUTE-ton"
Not mutton.
She thought that was where silents of the lamb came from.

If you don't know the nursery rhyme Ladle Bo Peep, it's probably because it's one of the less rhymier nursery rhymes.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Time

They say that time heals all wounds, unfortunately it's not just time.  It's what you do during that time that will allow wounds to heal.  Time by itself is not enough.
~ Billy Lewis
- - - - -
 
Sometimes time goes quickly and sometimes it goes slowly.  I don't think I'm the first person to notice this.  In fact I'm almost sure that I'm not the first person to notice this.  But we can help one another pass time which helps the time pass.
 
Like if someone is waiting for something - a birthday, a gift, for their child to make a bunch of money and support them forever - it can seem like time stands still.
 
A while ago Rachel texted me.  She was waiting for a reimbursement. 
 
Rachel:  Did my reimbursement hit?
 
Me:  No.  You aren't getting any reimbursements.  Ever.
 
(pause)
 
Me: I think you may have mistexted me.
 
Rachel:  I was about to get real indignant!
 
Me: I should have waited.  I like indignancy.  From a distance.
 
Also, distance can feel different from one moment to the next.  Like the same amount of time can be slow or fast, the same amount of distance can feel near or far.  I felt close enough to Rachel to make that joke, but far enough away that I knew she wouldn't be able to do me any physical harm.  And that is a time and space I like to occupy in general with all people.
 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Oooo!

Everything you can imagine is real.
~ Pablo Picasso
- - - - -

I wish I could see things through the eyes of a child.  Everything is new and exciting and interesting and different.  Everything is tangible and tasteable and figureoutable if you could just get your hands on it.  Sounds are interesting and you are just learning to make connections between sounds and the things that make those sounds.  It's all so fascinating.

Plus, I would also see what I have on some lower shelves because I bet there are things there I have been looking for and not able to find.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Night

There never was a night or a problem 
that could defeat sunrise or hope.
~ Bernard Williams
- - - - -

I love music.  I like it when songs come up in unexpected ways.  I have a pretty diverse set of music in my music library.  Sometimes the way songs follow each other is...  unconventional.

But I can tell you this: My iTunes really thinks that I LOVE the song "Shadows of the Night" by Pat Benatar.  And I do like that song very much.  iTunes just thinks that I should listen to it every time I listen to music.

I will also say that I'm glad it is about shadows and not scissors.  One ought not run with the scissors of the night.

(pause)

Okay, I'd probably enjoy a song called, "We're Running with the Scissors of the Night."  But you already knew that.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Life


Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect.
~ Margaret Mitchell
- - - - -
I have very high expectations about some things.  I hope I have high expectations for my students because they are phenomenal and I would hate to underestimate them.  I have high expectations for my friends (which is why I'm kinda picky about who they are).  I have high expectations for myself about most things.
That said, I don't think expecting the heat to work in all the rooms of the house you are renting is an overly high expectation.  At least my landlord didn't lie to me.  I had one like that.  I'm holding off on revenging because I figure karma will get him.  And I live far away from him now.
But I'm not 100% convinced that this house was actually built without heat going to the bedroom.  Maybe.  Don't know why they'd put vents in if there wasn't heat going there.
As I have said before, though...  Sometimes I'm glad when not so good things happen because someday they will make for great material for my book or screenplay.
Also, it doesn't get too cold here, so I shouldn't complain.  
Also, if you go beyond simply complaining in a regular and predictable way, does that mean that you "comfancy"?
Probably not.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dad

Dad always thought that laughter was the best medicine.  Which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.
~ Jack Handey

Today would have been my dad's 74th birthday.  I guess it actually still is, he just isn't here to celebrate it.  If you want to celebrate it for him, have chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  That's what he would have had.

And then do some kind of prank on someone.  He would have wanted that, too.

The last time I talked with my dad was really just a few hours / a day before he passed.  The first thing I said to him was, "Leslie isn't very happy with you."  He wasn't able to say much, but the expression on his face clearly conveyed, "Why?  What have I done to her?!"

Then I said, "Air Force beat Army in football today."  And that made him smile.

My mom talked for a while about people who had visited and how things were going.  My dad cleared his throat and tried to talk.  She asked if he needed to sit up or if he needed a drink of water.

He very quietly said, "I want to be alone."

If you had asked me, I never in 100 years would have guessed that the last words I would hear my father say would be a Greta Garbo impersonation.

To be honest, I also wouldn't have spent 100 years trying to guess that.

I know the fishing lures don't have anything to do with the quote or this post, but my dad liked fishing.

And I was trying to lure you into this blog post.

Happy birthdad.  (<-- not a typo).

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Puzzle

I do the New York Times crossword puzzle every morning to keep the old gray matter ticking.
~ Carol Burnett
- - - - -

I like crossword puzzles.  I've heard that they are supposed to help your brain.  My brain can always use a little help.  My friend Donney used to do this thing where he would whistle, "If I Only Had a Brain" when someone would do something stupid.  It was pretty funny.  Unless it was me who did something stupid.

Anyway, I was thinking that maybe I would design a crossword puzzle just for Leslie.  I could do it for Christmas or her birthday or something.  And I would have the answers all be profanities and obscenities.  I think she would be good at figuring it out.

And I would call it a cussword puzzle.

(pause)

Seriously, I bet there is a market for that.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pericles

Trees, though they are cut and lopped, grow up again quickly, but if men are destroyed it is not easy to get them again.
~ Pericles
- - - - -

Pericles was sometimes referred to as the first citizen of Athens.  He was a great public speaker and leader.  He promoted arts and culture and education.  He did some good stuff.

You don't hear as much about his younger (and very bitter) brother.  He wasn't as famous.  He wasn't as gifted with words.  He wasn't much of a leader.  He lived his life in the shadow of his older brother, Pericles.  He is not as renowned or celebrated or quoted.  His name was... Testicles.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Matching

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.
~ Emo Phillips
- - - - -

Just because you put things together doesn't mean that they always match.  Like chicken casserole and a squeezy pouch.  It has been said before, but I'll say it here - just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do something.

Leslie told me that her dad used to wear clothes together that didn't match. Then he would say that they went together because it was his favorite shirt and his favorite tie and his favorite pants.  Something like that.  While I often take creative license in this blog, I am not trying to reconstruct that narrative because it's a great story.

Well, not too long ago, I realized that just because you like things doesn't mean that they will always go together.  I learned that before with people.  There are some people I like but that doesn't mean they get along together.

Also, just because you like chicken wings and you also like Brussels sprouts, it doesn't mean that they make a cohesive meal.  And by "it doesn't meant that they make a cohesive meal" what I really mean is that they weren't good together when I had them.  

But I'd also probably eat them every day for a week before I would want to eat chicken casserole from a bag.  Unless I was an astronaut.  But if I was an astronaut, I might get tired of food in a bag and might kind of crave Brussels sprouts and chicken wings.

Crazy space people.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

See

There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.
Leonardo da Vinci
- - - - -

Leslie: Why would people post this?! (she then shows me a photo of a butchered hog)

Me: Why would YOU show ME that?!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Crisis

If you feel irritated or threatened by others' beliefs, it's a sign that you're experience a crisis of confidence.
~ Toba Beta
- - - - -
I have to admit that I can be irritable.  I'm sure I can be irritating, too, but I tend to notice when I am irritated more than when others are irritated by me.  That's okay, I guess.  Or at least human. 
I'm not sure when I get irritated by others if it constitutes a crisis of confidence.  Maybe.  Maybe I am unsure of myself or my beliefs or my approaches to things.  Maybe.  Or maybe I just haven't gotten enough sleep. 
Or maybe my irritation is just a cover for when I am hurt or unsure.  A cover for that crisis of confidence.  It could be.  Maybe the following text I sent to Leslie is evidence of that:
Me: I had a cranky day today.  Better now that it is over.  People were just gratin on my nerves.  Grating.  Not gratin.
Or maybe I DID mean gratin.  Maybe the ways others were irritating me were just a crumby, cheesy crust over my nerves and my concerns.

(pause)

No.  I don't think that is what I meant.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Roads

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
~ Traditional Gaelic Blessing
- - - - -

I think it is okay and expected to hope that the road we have to travel is as easy as it can be.  It makes sense that we would rather have a gentle journey than a treacherous trail.  Or a trying trail.  Or a troublesome trail.

We hope for things to come easily so that we can enjoy things.

But I think you can find pleasure in the struggle sometimes, too.  I'm sure not all struggles, but some. Some of those things make for really great stories.

That said, I think if you really want the road to rise to meet your steps, you should put yeast in your cement mix.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tools

On one hand, we know that everything happens for a reason, and there are no mistakes or coincidences.  On the other hand, we learn that we can never give up, knowing that with the right tools and energy, we can reverse any decree or karma.  So, which is it?  Let the light decide, or never give up?  The answer is: both.
~ Yehuda Berg
- - - - -

If I got to have an extra hand that wasn't actually a hand but a tool, I think I would like to have a whisk hand.  I am not sure why.  It probably is not very practical, but I like whisks.  

Wait.  No.  I'd choose a rubber spatula.  I already get enough static electricity shocks.  And a whisk static electricity shock would really hurt, I think.

Whew!  That was close.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Concierge

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.
~ Bernice Johnson Reagon
- - - - -

I looked up concierge to learn about the origin of the word.  Yeah, so the word people don't know for sure.  One thing they suggested is that it might come from the Latin conservus which means "fellow slave."

That is interesting.  I wonder if the concierges at hotels know that.  Or the people who ask them for help.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Children


 The soul is healed by being with children.
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- - - - -

Dang if that isn't true.  If your soul can't be healed by being with children, you are too broken to be fixed.  

I love seeing how children think and explore and are so interested in everything.  It's inspirational.  

Also, the little ones aren't that good at walking yet, so you can feel better knowing that you're better than them at that.  Or also they aren't good at algebra, but maybe you aren't either.  State capitols, a lot of them don't know those.  But there are some kids who know all of them and have weird padlock minds that retain all kinds of that information.

(pause)

I guess if you're trying to heal your soul by competing with children, I think maybe you have more issues than just a busted up soul.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Skink

The secret to humor is surprise.
~ Aristotle
 
How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised
at anything which happens in life.
~ Marcus Aurelius
- - - - -
 
So Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius were not contemporaries, but I wonder if they would have gotten along if they had been.  The quotes above seem to indicate that maybe they would not.  Maybe Marcus Aurelius didn't have a sense of humor.  Or maybe Aristotle was just tuned in to the secrets of humor.
 
Either way, I bet neither of them ever had a skink in their house.  Or if they did, I bet they were both surprised by it.

I'm no ancient philosopher guy, but I was sure surprised by the skink in my house.  And I thought it was kind of funny.

I don't think the skink thought it was funny when I predatored him and caught him in a box and put him outside.  But I don't know what skinks think.  That said, I do think "What Skinks Think" would be a good title for a children's book.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Leaves

Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore.  There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.
~ Albert Schweitzer
- - - - -

Leaf becomes leaves. Why doesn't chef become cheves?  Or serf serves.

Hm.  A serf is someone who serves.  They serve feudal lords, right?  I bet they are busy.  I bet they get tired of doing the same thing day after day all their lives though. 

Some days you look at them and think, "Serf excited."  Probably rarely.  More often you probably look at them and think,
"Serf bored."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Diary

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.
~ Pablo Picasso
- - - - -

I love journaling.  I like diaries - but not all of them.  Some of them have kittens on them or butterflies or they are ugly teal colors.  But you can't judge a diary by its cover.  Well, you can, but then you are just judging the cover not the contents.  Well, you probably are right though because who would buy a teal-kitten-butterfly diary?  Someone who would write about unicorns and candy corn and cotton candy, that's who.  And who wants to read that?  Not me.  So good job judging.

Also, if it is true that painting is just another way of keeping a diary, then I think that means that graffiti art is just another way of keeping a diary on the wall with spray paint.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Door

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential...  these are the keys that will unlock the door to person excellence.
~ Confucius
- - - - -

Life is full of challenges.  I think it helps to remember that in the middle of every challenge, is an ALLEN (chALLENges), so avoid people named that.

But that's not my point.  My point is that you can overcome challenges and then you have successes.  And those are pretty fun.  Just look for opportunities.  Change is fun.  Be creative.  Be solution-oriented.  They say that when God closes a door S/He opens a window.  What they don't tell you is the window is in the basement of the house where your best friend from elementary school used to live and the new residents aren't going to appreciate you using it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Criticism

Watch every detail that affects the accuracy of your work.
~ Arthur C. Nielsen
- - - - -

Leslie thinks that sometimes I make her look stupid in my blog.  I assure her that the person I make look stupid is me.  And maybe not stupid, maybe...  Well, maybe stupid.  I think she ends up looking mostly nice and funny and smart.

The other night we were talking I laughed at something she said and repeated it back when she asked me why I was laughing.

Me:  You said, "We're not gonna have a 100th reunion and that makes me sad."  (she had intended to say anniversary)

Leslie:  I didn't say that!

Me:  Yes you did.

Leslie:  I did NOT say it would make me sad!!  I DID say that we're not going to have a 100th reunion.  I don't mind contributing to your blog, but I'd like to have some dignity.

And that made me laugh, too.  And it made her mad.  And she said she supposed it would end up in my blog.

It's like she's psychic.  AND nice and funny and smart.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Change

If it's a penny for your thoughts and you put in your two cents worth, then someone, somewhere is making a penny.
~ Steven Wright
- - - - -

One night I was walking home from teaching and was talking to Leslie on the phone.  She was telling me about something.  I can't remember what it was.  That doesn't make me a bad person, but it does make a bad listener.  Sometimes.  Other times I am a GREAT listener.  In my defense, I was pretty wound up because I love teaching and I get sort of an adrenaline rush from it.

Also, why are you so judgy?  You should be quiet and listen to my story.

Wow.  Ironic.

Anyway, she was telling me something and I interrupted (which I don't like it when other people do it to me, but I admit I did it to her).

"A firefly!!"  I shouted.  "I just read that they want people to count fireflies because they think they're disappearing around here.  I love fireflies!!"

"I like them, too," she concurred cooly.

"I'm sorry," I apologized.  "I completely interrupted you.  You were telling me something.  You know that is just like that 'LOOK!  SQUIRREL!!' joke.  Anyway, I'm sorry."

"That's okay," she said graciously.  "I was --"

"I JUST FOUND A QUARTER!"  I interrupted again.

But - seriously - I found a quarter on the ground in the dark.  And it was heads up.  I'm the luckiest person I know!

(pause)

And Leslie is the most patient.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Old

Look back and smile on perils past.
~ Walter Scott
- - - - -

I wonder about past lives sometimes.  And how most of the time people are told that their past lives were spent as people and not cave people.  "You were a coal miner in West Virginia in 1917," or "You were a clarinetist in a jazz band in 1922," or "You were a cook in a home for wayward children in 1938."  But never, "Your name was Zorag and you were a cave-dweller."

I wonder if I was Zorag the cave-dweller.  And if I was - even if I lived in a cave with no door and lots of bugs and stuff around - I bet I still got freaked out if a spider crawled on me.

And, yes, I realize that I probably didn't have access to even a broken gristmill wheel thing at the time, but this was the only old stone agey picture I could find.  Of course maybe Zorag also invented the wheel.  Who knows?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sad

For grief is felt not so much for the want of what we have never known, as for the loss of that to which we have been long accustomed.
~ Pericles
- - - - -

I don't have a lot of faith in politics. I think there is something wrong with a system where there has to be something wrong with you to want to lead the system. I mean, there is something wrong with all of us, but to want to be in - no, to even want to run for president. I don't understand that.

I do understand why you'd want to be on the Supreme Court. But that isn't what this blog is about. It could be what this blog is about. Because the Supreme Court is awesome.

Anyway, recently I finished watching the series "The West Wing." It was very upsetting to me. Especially at the end I was very sad.  I was sad that no matter who runs in real life, we won't ever have candidates as good as Democratic Martin Sheen or Democratic Jimmy Smits or Republican Alan Alda.

But who knows? Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

(pause)

I'm sure I'll be surprised, in fact. I just lack confidence that it will be pleasant.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Birthday

My mother thinks I am the best. And I was raised to always believe what my mother tells me.
~ Diego Maradona
- - - - -
Today is my mom's birthday. I'm pretty glad she was born because I'm pretty happy with my life and I'm not sure how that would have happened if she hadn't been born.
I am pretty sure that my birth was one of the highlights of her life. It was one of the highlights of my life, too. We have that in common.
I once heard a saying, "You should celebrate the day of your birth by thanking your children. They have made your life full and rich and rewarding. Especially the oldest child. Especially if the oldest is a daughter. There is nothing more special than that. So celebrate your birthday by giving your eldest - especially if it is an eldest daughter - gifts and money and words of great praise."
I can't remember the source.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Condescending

Two phrases I hate in reference to female characters are 'strong' and 'feisty'.  They really annoy me.  It's the most condescending thing.  You say that to a three-year-old.  It infantilizes women.
~ Helen Mirren
- - - - -
 
This is a notebook that I think my friend Liz gave to me.  I love it. 
 
My mom always used to say, "You can't love inanimate objects." 
 
I'm not sure she should force her definition of love on other people.  Also, her love for cartoon characters is just weird.  Well, to some people.  I guess I shouldn't force my definition of love on her, either.

Weirdo.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Kindness


Next time you're a victim of someone else's bitterness, anger, insecurity or bullying, just remember that things could be worse.. you could be them. Do not further enrage them, just let them be.. Imagine how much pain they're in that they have to treat people like dirt in order to feel good about themselves. Be kind to unkind people, not because they're nice, but because you are!
~ Buddhist Boot Camp
- - - - -

The other day Rachel and I were Google chatting and we were talking about how you really have to work to be nice to not nice people.  I told her I read a quote about that (see above).  While I was trying to find that quote, she asked, "Is it about how the Dalai Lama says when someone sends violence and judgment and ridicule at him, he absorbs the hurt, brings it to his heart, transforms it and sends it out into the world as love?"

I responded, "No.  But I should try that.  It sounds a lot nicer than flipping people off and calling them assholes...  in my heart."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Honesty


It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.
~ Noel Coward
- - - - -
 
I figured when I was writing to Mom, I might as well be honest about the fact that I already had these postcards and that that was what she was getting.
In a way it's sort of a correspondence revenge tactic for her saying, "This is what I made for dinner.  It's what you're getting.  You'll like it.  If you don't like it, you'll eat it anyway.  And then you'll say that you like it.  And then I'll make it again tomorrow to punish you for lying to me."
(pause)
Okay, my mom never really said some of that to me.  
 
But that's how it felt on my heart, Mom.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Flowers

I must have flowers, always, and always.
~Claude Monet
- - - - -

These are the flowers we got for Granny.  Well, some of them.  She said I did a nice job helping with them.  She asked if my mom had a garden.  I said yes.  My mom grows some amazing roses.  I said that she also grows marigolds.  They are supposed to help keep rabbits and deer away.
 
I didn't tell her that they also keep me away.  Apparently, I have the smelling power of a rabbit.