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Monday, November 30, 2015


We have to get quiet. We have to be still, 
and that's harder and harder in this century.
~ Jane Kenyon
- - - - -

When I was a kid my mom told my band and I we had to turn down the volume on our air guitars.  Apparently, the mimes next door were trying to sleep.


Not true.  I would never ever live next door to mimes.  Well, maybe if we lived on houseboats near each other, but I try not to live near land mimes.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.  Tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.
~ Jean Arp
- - - - -

This quote reminds me of a clock some people I have known have had.  I think maybe my grandma had one.  Anyway, each hour on the hour it made a different bird sound.  We cover up the sounds of nature with reproduced sounds of nature.

The one exception to this - the one sound of nature that I think it is okay to cover up - is the sound of farts.  But if you can only cover up one thing better to cover up the SMELL of farts.  

Perhaps one day we will write, "Soon smelling will have passed into legend..."

Jean Arp died in 1966.  He'd be really amazed at all the machines, devices, noise and distractions we have now.  Maybe he'd be so distracted he wouldn't have time to fret about that other stuff.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
~ Martin Buber
- - - - -

The ways we get from one place to another depend on us, the environment, what we're trying to get to (or from), and so on and so forth. This is not true only of our physical spaces, but also of our knowledge spaces.  The ways we walk through information or engage with data or communicate to others depends on a lot of variables.  There are like books and stuff on that stuff.

It's important to think about how we work our way through the world - places, information, etc.  Being reflective can be helpful in that.  As an example, I share this exchange from a few days ago...

Leslie:  Are you just strolling through Facebook?

Me:  Did you say "strolling"?

Leslie:  I did.  I mean trolling.

Me:  Trolling?  No.  I don't troll people.  I may have been SCROLLING through Facebook.

Leslie:  I'm tired.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it until it comes to have a separate and integral interest.  To regret deeply is to live afresh.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -

So I once had a best friend and we went to Claire's and got one of those necklaces that was a heart broken in two and half of it said, "Be Frie" and the other half said "st nds."  Then we argued for an hour and a half over who got the "Be Frie" half of the thing.

We ended up screaming at each other and then, finally, never speaking again.


That's all a lie.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


I am grateful for what I have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -

I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. Leslie doesn't love it because you spend three days preparing a meal that people eat in fifteen minutes. First of all - whoa! Slow down! Why are people eating so fast?

Second, for me part of the fun of Thanksgiving (now that I am allegedly an adult) is the preparing of the food. Planning things out. Actually, I'm usually more of a helper than the planner. That said I do like to baste the turkey and one year I made pretty good gravy.  And I have an awesome sausage stuffing recipe - of course I never get to make it because everyone already has the "right" kind of stuffing they have to have at Thanksgiving.

Moving on... Third, having good food prepared for people you love with people you love is nice. Food brings us together - first for eating then for falling asleep all over the house. Even if the food is pretty heavy and the desserts maybe get eaten too soon when people should take a break first. Oh and if you use lard in your pie crust, please make sure to use prime lard - composite lard just won't do. (Yes, that is a gratuitous mention of lard to connect the image to this post).

Fourth, I love the idea of a holiday centered on gratitude. I don't love the mythology around Thanksgiving given what the immigrants (we do remember that most of us are immigrants, right? I bet the indigenous people would have done that Trump wall thing a few hundred years ago).  Anyway, given what the immigrants did to the indigenous people and how that gets twisted into a mutually beneficial relationship during the Thanksgiving season instead of genocide is misleading at best (revisionist history is closer to what it is). But then I probably wouldn't want to participate in a holiday that celebrates genocide.

My point is that I approach Thanksgiving as a time of focused gratitude, caring, generosity and love. I'm not thankful when people who didn't do anything to help complain about what's missing from the meal. Or when they don't help with the gazillion dishes afterward. Or some of the gendered history around food preparation and cleanup and football.


So there are some negatives to Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


We recommend that no one eat more than two tons of turkey - that's what it would take to poison someone.
~ Elizabeth Whelan
- - - - - 

Last year at Thanksgiving I texted and asked Elizabeth if she was going to have turkey or if she would be having soyturkey.

Elizabeth: I will get the animal turkey!

Somehow that statement made the circle of life very real to me.

Plus, Elizabeth...  you are what you eat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


You can outdistance that which is running after you, 
but not what is running inside you.
~ Rwandan Proverb
- - - - -

This is sort of true.  Unless you're in the movie World War Z.  You're never going to outrun those zombies.  They were really fast. And then, ironically, if you become a zombie, you won't be able to outrun that, either.

Damn zombies.

Monday, November 23, 2015


All clouds do not rain.
~ Dutch Proverb
- - - - -

Imagine if pork clouds rained bacon. Would you love that? Would you love catching bacon rain on your tongue? Would you love how the bacon rain would help your lettuce and tomatoes grow?

Or would the bacon rain wreck the paint on your car? Would it be a mess to clean up?

I don't know. I think it's all in how you look at it. Bacon rain can be good or bad. It's up to you.

Now tofurkey bacon rain. That's just bad.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I have a personal ambition to live my life honestly and 
honor the true love that I've had and also the people 
I've had around me. I want to stay hopeful, even though 
I get scared about why we're even alive at all.
~ Lana Del Ray
- - - - -

So, I sometimes accidentally really listen to songs.  I usually hear lyrics and learn them well enough to sort of sing along.  Lots of time I don't really listen to the words though.

If you really listen closely to most songs, they will freak you out.  They are all written by creepsters.  Well, maybe not all.  A lot of them.

Have you ever really listened to "Stay with Me" by Sam Smith?

Guess it's true, I'm not good at a one-night stand
But I still need love 'cause I'm just a man
These nights never seem to go to plan
I don't want you to leave, will you hold my hand?

Oh, won't you stay with me?
'Cause you're all I need
This ain't love it's clear to see
But darling, stay with me

I'm no expert on Sam Smith or the relationship outlined here, but as I understand it, it is a one-night stand and then he says to the other person "you're all I need."

He's right.  He really is NOT good at a one-night stand.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Many a witty inspiration is like the surprising reunion of befriended thoughts after a long separation.
~ Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel
- - - - -

Leslie getting ready to go to her Greenville based reunion and packing USMA stuff.  

Me: Do you want to take your sword?

LL: No.  And it's a saber.  And it's mounted on a piece of wood.

Me:  Do you want to take your foil?  Your Army poking stick?

LL:  You're not always helpful.

Friday, November 20, 2015


You will find something more in woods than in books.  Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
~ Saint Bernard
- - - - -

Me:  Does that book say, "Keep Sewing?"

Leslie:  Yes!  Yes, Michelle!  You did not know it, but I am a closet sewer!!

The book actually said, Keep or Sell.  Leslie is a smartass.  That's what I learned.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


If a person shows that such things as wood, stones, and the like, being many are also one, we admit that he shows the coexistence of the one and many, but he does not show that the many are one or the one many; he is uttering not a paradox but a truism.
~ Plato
- - - - - 

I like the word truism because it sounds important.  It has to do with truth.  But when you realize what it really means, I hope that people don't think I share a lot of truisms because apparently - while true - truisms aren't that interesting.  

Maybe it's hard to tell the difference between a paradox and a truism.  Or a profundity.  Or a syllogism.  

My point is that I overhear things all the time and am not sure if there is a deeper meaning and I'm missing it.  For example, the following exchange --

Person 1: How are you doin'?

Person 2: Better than yesterday.

Person 1: Why's that?

Person 2: I'm not at work hungover.

Person 1: I hear that.  I'm a roofer.  Nothin' worse than vein' hungover cookin' in the hot sun on a roof.

See what I mean?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


When there's no way out, you just follow the way in front of you.
~ Stephen Mitchell
- - - - -

Kirk: (at Airport)
          Lady:  Nice sweater!
          Lady 2: THANKS!  It's one of my Saturday sweaters.
          In what world is that a thing?

Me:  I don't know.  I'll blog it though.  How is your trip so far?

Kirk:  Good.  All smooth.  In Detroit. The tunnel that connects terminals looks like one of those "I am your colon" films.

Me:  How many of those films have you seen?

Kirk:  6.  Don't ask.

Me:  Wait.  Are you talking about the punctuation mark?

Kirk:  No.  It doesn't look like that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.
~ Edgar Allan Poe
- - - - -

You are what you eat, but you are also what you read.  Words get in your head and sometimes they stay there for a very long time.  Sort of like memories but sort of different, too.  My point is to be careful what you read because you might be carrying it around for a while.

Leslie:  What are you doing?

Michael:  Reading.

Leslie:  Reading what?

Me: Minds.

I don't know if Michael was actually reading minds that day or not, but if he was, he knew I was going to say that.

Monday, November 16, 2015


My mama told me it's not what they call you, 
it's what you answer to.
~ Donna Brazile
- - - - -

My mama never said there'd be days like this.  That's okay.  She said some other things.  And they were good and important and changed my life perspective.


I can't think of any of them right now.

But anyway, don't go judging my mama.  You don't know her.  Not like I do.  You'll make me very angry if you go badmouthing my mama.

You're just lucky my mama also never said knock you out.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.
~ Ismail Haniyeh
- - - - -

As a kid, I loathed lawn ornaments.  They didn't make sense to me.  I didn't know why people would want to clutter up their yards with them.  I think it's because about four blocks down our street there was a house with a statue of a German Shepherd in front of the house.  For year - even decades - that dog sat there...  at about a 45 degree angle.  If you insist on having statuary in your yard, at least make it upright.  

But it would be better if you had plants or flowers in your yard.  Not decorations.

I accidentally ordered this garden gnome for my mom.  I meant to order her one of a gnome cutting up a pink lawn flamingo with a chainsaw.  Instead, I clicked on the other one and she got this gnome pooping.

Regardless, I like that she put it on display.  

Also, now I don't loathe lawn ornaments quite as much.  In fact one day I'd like to have a giant safe full of money as a lawn ornament in my front yard.  Now that I think about it, maybe I'll keep that decoration in my house.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


The best intelligence test is what we do with our leisure.
~ Laurence J. Peter
- - - - -

Me:  (regarding watching RuPaul's Drag Race)  My life has been an empty shell of a life before this night.  Did you know that reptiles can do drag?

Kirk:  I know, right?!?!?

Me:  New show - Pete's Dragon Race.

Now... you might be asking yourselves what this photo, this quote and this conversation have to do with one another.  The reality is you might have quit reading this particular post (or blog) a long time ago.

Well, let me explain.

I got this book on research and was reading it for fun.  Well, for fun and to learn some things.  For me fun and learning usually have something to do with one another.

Then I was re-reading some exchanges with Kirk and found this one about how I spent some of my leisure time watching RuPaul's Drag Race.  And I put the conversation together with the photo.  I left it as a draft for a long time.  Then I came back to it and wrote this post.

Basically, these things are all connected because I threw them in the junk drawer of my mind together.  (pause)  There is some pretty cool stuff in there.  

Does that help?

Friday, November 13, 2015


If the eye does not want to see, neither light nor glasses will help.
~ German Proverb
- - - - -

There is no "i" in "look."

But there is an "oo!"

At least there is if you pay close enough attention.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, 
you would never think a negative thought.
~ Peace Pilgrim
- - - - -

The other day the power went out in one room of our house.  We still haven't figured out why.  We were not plugging anything in or turning anything on and nothing happened to the power in the rest of the house.

Later I looked at my blog for the day and it was about electricity.



Also, we figured out later it was a short in one of the outlets.  That was also powerful, but in a different kind of way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


If you do not seek the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.
~ Heraclitus
- - - - -

Patty thought her husband bought her an apple pie scented candle.  She opened it and smelled it and thought something was wrong with it.  It was runny and soft and she couldn't find the wick.  Then she realized he had just bought her apple pie filling.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Words, like glasses, obscure everything which they do not make clear.
~ Joseph Joubert
- - - - -

I have to wear reading glasses.  I don't mind.  It's way better than getting a headache.  When I was in first grade I used to get a lot of headaches and I also got in trouble for yelling at the other kids and telling them to be quiet.  It was because my head hurt and I needed glasses.

Then my eyes got better.  And now I just need reading glasses.  I didn't need any glasses for a while, but now I need them to read.

The last ones I bought look kind of like the glasses my dad used to wear when I was a little kid.  I know they aren't exactly the same kind, though because I don't like to read the same kinds of things he used to like to read.

Monday, November 9, 2015


My actions are my only true belongings. 
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

- - - - -

Just the other day I was telling Leslie how there have been times in my life where I have been very angry with other people.  I am not sure I've been angry enough to do them personal and physical harm, but I have been angry enough that I wanted to slash their tires.

She asked me if I have ever done that. 

I said, "No.  But only because I'm worried about karma."

I think it's okay to sometimes NOT do bad things because you're worried about what might happen to you if you do.  If it keeps you out of trouble and keeps you from bothering others, that's a pretty good result regardless of your motivations.

Well, a few weeks ago I did something for which I was willing to take the karmic results.  I sat down at a computer at the library.  I was going to listen to Pandora while I worked.  I tried to log in and it said, "You are already logged in."

Well, I wasn't.  But someone was.  And they only had one station.  "One Republic."  I like One Republic.  I thought I would help the person out by adding some other stations.  I added:

1. Sound Effects: Apollo 13 Takeoff
2. Leonard Nimoy
3. Deep Blue Something
4. Phillip Glass Radio
5. Disney (Holiday)

I know there will be consequences for these actions.

And I feel like it was worth it.  Hopefully there's such a thing as "karmamusement."

Sunday, November 8, 2015


The only thing that ultimately matters is to eat an ice cream cone, play a slide trombone, plant a small tree, good God you're free.
~ Ray Manzarek
- - - - -

So, I have complained in the past about the trombone part in Eye of the Tiger.  Maybe not in this blog.  But I have complained about it.  Well, the other night I realized that maybe it wasn't Eye of the Tiger but maybe it was Africa by Toto.  So I tried to look up both pieces of sheet music online.

It was Eye of the Tiger.  The trombone part for Africa is actually pretty good in parts.

There.  Now you can rest easy.  Or at least easier.  Unless someone is practicing Eye of the Tiger on the trombone in your house.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.
~ Pam Brown
- - - - -
I like the idea of a friendship being something we have to tend and cultivate and care for.  "Mulch of letters" implies one might shred the letters and scatter them on the ground.  Not sure I like that.  I prefer to think that my letters are mostly framed and hung or sold at auction.

Anyway, I try to tend to my friendships.  I do better sometimes than other times.  I don't necessarily think that you should carry this comparison too far, though.  Friendships may be like plants, but I don't want to do "Naked Gardening Day" with my friendships.  My friends don't want that, either.  Which is why we are friends.

And also, so we are pretty just making up holidays all the time now, right?  "Naked Gardening Day?" "Red Nose Day?"

Those aren't things.


I had therefore to remove knowledge, in order to make room for belief.
~ Immanuel Kant
- - - - -

My dad died about a year ago.  I don't know what happens when someone dies.  I know that I believe they sort of stick around.  They influence how we see things - even if they aren't physically with us.  If they were good people, they help us think and do good things and be good people.  If they were bad people, we're relieved they are gone and maybe they inspire us to be better people.

If my father left us anything, it was a sense of humor.  He liked to make people laugh.

I'm not sure if he would think the following exchange was funny -- wait.  I'm actually quite positive that he would.  It's a conversation that happened within 48 hours after he passed away.

Kirk:  I just got two new friend requests.

Me:  Let me guess -- Stephanie and Allison (our cousins).

Kirk:  Yep.  You, too?

Me:  Yep.

Mom:  Why?  Did you post something..?

Kirk:  No.

Mom:  Why did they friend request you?

Me:  Uh...  Because our dad just died?

Mom:  (laughing hysterically)  I didn't even think of that.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Mom has a pretty great sense of humor, too.

Friday, November 6, 2015


In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. No one else on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
- - - - -
I am learning. Hopefully always learning. I am exploring a new approach to qualitative research - duoethnography. Well, new to me. Actually, pretty new in general.

Anyway, I have a couple of books I'm reading on it as I prepare to engage in it with a few people on a few projects. I talked to Leslie about it.  However, as I have mentioned occasionally, Leslie isn't always drawn to the literature I am reading.

What's interesting is that when I talk to her about some of it, she gets more excited about it. I guess if you're enthusiastic about a topic, you can make even six+ syllable words sound interesting to other people.

Of course Leslie has her own way of making things interesting. She keeps referring to it as "dynamic duo ethnography."

She's more right than she might realize.

Learning is awesome.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


All grand thoughts come from the heart.
~ Luc de Clapiers
- - - - -

A while ago I was corresponding with Kirk about going to see the retirement community for Leslie's mom (Granny).  I had gone with Leslie when she went to visit to get a sense of the place.  Mainly, I went to take notes and offer moral support.  Which is different than offering morals.  Or morels.  

Kirk:  What did you think?

Me:  It was AMAZING.  It has everything.  Well, except air hockey and spittoons.

Kirk:  I'm SO GLAD to hear that.  Old people love spittoons.  Sneak one in.

The community is sponsored by the Catholic church, so Kirk asked me some questions about that - like whether Granny is Catholic, etc.  I said she was and she'd like being able to got to mass every day or to watch it on the closed circuit TV they have at the place.

Kirk:  That's great then!  I thought maybe she was Protestant or nudist and you were saying that to make her laugh.
Kirk:  BUDDHIST!  Not nudist.

Me:  LOL.  I thought you wrote that on purpose!

Leslie:  WTF!!!
Leslie:  I have 102 messages!!!

By the way, Leslie was also on this string of exchanges which included a lot more stuff.  I think we kind of forgot she was there since she didn't respond. 

She shared later that she thought her phone was broken because it kept dinging and she was doing something and couldn't get to it right away.

So the point of my post today is that sharing your thoughts with others is fun.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Necessity is the mother of invention.
~ English Proverb
- - - - -

When you see things out of context, you have to make up your own meanings.  Like if you saw this chair sitting somewhere you might have concerns about the people who used it.  You might wonder about their sense of safety.

But if you saw it at Leslie's house and realized it was a makeshift high chair security system you would...  Well, let's be honest.  You'd think the same thing. Some things are scary even IN context, I guess.

And I'm not sure the fire extinguisher in the background is particularly reassuring.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then I guess creativity is the grandmother of invention.  Or maybe it's intervention.  

Words are funny.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


... there ain't no journey what don't change you some
~ David Mitchell
- - - - -

I love to travel.  I like to see new things.  I like getting to new places.  I like the time when I travel alone when I think and when the noise settles and the way becomes more clear.  

I also like traveling with others.  They give me perspective and entertain me and give me new things to consider.  Well, some people I don't like to travel with.  So, I try not to travel with them.

And probably some places I don't like to visit.  I do like to ascertain that for myself, though.  I don't like people telling me where to go because sometimes they are quite rude.  Or I don't like people telling me to - Wait.  You know what?  I don't like people bossing me at all.

My dad's response when I was a kid and asked if we could visit someplace was always, "I've been there.  You wouldn't like it."  I didn't like that.  I especially didn't like it when he was right.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Enjoy every sandwich.
~ Warren Zevon
- - - - -

My brother Kirk and I communicate in very different ways.  He likes to provide more detail.  I am more succinct.  But we know that about each other.

I find that I often provide a lot less detail than some people would like.  I can get on a roll when I'm telling a story, but not every day lends itself to as good a story as other days.  I'm sure that is because I don't pay enough attention.  I suspect every day really does have a pretty good story.

Kirk suggested the other day, "We should write a chapter [in our forthcoming wemoir - which is a memoir we will write together] about how I tell stories like Mom where you tell a story and I tell a story.  You:  I had lunch.  It was a sandwich.  Me: 17 pages about... Lunch."

Sunday, November 1, 2015


When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living.  If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
~ Tecumseh
- - - - -

Today is my friend Joy's birthday.  I think.  Unless she lied on Facebook.  But who would do that?

Anyway, she is a good friend.  She is the kind of friend who checks in on you randomly.  Who lets you know when she thinks of you - even if you are far away.

And I try to do the same with her.  

And we have nicknames for each other.  Well, we sort of share one nickname for each other: Pisshead.

Sometimes we use variations.  She likes to use "Pissbreath" but I think that is gross.

Anyway, the other day I was texting her and I said, "Hello, Pisshead."  My stupid phone autocorrected it to "Pissheart."


Please tell me who would ever call their friend "Pissheart"?!!

Stupid phone.