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Monday, February 29, 2016


Leap and the net will appear.
~ John Burroughs
- - - - -

I don't like monkeys in clothes.  After looking at this, I don't like frogs in clothes, either.  I guess I don't like anthropomorphizing any creatures.

Or maybe I just don't like their senses of fashion.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Life itself is the proper binge.
~ Julia Child
- - - - -

I like exploring new places. I like learning about people and cultures and food and beliefs. I don't always like what I learn. I don't always agree with the people about whom I learn. But learning is the thing.

When I moved to South Carolina I learned about the "Meat and Three" option for a meal. Meat and three side dishes.

When I move to Japan, I fully expect to learn about the "Tofu and Two" option for a meal. If that isn't already in place, Japan better get on it before I get there.

Other options might include: "Cinnamon Bun and One" or "Hen and Ten" or "Side Dish and Some Other Side Dishes."

What I also like is when my ideas inspire cultures and food and beliefs.  It's good to be a mastication inspiration. (pause) I think. Maybe. Maybe not. Actually probably not. Especially if you go visiting cannibal country. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Only the very weak minded refuse to be influenced 
by literature and poetry.
~ Cassandra Clare
- - - - -

When Leslie's mom was moving, Leslie was going through her mom's stuff.  One of the things she found was a red box with a note taped to it.  The note read, "Boo Hoo American Poets."  Inside was a dish with American poets on it.  A broken plate.

Seeing this reminded me of a saying I have heard a number of times before -- that the things we own own us. If we put too much value on items then we can be devastated when they are broken or lost. If we attach ourselves to things, then we give up a part of ourselves.

On the other hand, if we free ourselves from belongings, we are free. Free to move past moments when things we cherish are broken or stolen or lost or forgotten.

And on yet another hand, isn't it strange how we hold on to broken things? Broken dishes. Broken lawn mowers. Broken TVs. Broken hearts?

When I suggest you let go of a broken heart, I don't mean to literally rid yourself of a heart. I mean it poetically. As poetically as a broken dish poet.

And - you saw this coming, right? - "Broke Dish Poets" would be a great band name.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Cold!  If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd have frozen to death.
~ Mark Twain
- - - - -

The other night I walked home from a film on campus (two films actually, but "Last night I walked home from two films on campus" sounds kind of weird to me).  It was cold.  I realize and own the fact that I have acclimated to moving south and what is cold to me now is not the same as what was COLD to me when I was in Iowa.  It was 32 degrees as I was walking home the other night.  I had a jacket but not a heavy coat.

It was cold.

There isn't a lot more to this story.   This post is more about the photo.  I like the photo.  And then I found a quote that I liked.  And then I wrote this.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Some things are so unexpected no one is prepared for them.
~ Leo Rosten
- - - - -

I like to be surprised. I like to be surprised by movies. I like to be surprised in real life. Not scared. I don't really like to be scared at all. Surprised is different. Surprised is when you are set up for the mundane - the routine. When you think you know what is going to happen next, but then it is different. And it makes you realize life isn't so predictable after all.

Like when my mom said, "There is some edamame in the freezer, too."

That was unexpected for me because I didn't know my mom kept edamame in the house.

It was also unexpected for you because you thought this post might be about people in gorilla costumes.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
~ John Wooden
- - - - -

My brother writes plays. I am pretty sure he will eventually become at least somewhat famous for that. As a result, I will sue him because I am confident all of the best lines in his plays will be things I have said. We will have a huge courtroom drama and then make amends. Then they will make it into a movie of us and we will get rich.

At least that is the plan for now. 

Until then, he is writing plays.

Mom: (to Kirk) What are your plays about -- if I may ask.

Kirk: (silence)

Me:  One of them is called, "Why I Hate Momma."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Unfortunately in this world of ours, each person views things through a certain medium, which prevents his seeing them in the same light as others.
~ Alexander Dumas
- - - - -

I like it when I see things in a different way than other people. I like it when they see things in a different way than I do. When we come up with multiple and diverse and creative solutions to the multiple and diverse and creative challenges we encounter. I appreciate someone who can make connections between otherwise disparate ideas or items. At least I appreciate it when they can explain to me how the connections work.

I don't always appreciate it when people make connections and don't explain them to me. If I can't see how the things are related, it seems random and not helpful and kind of purposeless. At least confusing.

Like when Netflix told me that because I watched "Parks and Rec" that I would also like "The Shining."

Monday, February 22, 2016


What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.
~ Meister Eckhart
- - - - -

It is important to take time to think. We can get so busy with life and work and the demands of others that we forget to sit and reflect. That we forget to plant in the soil of contemplation. That we fail to be intentional and spend a lifetime simply reacting to circumstances around us.

It's like my mom always used to say, "YOU KIDS SHUT UP!!!!  I'M ON THE PHONE!"


What was I talking about?

Sunday, February 21, 2016


A corpse is meat gone bad. 
Well and what's cheese? 
Corpse of milk.
~ James Joyce
- - - - -

Cheese requires patience. Like wine. Or children. Cheese is the children of foods and wine is the children of drink. But I don't think you should give children wine. Well, maybe a little bit won't hurt them. Or more than a little if you're European. Of course if you drink too much wine it doesn't matter where you're from, you're a-peein'.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.
~ Charles M. Schultz
- - - - -

I like stickers. They are sort of graffiti for the non-artist. A way we have of saying, "I value this. I believe this. This is a part of my lived experience that matters to me. I want you to know this thing about me."

Somebody one time - I forget who it was - said that they didn't like bumper stickers because they were one-sided. That the person who posted the bumper sticker got to make a statement but you couldn't argue back. Especially if you were driving down the interstate.

I don't remember who that was. Obviously someone who liked to argue. They should have a bumper sticker that says that.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Man cannot aspire if he looked down; if he rise, he must look up.
~ Samuel Smiles
- - - - -

Up is definitely important. That said, I think it is important to also look down. To look at the experiences that provided you the foundation and the footing so you can move up. The supporters and the motivators and those who came before. Those who inspired you to even take the risk of looking up.

Also you want to look down so you don't step in dog poop. Ultimately we all probably step in poop at some point. But if we are climbing up with poop on our shoes... Well, maybe that just keeps us humble.

But if you climb up with poop on your shoes, you are going to get some of that on the people who follow. Or maybe you won't have any followers at all.

So remember to wipe your feet.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


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
- - - - -

So when I add photos for future blogs, I label them with titles so when I have an idea, I can find a photo that might go along with it. When I was looking for a photo for today's Valentine's Day post, I just scrolled through what I had. This one I clicked on because I had tentatively titled it "Sad."

"Hmmm," I thought. "I wonder what it is that I thought was sad."

This was a photo I took of Leslie driving away from Pipestem in West Virginia. I imagine I was sad because she was headed back to Pittsburgh and I was going back to Clemson.

She lives here in Clemson now, so I'm not sad about the fact that we live in different places. We don't live in different places.

But sometimes you have to be sad to appreciate when you are happy. I get it now, so I hope I'm not sad again. I prefer to be happy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


A man of words and not of deeds,
Is like a garden full of weeds.
~ Benjamin Franklin
- - - - -

There are other ways of saying this...

A man who talks and fails to act
Is like an empty backpack.

A man full of nothing but hot air,
Is as useful as a pillowcase of cat hair.

A man who speaks but fails to do,
Is like a shark with only one shoe.

A man who simply whines and rambles,
Is like a garden full of brambles.

A man with words and without deeds,
Resembles a garden full of weeds.

See? So many ways of saying the same thing. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


In case of dissension, never dare to judge till you've heard the other side.
~ Euripides
- - - - -

I don't remember what this dispute was about. I sure love this photo, though. It may have been about "GoGo, it is NOT time to leave the water park." Or maybe it was, "Why did you take me away from the water park and over to the swings?!" Or "Now it's time for YOU to get in the water at the water park too, GoGO!"

Whatever it was, I am pretty sure it was related to playing at the water park.

Monday, February 15, 2016


You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.
~ Paul Coelho
- - - - -

Once in a while when I am adding photos to the blog, this happens. More than one photo gets posted at a time. Usually I separate them into different posts. For whatever reason, I left this one this way for quite a while.

Well, I still left it this way because here it is. I am not sure why, but they seem to go together to me. Maybe it's because they are old - old barbed wire and an old tomato & steak knife. It was before we specialized our knives so much that they can now only cut tomatoes OR steak. And from a time when ingenuity led people to create things like barbed wire to keep some things out and other things in. 

Mostly I think they go together because they are both really pokey and would hurt if you ran into them while running really fast.  Which is actually one of the reasons I rarely run really fast.  The other is that I am not a fast runner.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.
~ Russian Proverb
- - - - -

That about sums it up.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.
~ Maya Angelou
- - - - -

This is the Valentine I sent to my mom last year.  It is some of my best creative work. 

I like to think that she smiled when she got the postcard in the mail. I like to think that the postal carriers along the way smiled too. 

I also like to think that I'm going to get a big bunch of money soon.

Thinking is fun. 

Friday, February 12, 2016


The category I come closest to is "lumberjack hipster."
~ Kyle Kinane

- - - - -

Kirk:  Did you see Into the Woods?

Me:  Nope.  Haven't seen it yet.  LL wants to know if Into the Woods is a musical.

Kirk:  It is.  A lot of music.

Me:  But is there singing?

Kirk: So much singing.

Me:  By people in the film?  Or the audience?

Kirk:  Film.  The audience I was with clearly didn't know the show.

Me:  Is it about lumberjacks or what?

Kirk:  Seriously?  It's a musical about Paul Bunyan.

Me:  Okay.  Glad I axed.

Kirk:  Meryl Streep plays Bunyan.

Me:  Excellent.  Did she get the axe-ent right?

Kirk:  Yes.  She does.

Me:   I heard that "Chop Chop while you Chop" is a rip off of "Whistle While You Work."

Kirk:  That's a vicious rumor.  But I want you to write that song.

Me:  I also heard her version of "I got you Babe" is amazing.

Kirk: "I got Blue Babe."

Me:  Better.

Kirk:  I was proud of that.

Me:  Will get going on songs.  You write the script.  We need someone who can write music.

Kirk:  Do you know Toni Tennile or anyone from Creed?  They'd be my first choices.

Me:  I do.  Will call them.

Kirk:  YES!  Happy New Year to me!

Me:  And also to you.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


The sun is new each day.
~ Heraclitus
- - - - -

Where I live right now I don't really get to see the sunrise. Or the sunset. There are too many buildings and trees around. 

I like to sit outside and write as the sun is coming up.  Well, when I have the chance I like to do that.

I don't like to do that if it's 19 degrees out. I would probably just write things like, "It's so cold" or "Brrr!" or "I can't feel my fingers any smsfsd"

That last one is because my fingers would be numb and I wouldn't be typing very well.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


I restore myself when I'm alone.
~ Marilyn Monroe
- - - - -

If you find a place that is quiet, stay there. There aren't as many of those places as you might expect. Some places are loud. Very loud. Most places are disrupted - by people, noise, technology, etc. I expect that quiet is going to be a resource that people will figure out ways to sell. Anything rare is valuable it seems.

So if you find a place that is quiet, stay there. Enjoy it. It can be scary to be alone with yourself or your thoughts or your dreams or your fears. Do it anyway. Something good - an answer, an idea - is going to come of it.

And then make sure you don't tell anyone about your quiet place or it will not be quiet any more. Other people will encroach on it. They'll disrupt it. They'll disturb you.

Well, if it's a library do tell them about that. People should go to libraries. Plus they pay people there to tell everyone to be quiet. I'm pretty sure Leslie said she got an A in "Hush 101" in library school.  Except I think she called it "shut the heck up" (or some variation on that phrase).

Monday, February 8, 2016


A pig resembles a saint in that he is more honored after death than in his lifetime.
~ Irma S. Rombauer
- - - - -

When I was a kid, my grandparents rented out a barn and some property on their farm to a pig farmer. He kept the pigs there. I remember one summer Erik and I (and maybe some other cousins) decided we would be pig herders. We chased the pigs into the barn and then we chased the pigs out of the barn. We got in trouble for that. Apparently, that isn't how you pig farm.

I liked the pigs. They weren't too big and they didn't seem mean. You could pet them. They didn't bite - though after being chased around, you'd kind of have to forgive them if they did.

Anyway, seeing this LEGO character reminded me of that. I don't know who might like to dress up as a pig, but someone might. Maybe the person who made this LEGO person.

I suppose some people dress up as pigs just like some pigs dress up as people. 

You know who you are.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


 Solitude is where one discovers one is not alone.
~ Marty Rubin
- - - - -

Today is Leslie's birthday. I think birthdays are a time of reflection. Thinking about what the last year has been like. Thinking about what all of the previous years have been like. Thinking about what the next year might be like.

We have a few things planned. Not every moment of the day. Some plans but not a day full of plans. She doesn't like that. Or maybe it's me who doesn't like that. 

She's a little difficult to plan a birthday for. She doesn't like surprises. She doesn't like dessert, so I didn't get her a birthday cake. She doesn't like crowds, so I didn't throw her a party. 

I did get her lamb chops for dinner, but she said she would rather cook them than me cook them for her.

Basically, we're celebrating by not doing anything too out of the ordinary and her cooking me dinner. Hopefully she won't spend too much time reflecting on that today.

Happy birthday, Leslie!

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.
~ Welsh Proverb
- - - - - 

I think Aurora and Leslie are a lot alike.  They both like to be going all the time - walking, climbing, running around and yelling.  Their hairstyles can look alike sometimes and they both always wear red ribbons in their hair. They both like dogs. They both eat pretzels. They both know how to point at things. They both are patient with me. Sometimes. They both like to dance and sing. They both like to pretend they are Disney princesses.  They both...  Wait.  What was I talking about?

Friday, February 5, 2016


Beauty is produced by the pleasing appearance and good taste of the whole, and by the dimensions of all the parts being duly proportioned to each other.
~ Vitruvius
- - - - -

As Leslie said when she saw Aurora with her face smooshed up against the door, "She looks like that Twilight Zone episode with Elly Mae Clampett." They say that beauty is only skin deep, but I wouldn't want to dig deeper than the skin to find out if that is true. 

I think there are multiples ways of seeing beauty or being beautiful. Obviously, that the show that teaches us that more than any other is the Twilight Zone. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016


The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
~ Mark Twain

- - - - -

Wow.  That is a really good quote.  It's true.  We can't write about events or people or ourselves objectively. It is a myth and an exercise in futility to even try. The words we choose convey our opinions and don't paint the whole picture. Maybe don't even paint some of the picture. Or maybe it's not painting - maybe it's drawing or photographing or singing or dancing. I don't know. I do know that the words we choose matter.

Even when we aren't intentionally conveying images or biases, words carry meaning for others. You might choose what you think is the best descriptor of an event, but because of additional meaning (biases, lived experiences) others will project meaning (intended or not) onto the language you chose.

For example choosing the word "smart" over the word "brilliant." They are similar, but convey different things.  Or maybe "artsy" vs. "creative." Or "quiet" as opposed to "reserved." Another example might be "marinate or "urinate." Again, similar, but their meanings are very different.


For the record, I think this was just water on a table not marinade or urine. I didn't check that closely, though.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I like good strong words that mean something.
~ Louisa May Alcott
- - - - -

I think it is interesting (or scary is probably a better word) how we - as a culture - love some things and loathe others. Like guns. I thought of something the other day. I realized that when we say "trigger warnings" we are talking about words not about guns. That doesn't seem right to me.

I'm not anti-gun. And I'm certainly not anti-language. But in our society right now it's almost like you are expected to live at the extremes. You are pushed to live at the extremes. Hate guns. Hate words. Hate people. Hate ideas. Hate education. Hate something.

I believe (maybe because if I don't believe I get too sad) that most of us don't live at the extremes. We aren't primarily fueled by hate. We live in the middlespaces. We live in the gray areas. We live in search of connection and calm rather than in pursuit of confrontation and fear. I really hope so, at least.

That said, I'm no better than some. I live at the edges around some issues. Maybe I should try not to. My mom always said, "Hate is a strong word," and "You shouldn't say 'I hate...' something."

The thing is, I really do hate clowns. And dolls. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade.
~ John Christian Bovee
- - - - -

I don't think I have any false friends. Honestly, if they were false friends, then they weren't really friends at all, right? I hope that Leslie doesn't take this post the wrong way since it includes shadows of us.  And I hope Jared doesn't take it the wrong way since it includes a note we got from him:

Dear Michelle and Leslie,

Thank you so much for the wine sippy cup and the bacon gumballs.  I won't, however, thank you for the lobster perfume.  As you can smell, it's horrible.  Maybe lobsters find it to be an aphrodisiac, but I find that highly unlikely.  If it weren't for the perfume, my birthday would have been perfect.


I don't think of either Leslie or Jared as false friends. I think of them as confused friends sometimes, but that's understandable. Have you ever spent any significant amount of time around me? I'm the kind of person who would send someone lobster perfume.

Also Happy Groundhog's Day.

Monday, February 1, 2016


When arguing with a chicken, a grain of corn is always wrong.
~ Proverb
- - - - -

So, when chickens plan a subversive takeover of their home, is it a coop coup? And, if they time it, to see how efficiently they can execute the coup, do they use a coop coup clock? And why are they "chicken coops" and not birdhouses? And, if I am attacked by chickens tonight in my sleep, know that they are on to us.