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Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Everything we do impacts someone else's life.
~ Nicolas Cage
- - - - -

I got this pillow cover from China in the mail Monday. I got another Nicolas Cage-themed pillow cover in the mail yesterday. I don't know who is sending these to me. 

I am so lucky to have so many people in my life who might do this. There have been allegations made by several people accusing others. I have had at least four or five of them write some version of, "It's not me, but I wish I'd thought of it."

As I said to Rachel when that was her response, "I have the best friends in the world or - if these are from my enemies - I have the gentlest enemies in the world."

And, really, who can hope for more than that?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them to summer camp.
~ Raymond Duncan
- - - - -

I would love to have one of these. It would be fun to travel around the country in it, but also dangerous. I don't think they have brakes. Or seatbelts. Or steering wheels. I think it would be smart to travel in a car or truck PULLING the trailer and just use the trailer for resting at night.

Yes. Yes, that's what I think would be fun to do.

Also, I would not name it "Happy Camper" because I'm not the boss of it's emotions. And also my mom says inanimate objects don't have emotions. Actually, she says you can't love inanimate objects, but tell that to people about money.

Monday, August 29, 2016


The doors of wisdom are never shut.
~ Benjamin Franklin
- - - - - -

I'm thinking of making a movie about doors called "The Doors." It's about Jim Morrison and The Doors. And  it's a remake of a previous film. Except this time it's going to be a musical.


Apparently, I thought this post was so clever I posted it two days in a row. Some people will like both of these. People are strange.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


The doors of wisdom are never shut.
~ Benjamin Franklin
- - - - - -

I'm thinking of making a movie about doors called "The Doors." It's about Jim Morrison and The Doors. And  it's a remake of a previous film. Except this time it's going to be a musical.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
- - - - -

So this is the skateboard I had as a kid. My dad used his soldering iron to carve my name into it. It's because Erik and I had the same skateboards. He did the same to Erik's only he put "Erik" instead of "Chelle" so we could tell them apart.

Then I broke my leg while riding the skateboard. I may have hit a crack in the sidewalk. I might have been trying to do a wheelie on it. It could have been anything. My parents used to call me "Grace" when I was growing up. They did that ironically.

Anyway, we got our skateboards taken away after that. Both of us. Erik didn't think that was fair.

He fell out of a tree and broke his arm. They didn't take away all of our trees after that.

I guess he was probably right.

Also, my parents used to say, "Life isn't fair." I guess this is one example of a way they tried to teach us that. Well done, parents. Well done.

(Much later...)
Um. So this posted and I re-read it. I didn't break my leg. I broke my arm. I guess that compromises my integrity. Oh well.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Research is formalized curiosity.  It is poking and prodding with a purpose.
~ Zora Neale Hurston
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One time I saw that someone posted that research shows "girls with nagging moms grow up to be more successful."  I had two initial thoughts.

First, I suspect that nagging moms may have been the ones conducting the research. Second, the link for this scholarship went to Seventeen magazine.  I don't believe that is a peer-reviewed / scholarly journal.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Things are never quite as scary when you've got a best friend.
~ Sam Watterson
- - - - -

So, I originally had the draft of this blog entitled "Scary" because Leslie looks like a mad scientist - er - mad BOTANIST in this photo. 

However, it was scary when we had to stop in the middle of North Carolina so she could get her gall bladder out. It was slightly less scary since I had already had mine out, but I still didn't enjoy that adventure nearly as much as some of our other adventures (like the one depicted above when we went to the Botanical Gardens in Clemson).

One thing that was very strange about it all though was the sound of the alarm on the little IV stands. If they got low on whatever was in the IV or if the line got twisted they sounded a three tone alarm. It was the exact same as the first three notes of "Black Coffee in Bed" by Squeeze.

Is it more strange that that's what it sounded like or that I recognized the notes as being the same?


I guess we'll never know.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Adventure is worthwhile.
~ Aesop
- - - - -

The other day Leslie gave me a "luncheon entertainment events" schedule her mom had gotten somewhere. It is fabulous, amazing, and perfect. (I sound like my brother in that last sentence.)

The lineup includes an Italian tenor, a magician, a bell ringer, a Sinatra impersonator, a "nominated accordionist", and an "all American salute of patriotism song revue".

This is amazing and yet it also prompts a number of questions - the main one, in my mind, is for what was the accordionist nominated?

But wait! There's more!

In addition there are some day travel trips. One to see Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline imitators. Apparently celebrity singer impersonations are a hot ticked for the "I'll have my dinner at 4 p.m." group. 

But I think my favorite part is a visit to a museum. In order to go you "Must be able to climb 2 flights of stairs." This is written in all caps on the flier (as are the details about the Johnny and Patsy show). I refrained from using all caps because I'm not trying to writeyell at you.

But that's not my favorite part. My favorite part is this line: "Transportation probably provided."

I can't wait to be an oldster so I get opportunities (and fliers) like this all the time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
~ Arthur Ashe
- - - - -

It's the beginning of a new semester. Classes begin tomorrow. Learning has already begun.

For instance, I'm learning that I should have finished my syllabus for tomorrow's class before now.

Monday, August 15, 2016


Money won't create success. The freedom to make it will.
~ Nelson Mandela
- - - - -

If you had an old, antique, super-cool cash register, would you have more money or less money? You might think you would have more money because you would enjoy ringing up sales and opening the drawer and putting money in it. Or you might think the answer is that you would have less money because you would open the drawer and take money out of it. Or you might think you'd have the same amount of money because you wouldn't keep your money in a cash register because that's the first place the burglars would look for your money.

The correct answer is: you would have less money because those old cash registers cost a lot.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative.
~ David Ogilvy
- - - - -

I have an idea for a new economic system. It is driven exclusively by environmentalism and engaging with the outdoors. It is built on some of the same tenets of capitalism. For example: 

Private Property - the new system's definition of private is focused on groups. Private = belonging to a one person or one group of people. For this system, all natural areas belong ONLY to people who respect nature and the outdoors.

Self Interest - the new system focuses on the benefits to the self being connected to the larger world. So taking care of the world = taking care of the self.

Competition - competition is measured not in dollars or property ownership (certainly not in terms of STUFF ownership), but a competition to be the best steward of natural resources.

Market-Based - this is actually going to be re-named "Farmer's Market Based" 

Economic Freedom - freedom from economic constraints

Consumer Sovereignty - consumers will use their resources to drive the business sector to produce earth-friendly products and outdoor supplies - boots, kayaks, tents, biodegradable everything, etc.

Laissez Faire, Laissez Aller, Laissez Passer - Let do, let go, let pass. Sounds good to me.

Because of the focus on getting back to and respecting nature, I have decided to name my new system "campitalism." 

Friday, August 12, 2016


If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
~ Abraham Maslow
- - - - -

When I was a kid I used to help my dad build stuff. Actually, I remember mostly having two jobs: one was pulling nails out of old pieces of wood so the wood could be used for something else, the other was sanding things. I was good at both of those things. 

Somewhere in the world there is a picture of my brother Erik and I working with Dad while he was refinishing our basement. We each had on little white hardhats. We were probably six and four or seven and five or something. Maybe five and three.

My point is we were two years apart in age.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.
~ Henry Rollins
- - - - -
I love it when little kids wear boots. I wondered once why grownups can't do that. Then young women started doing that (or I moved somewhere where they do that, or I noticed they started doing that). Then I wondered why guys can't do that. 

Then I saw this.

I wonder about fewer things now than I used to.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Visitors are insatiable devourers of time, and fit only for those who, if they did not visit, would do nothing.
~ William Cowper
- - - - -

This is a lightning rod. I think it's on top of Carl Sandburg's house.

That reminds me of my friend Barb. She said when she was a kid she and her siblings? cousins? friends? I forget. Anyway, she and some other kids used to say, "This one time at Fats Domino's house..." or "Let's go over to Fats Domino's house..."


I love kids.

And I love my friend Barb.

And - truth be told - I'm pretty fond of Fats Domino, too. Though I never got to visit his house. Ain't that a shame?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


The banjo is truly an American instrument and it captures something about our past.
~ Steve Martin
- - - - -

I really wanted my dad's banjo. I have it now. I am going to teach myself to play it.

That said, I think I freaked Leslie out when I picked it up and immediately played the first nine notes of "Dueling Banjos."

I like doing that kind of thing to people.

Monday, August 8, 2016


Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.
~ Steve Jobs
- - - - -

I call this photo, "E.T. sitting in Smurf bowl sitting on Smurf plate."

Any questions?

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Trash has given us an appetite for art.
~ Pauline Kael
- - - - -

So my vision for my blog is this: I have a few friends who read it now. Then about 60 or 70 years from now when I die my work gets "discovered." Then people think I'm all philosophical and insightful and creative. They read things into my work that I never intended - some good, some bad. But I never have to explain it and it can become what all creative work (in my opinion) should be - meaningful in the eye of the beholder.

And then they start making refrigerator magnets and repurposed beer can frames with quotes from me in them. And someone who matters to me who isn't dead yet gets to make a billion dollars off of all that stuff as well as the "tell-all" book about how I was such a genius and unbearable to be around.

Someone could write that book now, but then I'd have to make up stuff about them and then they'd have to make up more stuff about me and, well... I have some other stuff I was intending to do instead.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


When a nation goes down, or a society perishes one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.
~ Carl Sandburg
- - - - -

We now plunge into the full campaign season (which started about three years ago). My grandfather never voted. It is said that he chose not to vote so he could complain about whoever was elected and say, "Well, I didn't vote for him" (and I'm sure it was pretty much always a "him" he would have been referencing).

We have a lot of people with access to a lot of information. We also have a lot of it is misinformation. What we don't have is a lot of people thinking.

Just like in research, whenever possible, go to the original source. Don't trust the media to tell you what is happening. Don't trust Facebook. Don't trust your friends' "retweets". Do your fact-checking.

And if you don't like what you discover to be true, go out and change the world yourself.

And if you do like what you discover to be true, go out and change the world for yourself.

Get my point? Go change the world. 

Not that I'm the boss of you. Though I do make a pretty good boss. Not in a "bossy" way. In a leadership way.

Friday, August 5, 2016


Together we can face any challenges as deep as the ocean or as high as the sky.
~ Sonia Gandhi
- - - - -
Leslie got me a kayak for my birthday. I think she did it so she could also get herself a kayak for my birthday. I like that. I like that she got them for us so we can do something together. I also like that she did shopping for herself when she shopped for me. 

Do I like it because she rarely buys things for herself? Nope, though that is true.

Is it because she really wanted to invest in ways for us to enjoy the outdoors together? Nope, though that is also true.

Is it because I do that every time I buy stuff for someone else - get something I would also like? Yep. That's it. That way if they say, "I don't want that," then I can have it. Unfortunately, I'm very good at choosing gifts for people so they don't often say, "I don't want that."

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
~ John Kenneth Galbraith
- - - - -

So the conventions are over. Now we enter into the debate season. Well, the debate season after the other debate season. The conventions were about fear and hope. The debates will be about the same topics. 

I just have to remind myself that no matter how angry or disheartened I get, that this is how our system works. We don't always get the options we want - but sometimes we do. And sometimes we don't get what we thought we wanted, but we realize later what we got was what we needed - though sometimes we don't because we didn't. And no matter what leaders are people and they are fallible and they make mistakes - even if they don't always acknowledge those mistakes in the ways that we want.

And we have to be the best of America, not the lowest common denominator. And this is still a pretty good place to live. And we still have the chance and responsibility to vote. And we get to share our opinions (most of the time). And with freedom comes responsibility and our freedoms aren't absolute. 

We have to pay attention. We have to comment. We have to make sure our voices are heard in order to create transformative change. And by "we" I mean my brother Kirk and I.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Art must take reality by surprise.
~ Fran├žoise Sagan
- - - - -

This is Hugo - man of a thousand faces. He is actually a puppet. He came with a wig and mustaches and glasses and eyebrows and a bunch of stuff. And a weird-smelling glue stick. I don't think you could actually make a THOUSAND faces with him, but you could make quite a few.

Erik didn't like Hugo that much. I used to hide Hugo in Erik's room or I'd set him in the bathroom when I knew Erik was going to go in there and turn on the light. 

Come to think of it, Erik was a pretty jumpy kid. I wonder why.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.
~ Arthur Helps
- - - - -

So there are a lot of sayings out there. More than you can shake a stick at, you might say. I have found, however, that we often only refer to the first part of a saying and forget the rest of it. So I have taken some time to complete a few of these for you. You are very welcome.

Birds of a feather flock together
And birds of different feathers do not attend the same get-togethers

Don't count your chickens before they hatch
And don't count your hatchets in front of your chickens

Don't put the cart before the horse
And don't put the horse at the very beginning of the parade

The bee's knees
And the mosquito's ankles

You can't teach an old dog new tricks
And you can't teach a cat any tricks

Monday, August 1, 2016


History is not a burden on the memory, but an illumination of the soul.
~ Lord Acton
- - - - -

We are in the middle of history right now. I hope people are paying attention. I hope a few decades from now when people's grandchildren ask, "What were you doing the night the first woman got nominated by a major party for president of the United States?" that the answer those grandchildren get isn't, "I was out playing Pokemon Go."