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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

A lot of people are mad at 2016. They are saying "good riddance" and other more curseword-laden things about this past year. I'm not the boss of them or how they feel about the year. I know a lot of people (famous and family) died. Relationships struggled, pets died, children faced challenges, and sad/infuriating things happened. Political-personal-public-private experiences were intense for many of us.

And good things happened. It's easy to focus on the negative. It's fun and therapeutic in the very short term. For me, it isn't good in the longer term.

I sometimes remember to pause and appreciate quiet things - sunrises, leaves, when the temperature is perfect, the smell of pine trees. I try to pay attention to people. I have an amazing group of friends and family. I have the perfect job for me.

This photo reminds me that I have a good life. I get to spend most of my days with the kindest, smartest, funniest person I know. If there were commercials that included "The Most Interesting Woman in the World" I think it would be her. I don't know if she'd like that or not because she's pretty humble and can be shy and - more importantly - I can't remember if she likes that kind of beer or not.



Friday, December 30, 2016

Windows

I'm standing near the window where the light is strong.
~ Marianne Faithful
- - - - - 

I think a good movie would be if someone bought some salvaged windows and when they got them to their house and had them installed, they found out that they could only see the past when they looked out the windows. And if they were outside looking in, they would see just regular current day stuff, but not for long because they would get arrested for being peeping Toms.

Did you ever notice that it's peeping Tom and not peeping Tammy? Or peeping Takira. Or peeping Taryn? I think it's because men are more visual than women. And more likely to be criminals.

Anyway, that windows movie would be pretty good.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Money

Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.
~ Anne Herbert
- - - - -

The photo above was taken on Aurora's first birthday. 

These photos were taken a few days ago shortly before Aurora's third birthday.



Things we can say Aurora has learned in the past two years...

1. $50 is more than $20.
2. You shouldn't put money in your mouth.
3. Hold on to your money or people will try to take it away.
4. Money is just an illusion - whether authentic currency or "play money." Isn't all really just "play money?"

She has also learned some remedial counterfeiting skills.

And, for the record, she loves libraries. I think it's in her genes. Oh! As opposed to money which is in her jeans.

(Not really. I don't think she wears jeans all that often. But my point is - wasn't that clever?!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sending

The letters I get that say, 'I'm getting the messages you're sending me through the television screen' are not great. But those are few and far between, thank God. I get wonderful letters. And people send me artwork.
~ Stephen Colbert
- - - - -

So today is the day after Kirk's birthday. It is the day that I begin shopping for things to send for his next birthday. I like to find fun things for him. He is one of the most appreciative people you will meet. 

One time I asked him why he is so ebullient. Actually, I just looked up the word "ebullient." That isn't what I meant. It is mostly true of Kirk, but I really meant "aggrandizing." He takes things to extremes. Many times he will share something with me along with the statement, "This is either the greatest thing in the history of all time or the absolute worst thing ever."

I finally asked him about it and why everything is in extremes like that. He said, "Not everything is. Just the things I get excited about and to share with you."

I thought that was a great response. And I think he's a pretty great brother. And I know he will appreciate whatever I send. If it makes no sense, he will think it is some sort of inside joke and will make up an inside joke to go with it. Because he is either the most creative person in all of history or so uncreative that he can't even create.

(pause)

He does that thing better than I do.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Funny

With comedy I can search for the profound.
~ Dario Fo
- - - - -

So Kirk and I are finally starting to work on a book together. We have talked about it for a long time. Schedules didn't work quite right. Motivations were in different places. Finally we are at a place where we are at least starting. 

It's going to be a good book. A funny book. A book that will change your life for the better and forever. When it comes out, I highly encourage you to buy multiple copies of it and share it with everyone you know.

You might wonder why we are writing it. Mainly for the money. Also - I mean - even more mainly for the transformational truth part. 

That said, we are in fact hoping to raise the comedian household income of our family.

(pause)

Trust me, the book is way funnier than that.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Oysters

I do not weep at the world. 
I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
~ Zora Neale Hurston
- - - - -

I really like Zora Neale Hurston. Maybe you already know that. To me this quote is about making your own way. It is about doing work. It is about moving forward not standing still and certainly not about falling back.

I also really like Leslie. Leslie really likes oysters. It is work to get oysters. It is work to shuck oysters. 

In short, I guess I like people who aren't afraid of a little hard work.

I also like people who aren't afraid of eating oysters because they are really good.

Now, get back to work.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Santa


Our family was too strange and weird for even Santa Claus 
to come visit... Santa - who was jolly, but let's face it, 
he was also very judgmental.
~ Julia Sweeny
- - - - -

I never thought about it until I read that quote, but being Santa Claus must be a lot like being a conduct officer. You decide who is naughty and nice in BOTH cases. 

Do I miss being a conduct officer? No. Do I miss breaking into people's homes and leaving them little surprises? Yes. I miss it every single day.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Visiting

He sees you when you're sleeping.
~ John Frederick Coots & Haven Gillespie

- - - - -

He sees you. He knows you. He makes judgments about you and writes those down. He can get into your house.

Now go to sleep.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Santa

Dear Santa, before I submit my life to your scrutiny, I demand to know who made YOU the master of my fate?! Who are YOU to question my behavior, HUH??? What gives you the right?!
~ Bill Watterson
- - - - -

I think it's okay that Santa judges us. We judge him. We judge each other. Why should he be any different? Don't we every day judge people and decide to withhold - if not toys - we withhold our attention or our time or our love. Which is worse - withholding toys or love?

(pause)

You're right - it depends on the toys.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Monkeys

You never monkey with the truth.
~ Ben Bradlee
- - - - -

And you never truth with a monkey. They don't know what you're talking about anyway.

Or do they..?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Snow

All Heaven and Earth
Flowered white obliterate...
Snow...unceasing snow.
~ Hashin
- - - - -

Winter here is brief.
Not bitter and not cruel.
Still, they close the schools.

Snow today. Right now.
But it will melt tomorrow.
South Carolina.

I walked in the snow.
One man at the gas station.
No one else was out.

I like the snow here.
Doesn't outstay it's welcome,
Just comes and visits.

The snow is perfect.
White. Clean. Pure. Calm. Listening.
Until the dog comes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Autumn

Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heavens.
~ Rabindranath Tagore
- - - - -

I think listening is very, very important. I don't think most people are good at it. I think we have gotten worse at it as we have more and more technology. I hate it when people say that they are "multitasking." They really are just doing a lousy job at multiple things at once. In my opinion listening is something we should try very hard not to do a lousy job at.

That said...

I mess up sometimes, too. Sometimes I am not paying attention. Sometimes I just can't hear very well.

Like the other night when Leslie and I were watching a show.

Leslie: What did they say?

Me: "Hillbilly Scanlon."

Leslie: I thought they said, "Reuben Lacana."

Me: Could be. I was chewing popcorn and didn't really hear what they said.

The moral of the story is... I think a show with a character called, "Hillbilly Scanlon" could be really interesting.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Plantings

Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul.
~ Thomas Merton
- - - - -

Things you might hear if you hang around my mom's house long enough at the holidays:

"Jared, you're a triple threat -- Look at those deviled eggs!"

Person: She said my spirit animal was a bird of paradise.
Another person: Bird of paradise is a flower.
Person: It is?

"Vegetarians can't drink pop. When you see 'Red 40' on a label it's because there is meat juice in soda."

"I don't think you have anything to be embarrassed about, Grandma."

Person: What did you do for fun back then, Grandma?
Another Person: She read the Bible.

Grandchild: Grandma, have you ever seen a drug?
Me, Kirk, & Erik: (simultaneously) SHE'S A NURSE!!!

"Okay, girls. I think that's enough tinsel in the plants."



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Produce


We adore chaos because we love to produce order.
~ M. C. Escher
- - - - -

proDUCE and PROduce. They sound similar. They are spelled in VERY similar ways. One is a verb. one is a noun. I think it always involves work to proDUCE PROduce. I think that maybe you can proDUCE things without any work at all. Actually, a lack of work or effort does indeed proDUCE results, right?

Also - mmmm. Jellies.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Good

We all have the duty to do good.
~ Pope Francis
- - - - -

I like Pope Francis. I think he is calling people out and making us face our own not-so-goodness and our behaviors that are inconsistent with truly loving and caring about each other. And I agree that we all have a duty to do good.

That said, we are also all measured by different standards of "good." For instance, if I made a drawing or cooked a meal for someone, they might say, "Hey, this is pretty good." But if Pope Francis made a drawing or cooked a meal for someone, I bet they would talk rave about it and talk about for a really long time.

Is that because he's the Pope and I'm not? No. He's just probably better at cooking and drawing than I am.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Graduation

The doer alone learneth.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
- - - - -

David graduates today. He has studied very hard while working full time and being a dad and husband. Now he is done with this degree. He can relax and celebrate.

Then he needs to get back to work. Well, more go-to work and less homework. Well, a different kind of home work because he still needs to do work at home like cleaning and giving Aurora a bath and helping her learn to read so she can go to college one day, too.

I guess the work never ends. The doing never ends. Hopefully the learning never ends.

In conclusion, good job being smart and not simply a smart aleck, David.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cocoa


Animal crackers and cocoa to drink ---
That is the finest of suppers, I think ---                                     
When I'm grown up and can have what I please ---
I think I shall always insist upon these.
~ Christopher Morley
- - - - -

If Christopher Morley invited me to his house for dinner, I might go. Probably not in the summer. Probably not often. Once in a while, though. That might be okay.

Also, I would encourage him not to have this particular type of cocoa. Too many marshmallows. "Too many marshmallows?! Is that even POSSIBLE?!!" you ask.

Yep. It is.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Butterflies

The butterfly counts not months but moments and has enough time.
~ Rabindranath Tagore
- - - - -

Be present. Be in this moment. Pay attention. Listen intentionally. See things, don't simply look at them. Work toward understanding. Crawl first - that is where we start. Build a home where you are safe and can be transformed. Leave that home. Learn to fly. Enjoy nature's nectar. Lay eggs. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Handle


Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
- - - - -

I know it is said that you aren't given more than you can handle, but tell that to the guy who kept his handle collection in the attic over his garage who was crushed when the handles fell trough his garage and crushed him to death. What about that?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Prophecies


There will be a great loss of learning before the moon's full cycle is completed. Fire and floods will be fomented by ignorant rulers; much time will go by before it is rectified.
~ Nostradamus
- - - - - -

Whoa. So I read this and thought, "Is Nostradamus talking about the world TODAY?"

And then I thought, "Maybe this is true for lots of different times in history."

And then I thought, "Maybe it doesn't matter if the prophecies are about now. In order for them to be prophecies they have to come true otherwise they are just wrong guesses."

Then I thought, "Maybe I have some prophecies!"

Here are a few I came up with:

- Pay attention to the brain of the brilliant. That is the brain that is both unsettled and also alluring.
- Look to the skies for trouble. When work on earth is done then the trouble above is gone.
- If man loves the sea then the sea will rise up and return that love.
- Beware of the man who lives by fire because he is the man who starts the fire.
- A mystery lies in art which only history can solve.



(Note: These aren't really prophecies. I just looked at the titles of Ron Howard films and rewrote them so they sounded prophetic A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Splash, Backdraft, The DaVinci Code)





Sunday, December 11, 2016

Launderette

Irony is wasted on the stupid.
~ Oscar Wilde
- - - - -

Me: Yeah, I'm doing my laundry tonight.

Leslie: Ironing?

Me: I don't know that it's ironic, but --

Leslie: I SAID "IRONING?"

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Calls


Tomorrow you might get a phone call about something wonderful and you might get a phone call about something terrible.
~ Regina Spektor
- - - - -

So last night my mom called. She mentioned that she hadn't seen new posts on my blog in a while. I apologized and told her I had fallen behind because I'd been busy, but my hope was to post some things this weekend.

Mom also wanted to find out about holiday plans. She said that one of Erik's high school friends might be at the house for Christmas this year if he didn't got see his family.

I asked, "Isn't that the kid Erik kicked in the testicles in high school?"

Mom was silent for a long time. She finally said, "Well... I don't know. I guess I'll have to ask your brother."

I replied, "Or maybe the kid kicked Erik in the testicles."

Mom said, "That could be, though I think I would have remembered that happening."

The moral of the story is that even when someone gets kicked in the testicles, they can still be welcome in your home eventually for a nice meal and get together. It's a lot like Aesop's fable of the Fox and the Testicles. I mean grapes. The Grapes and the Testicles.

Also, I bet it's a while before Mom calls me again. 

Also, I wonder if she's glad I'm back to posting my blog.