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Thursday, May 19, 2022


An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
~ James McNeill Whistler
- - - - -

Just so you know, no one has paid me for this work of art.


Wednesday, May 18, 2022


If Music is a place, then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a Temple.
~ Vera Nazarin
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Polka is my Grandma and Grandpa's House, Opera is the Opera House, and Country is... Country is... 


I'll have to get back to you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the one who gets burned.
~ Buddha
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Maybe. But if you make me angry and I'm wearing my "hot coal proof" mittens, watch out.

Monday, May 16, 2022


The ear is the avenue to the heart.
~ Voltaire
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Lily is pretty good at listening sometimes. Sometimes not. 


I imagine that she would say the same thing about me.


Sunday, May 15, 2022


The corporation, like the psychopathic personality it resembles, is programmed to exploit others for profit.
~ Joel Bakan
- - - - -

One day I was watching the show Severance. If you want to know what it is about I suggest you watch it. Basically, it is about bad work conditions. I think there's more to it than that, which is why I recommend that you watch it for yourself.

Anyway, I watched an episode over lunch one day when I was working from home. Then I got on a Zoom meeting with my colleagues. I haven't gone through the severance process like on TV, and don't think it is a good idea.

Some days, though... well, you know what I mean. Unless you've gone through the severance process. Then you do not at all.

Saturday, May 14, 2022


Seize the day, take hold of it, and make it whatever you want.
~ Jessica Sorenson
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I like this idea. But maybe, just maybe, if you want a sandwich, just make a sandwich. Don't make the whole day a sandwich or that might be a wasted day.

Friday, May 13, 2022


To pay attention. This is our endless and proper work.
~ Mary Oliver
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There are quiet moments of beauty in every single day. I believe that. If you slow down and pay attention, you will find surprises and gifts and peace. Like if you find a wallet full of a lot of money and no identification. It's all about paying attention in those quiet moments. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022


We shall go wild with fireworks... and they will plunge into the sky and shatter the darkness.
~ Natuki Takaya

- - - - -

Dear Paul,

You might not be so poor if you didn't sell your fireworks at a loss.

Love, Michelle.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.
~ Marcus Aurelius
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The clothes become dyed with the color of the tomatoes you roll around in.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.
~ Malcolm Gladwell
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My decision to label this doll of Aurora's as Malcolm Gladwell is truly successful.

Monday, May 9, 2022


The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.
~ T. S. Eliot
- - - - -

Once upon a time there was an original Hawaii-Five-0 show. They used to say, "Book 'em, Dano" on that show. What if instead of arresting people we "booked them" and gave them books? 


That might not work if they were being arrested for stealing books from the library. Give me a little time to think this through.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Saturday, May 7, 2022


Tired, tired with nothing, tired with everything, tired with the world's weight he had never chosen to bear.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
- - - - -
 Now I understand where the phrase "dog tired" comes from. I used to think it came from sled dogs since they are the tires of a sled. Like, "Hi, Jake. I see your sled is dog-tired for the big trip."

Thursday, May 5, 2022


Labels can only confine.
~ Colin Wright
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Plus labels can be wrong. Like the label on this photo. Maybe all labels are wrong because they are static and we are dynamic.  Well, I am dynamic. I can't speak for the rest of you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022


God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.
~ Jacques Deval
- - - - -
Mr. Bird loved his little red house when he bought it, but times change. He's really outgrown the place. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022


Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.
~ Ann B. Davis
- - - - -

Ann B. Davis played Alice on The Brady Bunch. I think she would have been good to play grandmother in a movie. Alice and my grandmother did not have the same personality, but I think Ann B. Davis could have pulled it off.

Also, This quote reminds me of my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Richardson. Her way of cultivating order in the classrooms was, "SIT DOWN. SHUT UP. KEEP STILL."

It worked. She scared me a little. Sometimes a lot.

Monday, May 2, 2022


Always follow your dreams, even if they lead you down a few dark alleys.
~ Teresa Mummert
- - - - -

I watched the movie Nightmare Alley a few weeks ago. I liked it. I am weirdly drawn to popular culture pieces that involve carnivals during the Great Depression. 


Which is a pretty narrow genre, I realize.


 Remember all men would be tyrants if could.
~ Abigail Adams
- - - - -

I do not understand why this exists. 

I guess it's cause I'm not as smart as the men.

See tomorrow's blog post entitled: "Sarcasm"

Sunday, May 1, 2022


Success is full of promise till one gets it, and then it seems like a nest from which the bird has flown.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
- - - - -

A nest egg is an egg - real or otherwise - put into a nest to encourage a hen to keep laying. I learned that just a bit ago. I know we usually think of it in terms of savings for the future, but it was a real thing (probably still is).

My point is, I would not want to be responsible for putting the nest egg in this nest. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022


 If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.
~ Katherine Hepburn
- - - - -

I like to take photographs of signs. I will pull over when I'm on my way to almost anywhere to take a photo of an interesting, funny, or even just a very old sign. 

So when someone asks me what my sign is, I ignore them because that's weird.

Friday, April 29, 2022


The very shapes of the trees were like frozen screams.
~ Susanna Clarke
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What an amazing quote. What if the trees were actually screaming, though. Then it wouldn't be so beautifully descriptive as much as it would be stating the obvious. Or painfully accurate.

Do you know the song "I Talk to the Trees?" If so, you are either old or a huge fan of musical theater.


I bet you thought that was going to go a different direction, huh?

Thursday, April 28, 2022


I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.
~ Marlene Dietrich
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Wednesday, April 27, 2022


Old houses, I thought, do not belong to people ever, not really. People belong to them.
~ Gladys Taber
- - - - -

I was listening to the radio the other day. It was a storytelling show. The woman said she liked spending time with elders - at church, at events, or even sitting next to her husband.

Okay, she actually said something like "sitting next to my husband's mother at the park," but I thought she was going to stop after she said "sitting next to my husband."

I wish she had done that. I don't know her husband, but if he's a good guy he would think it was funny. And if her husband doesn't have a sense of humor, he deserves to be mocked. I find that if you mock people who don't have sense of humor it helps them get a sense of humor.

Try it. Seriously.

Then let me know how it goes so I can have another blog post.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


You're not as young as you used to be, but you're not as old as you're going to be.
~ Irish proverb
- - - - -

Lots of people collect old things - toys, magazines, stamps, coins. 

What if we collected old people? Treasured them. Kept them in an old factory of some kind. And maybe they could make things for us. Like snacks. Or gardening tools.

And we could have people guard them. Because they are so precious. And because we need you to make those trowels, Leota!!

Monday, April 25, 2022


I like the sky. You can look at it forever and never get tired of it, and when you don't want to look at it anymore, you stop.
~ Haruki Murakama
- - - - - 

You can actually do that with a lot of things. 

Not all things (trust me).

But a lot of things.

Sunday, April 24, 2022


You can't know. You can only believe or not.
~ C. S. Lewis
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I am not a religious history or theology expert, but I know for a fact Jesus didn't eat hotdogs.

Saturday, April 23, 2022


There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.
~ May Renault
- - - - - 

I think I'd put an electrical shock up there. I've had static electric shocks that was kind of bad, too. 

All of the above are much less traumatic than the shock of seeing a toy of a baby in a floatie without wearing some sort of water safety vest. This is not a toy that teaches good parenting skills. 

Of course toys that don't teach good parenting schools are not shocking at all, are they?


Friday, April 22, 2022


I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.
~ Mitch Hedberg
- - - - -

There are new people doing new things all the time. It's hard to know everyone doing everything. Maybe social media has exacerbated this. Late's take car racing, for example. I bet it's hard to keep up with all of the race car drivers these days. 

Because they drive so fast.

Thursday, April 21, 2022


What a nice night for an evening.
~ Steven Wright
- - - - - 

Lily thinks I'm pretty brave because I'm not scared of thunderstorms or vacuum cleaners or big cardboard boxes

I think Lily is pretty brave because she's not scared of wasps. 


I'm glad about that for a couple of reasons now that I think about it.


Wednesday, April 20, 2022


A little bit of beer is divine medicine.
~ Paracelsus
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This fall we did a number of drives. Leslie had a broken ankle. Instead of thinking that the injury was something that happened TO her, we worked together to figure out how maybe it could happen FOR her (and us). I had been wanting to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway for years - pretty much since I moved here. So we did some drives on that, we drove the Cherohala Skyway, we did some other drives in the area where we live. 

I planned our routes and some stops along the way. We took Lily and found places she could go with us. There were a lot of breweries with space that welcomed dogs. So we went to some of those. Lily likes beer (though we don't give it to her, she sometimes has swiped some), but that wasn't the point. The point was for us to get out and enjoy the fall while Leslie healed, to get Lily out and get her socialized and used to going places and used to being around people, and to get me out and get me socialized and used to going places and used to being around people.

We were successful in two of those three goals.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


Did you know that there are over 300 words for love in canine?
~ Gabriel Zevin
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Lily enjoys going to breweries.

And everywhere else.

Monday, April 18, 2022


School is a building which has four walls with tomorrow inside.
~ Lon Watters

- - - - -

This is my nephew Zak. He is one of my favorite people in the world. He is in school now. His parents told him when he brought home some good reports from school, he could get something special.

When Zak showed me what he got, I asked, "Zak, do you know what irony is?"

Sunday, April 17, 2022


It's the Easter Bunny. It's another lie and I don't understand why we had to invent this character.
~ Todd Rundgren
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And what I do not understand is why so many people think the Easter Bunny is a boy. Girls are the ones who carry the eggs. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022


All information belongs to everybody all the time.
~ Maya Angelou
- - - - -

Library cards are like tickets to teach us about sharing or permission slips to steal something for a little bit. 

Happy National Library Day.

Friday, April 15, 2022


The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.
~ Zora Neale Hurston

- - - - - 

Don't put all your eggs in one plastic grocery bag in the garage.
~ Michelle Lea Boettcher

Thursday, April 14, 2022


You might not ever get rich
But let me tell ya it's better than diggin' a ditch
~ Rose Royce
- - - - -

Leslie was headed out of town on a trip. I told her I would vacuum the car for her. As I was headed out she said, "Did you want the Windex?"

I guess she wanted me to do more than just vacuum the car.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


The usefulness of a cup is its emptiness.
~ Bruce Lee
- - - - -

Some people ask if the cup is half empty or half full. I look at that cup and am annoyed with those people. Why can't they pick up their trash?

Tuesday, April 12, 2022


We eat with our eyes first.
~ Apicius
- - - - -

Wait. The others were edible?

Monday, April 11, 2022


There are some themes, some subjects too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book.
~ Philip Pullman
- - - - -

Children are wise and then they grow up and chase things and get distracted from the wisdom, then they get older and chase the wisdom they already had when they were children.

People are probably pretty tired after all that chasing. They should relax and read a book.

Sunday, April 10, 2022



(Yes, I know I didn't include a quote. It would have broken up the flow of the post. However, if you must have a quote, here is one: "I love my rejection slips. They show me I try." ~ Sylvia Plath)

Saturday, April 9, 2022


When I'm not writing I feel an awareness that something's missing. If I go a long time, it becomes worse. I become depressed. There's something vital that's not happening. A certain slow damage starts to occur. I can coast along awhile without it, but then my limbs go numb. Something bad is happening to me, and I know it. The longer I wait, the harder it is to start again.

When I'm writing, especially if it's going well, I'm living in two different dimensions: this life I'm living now, which I enjoy very much, and this completely other world I'm inhabiting that no one else knows about.

~ Jennifer Egan
- - - - - 

Somewhere in the very back of our minds, we all inhabit a world no one else knows about. Except that I have this lingering fear that everyone else in the world is mindreader except me. If so, you might want to stay out of the very back part of my mind, everyone. 

Trust me.

Friday, April 8, 2022


If I knew where the good songs came from, I'd go there more often.
~ Leonard Cohen
- - - - -

Places matter. I remember going to a conference when I was in graduate school. There was a presentation on "sense of place." I still have the handout from that session. And then I remember reading an article in The Oxford American - "The Gathering Place" by John T. Edge. It was published in 2003, and I still have the copy of the article I tore out of the magazine even though I got rid of the rest of the magazine years ago.

That article made me want to be a writer again. And the writer part is only part of it. That article made me want to be a better listener. A better watcher. To pay attention more.

Place definitely matters. Maybe as much as who we are around, where we are matters. Where we are, in part, determines who we are around, doesn't it? Like if you're at an ice cream stand you are likely going to be around people a lot different than if you are at a cemetery. In one place you're around warm people, but you are eating something cold. In the other place you're around cold people, but eating something warm. Well, at least you are if you are alone in the cemetery eating a hot chicken sandwich. 

Thursday, April 7, 2022


Hearing nuns' confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn.
~ Fulton J. Sheen
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All this sign makes me think about is that there are probably spiders in the popcorn.


Wednesday, April 6, 2022


 We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
~ Kurt Vonnegut
- - - - -

Sometimes they say that you have to let go of the heavy weights that bog you down in order to fly higher. I say it's a nice moment if you get to drop those heavy weights on the ones who attached them to you to begin with. 

Karma and stuff.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022


"Read attentively," [Marcus Aurelius] said. Read deeply. Read repeatedly. Aim for quality, not quantity. That's what it means to be well read. The test then is not whether you've read a lot... but what you have read a lot.
~ The Daily Stoic
- - - - -

It is more important to be well read than to be widely read. 

Also this is about "read" not "road".

There's a joke in there about being well "rode" too, but this isn't that kind of a blog.

Monday, April 4, 2022


I must tell you friendly in your ear, sell when you can, you are not for all markets.
~ William Shakespeare
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Wow do I know some people like this. Like me. Unlike me some of you all don't realize you aren't for all markets and, well... you're not. 

Sunday, April 3, 2022


Be a good steward of your gifts.
~ Jane Kenyon
- - - - -

I still don't know what the gift was. I hope they respond soon.


Saturday, April 2, 2022


A storyteller has a different agenda from the emperor. [And yet] there's a limit to what storytelling can achieve. We're not saying that a poet can stop a battalion with a couple of lines of his poetry. But there are other forms of power. The storyteller appeals to the mind, and appeals ultimately to generations and generations, and generations.
~ Chinua Achebe
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An emperor is different from a storyteller also because they can nationalize publishing houses and the press to publish their stories. Most storytellers can't do that. Unless they are emperor storytellers... but no one is telling that story now are they?!

Friday, April 1, 2022


Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.
~ Colette
- - - - -

Me: Knock Knock

Lily: (sighs)


Lily: Who's there?

Me: Pooch

Lily: Pooch who?

Me: Oh no! Do you have a cold?!

Thursday, March 31, 2022


 There is no one way to anything.
~ Ibo Proverb
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And yet each time we go to anything, we only take one way.