Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I feel a sense of dread, tear after tear is falling,
my rigid heart is tenderly unmanned---
what I possess seems something far away
and what had disappeared proves real.

Ein Schauer faßt mich, Träne folgt den Tränen,
Das strenge Herz, es fühlt sich mild und weich;
Was ich besitze, seh ich wie im Weiten,
Und was verschwand, wird mir zu Wirklichkeiten.

--Faust: A Tragedy, lines 29-32

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yoko Ono

What is teaching me is the fact that we have to learn how to turn around negative energy into positive energy. On a very small scale, for instance, people used to call me Dragon Lady. And I didn't answer that one. And one day I said, Thank you for calling me Dragon Lady, because the dragon is such a powerful animal. And thank you for thinking I'm so powerful. From then on nobody called me Dragon Lady.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sarah Vowell

Being a nerd, which is to say going too far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Margaret Lee Runbeck

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

George Carlin

No one knows what's next, but everyone does it.


Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

Marcus Aurelius

Very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Dalai Lama

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Mother Teresa

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Elizabeth Dunn, et al

Principle 3: Buy Many Small Pleasures Instead of Few Big Ones

Adaptation is a little bit like death: we fear it, fight it, and sometimes forestall it, but in the end, we always lose. And like death, there may be benefits to accepting its inevitability.  If we inevitably adapt to the greatest delights that money can buy, than it may be better to indulge in a variety of frequent, small pleasures—double lattes, uptown pedicures, and high thread-count socks— rather than  pouring money into large purchases, such as sports cars, dream vacations, and front-row concert tickets. This is not to say that there's anything wrong with large purchases, but as long as money is limited by its failure to grow on trees, we may be better off devoting our finite financial resources to purchasing frequent doses of lovely things rather than infrequent doses of lovelier things. Indeed, across many different domains, happiness is more strongly associated with the frequency than the intensity of people's positive affective experiences

--From "If Money Doesn't Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren't Spending It Right," by Elizabeth Dunn (University of British Columbia), Daniel T. Gilbert (Harvard University), Timothy D. Wilson (University of Virginia), 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Geoff Colvin

Deliberate practice, as described in Talent is Overrated:
-It's designed specifically to improve performance
-It can be repeated a lot
-Feedback on results is continuously available.
-It's highly demanding mentally.
-It isn't much fun.

If it seems a bit depressing that the most important thing you can do to improve performance is no fun, take consolation in this fat: It must be so. If the activities that lead to greatness were easy and fun, then everyone would do them and they would not distinguish the best from the rest. The reality that deliberate practice is hard can even be seen as good new. It means that most people won't do it. So your willingness to do it will distinguish you all the more.

John A. Sloboda

There is absolutely no evidence of a 'fast track' for high achievers.

-as quoted in Talent is Overrated

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Arthur Conan Doyle

My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. These little problems help me to do so.

--Sherlock Holmes in "The Red-Headed League"

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Andrea Cecon

traffic jam—
my thoughts
still in motion

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gyorgy Sebok

Create excitement. Don't get excited.

Gyorgy Sebok, long-time friend and colleague of cellist Janos Starker

Benjamin Franklin

He that can have patience can have what he will.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dalai Lama

I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Roald Dahl

Very carefully, I now began to unwrap the waxed paper from around the doctor's present, and when I had finished, I saw before me the most enormous and beautiful pie in the world. It was covered all over, top, sides, and bottom, with rich golden pastry. I took a knife from beside the sink and cut out a wedge. I started to eat it with my fingers, standing up. It was a cold meat pie. The meat was pink and tender with no fat or gristle in it, and there were hard-boiled eggs buried like treasures in several different places. The taste was absolutely fabulous. When I had finished the first slice, I cut another and ate that, too.

from Danny The Champion of the World

Saturday, October 30, 2010

French idiom

Faire son miel de quelque chose.

Literally translated as, "making one's honey out of something," it means profiting from a situation.

From Chocolate and Zucchini, October 21, 2010.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I would engage in a battle of wits with you, but I refuse to deal with an unarmed person.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dalai Lama

Only the inner protection of patience can keep us from experiencing the turmoil of negative thoughts and emotions.

Friday, September 17, 2010


There's a fine line between a health bar and a Heath Bar.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thom Browne

Most men can't steer themselves when it comes to style. They need a female to guide them. That's a fact.

Jerilyn Ross

Each of us has a different relationship with anxiety, just as each of us has a different relationship with our mothers, our fathers, our children, and everyone else in our lives. What's important is not learning the 'right' way to respond to anxiety but learning how you relate to it and whether or not the relationship is working.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

John Locke

"Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours."

"The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mae West

"Take all you can get and give as little as possible."

"Never let one man worry your mind. Find 'em, fool 'em, and forget 'em."

"Don't worry; I ain't gonna hurt him. I just want to feel his muscles."

"I don't suppose you believe in marriage, do you?"
"Only as a last resort."

--from I'm No Angel

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Phillip Lopate

It's Good We Only See Each Other Once a Week

It's good we only see each other once a week.
A young man about to move in with his fiancée
died of a sudden heart attack at twenty-six.
One hears these stories all the time.
The heart is trained to handle deprivation,
not unforeseen happiness. Just as when you
throw your arms around me I start to overflow,
but then I think of course, where was she before?
I deserve it and a lot more besides—
your love gets soaked up quickly
and I pull back brooding over something
I never had.
But don't stop on that account, keep going.

I was brought up to make
the most of accidental brushes with kindness.
My pleasures were collected almost unawares
from stationary models, like the girl
who sat in front of me in tenth grade,
who let me stroke and braid her golden hair
and never acknowledged it.
I wouldn't know what to do with frontal love;
would I? One snowy winter night in Montreal
I felt so great I danced a flamenco
and insisted that everyone call me Fernando.
But then I was by myself. And last night,
if there are many more nights
like last night with you —
when I think of all my nights of total happiness
I get the panicky sense that the balance
has already tipped,
and I will never again feel free
to pass myself off as a have-not.

Maybe it's good we only see each other once a week.
But don't stop on that account, keep going.

"It's Good We Only See Each Other Once a Week" by Phillip Lopate, from At the End of the Day. © Marsh Hawk Press, 2010.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Keep busy. Don't dwell. Be thankful. Be strong.
It will be okay.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Don't look for the remedy for your troubles outside yourself. You are the medicine. You are the cure for your own sorrow.

Arab proverb

The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers.

via Eknath Easwaran

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Patricia Pearson

Control is not what we need. What we need is to bend to the tempest like pine and palm trees--flexible, adaptive, attuned, yet fully rooted in our principles.

--from A Brief History of Anxiety (Yours and Mine)

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do is in perfect harmony.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Anger is so devoid of forethought that it will often drive a man to do things which in a calmer mood he will regret.

From On Horsemanship, 365 BC.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Every problem has its price, but if you worry about it you pay double.


Worry is the darkroom in which negatives are developed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I'm better at my job than they let me be.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Juliet Clutton-Brock

By their offerings of food, affection, and comfort humans persuade cats to share the same core area of their home range.

-as quoted in Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote

Ted Kerasote

Like hot weather and cities, cats simply had to be respected and endured.

-From Merle's Door

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Diana Spechler

Although I was five years his junior, I was this man’s teacher. Also, I had a boyfriend. And although my boyfriend was loyal, loving and tall, our relationship reminded me of childhood, when adults would let me win every game, even though I wished they wouldn’t.

--"Modern Love," New York Times, June 13, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nicholas Carr

The deeper a technology is woven into the patterns of everyday life, the less choice we have about whether and how we use that technology.

--Nicholas Carr, author of "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains", quote taken from his blog's June 12th, 2010 post:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jacqueline Winspear

She would step aboard [the bus] and from that vantage point look down upon the world as it went about its business. As the bus drew nearer the shops of Oxford Street, already clerks and assistants were walking and running purposefully towards their day's toil. And she could see the moving throng as it formed into tributaries and streams, running ever onward towards the ocean of commerce, a day's work and a day's pay. Each of the people had a life and, if they were fortunate, a family who loved them and who they loved in return--perhaps a wife at home, a babe in the nursery, an aging parent who needed help, brothers and sisters. It was as if she had been looking down upon a landscape of human activity, a charting of everyday endeavor. As she considered, not for the first time, the part she played in the grand scheme, a question came to mind. Was she forging ahead in a stream of her own making, or was she allowing herself to be carried out by a riptide, ever onward towards...what?

-From The Mapping of Love and Death (2010)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Crazy Aunt Purl

I think we get older and scared and we make life so hard, so complex, we pick it or it picks us but either way we start getting into the details so hard and furtively that we lose the 23-year-old way we rushed up each day to see what new thing would show up. We get consumed with the very details of living life.

Plug the hell into life! That attitude of being hopeful and invincible can come back. It exists inside us. The belief in a future of endless possibilities doesn't have to go away just because we get older. We can start making a whole list of why it won't work out ... or make a list of why it will. Or screw the list, just go live some life.

The best times are when you spend more energy living and less time worrying about consequences that may never come to pass. I'm writing this not to lecture you but to remind myself to just relax.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vows: Deborah Jacobs and Michael McPhearson

"He shows good manners to everyone," Ms. Jacobs said. "He puts toilet seats down, but not people."

Mr. McPhearson, 45, said he liked the fact that Ms. Jacobs was confident enough to cut her hair very short and go out some Saturday nights without him.

The couple made a pact not to argue about things like who did the dishes or made more money. "You don't need to deal with put-downs or whispers of failure at home," Mr. McPhearson said. "You need to come home to someone who believes in you."

--L.S. Brady (May 21, 2010). Retrieved from

Monday, May 17, 2010


A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.

A smoking section in a restaurant is like a peeing section in a pool.


When you don't know what to do next, do any damn thing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Albert Einstein

Three Rules of Work:
1. Out of clutter, find simplicity.
2. From discord, find harmony.
3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Metta Meditation

May you be safe from internal and external harm.
May you have a calm, clear mind and a peaceful, loving heart.
May you be physically strong, healthy, and vital.
May you experience love, joy, wonder, and wisdom in this life, just as it is.

Eknath Easwaran

Simply by slowing down the mind - the first purpose of meditation - much tension can be removed. Then we are free to respond to life's difficulties not as sources of stress by as challenges, which will draw out of us deeper resources than we ever suspected we had. A one-pointed mind is slow and sound, which gives it immense resilience under stress.

With a mind like this, we always have a choice in how we respond to life around us.

(Words to Live By, May 18)

Dae Haeng

Go forward with steps that never leave any trace.
Accept everything that confronts you with a positive attitude. ...Just make sure you aren't trying to avoid the things that are coming, and don't try to cling to the things that are leaving.
Become a brave person who is never stained by anything or attached to anything.
Become a true human being, a person who is both the most normal and the most extraordinary.

"No River to Cross"
Zen Master Dae Haeng

Peace Pilgrim, Activist

If your life is in harmony... then your life is full and good, but not overcrowded. If it is overcrowded, you are doing more than is right for you, more than is your job to do in the total scheme of things.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thomas Paine

It is the direction and not the magnitude which is to be taken into consideration.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Eknath Easwaran

[I]f a negative wave whispers to you one morning, "Just five minutes more...let's make it five after six," send a contrary wave back. Leap out of bed, and the next morning get up at five *to* six. Tell your mind, "If you like, you can even suggest six thirty. I will get up at five thirty and have my meditation." After a few mornings of this, I can assure you that your mind will have nothing more to say on the subject.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eknath Easwaran

[M]ost thoughts are neither joyful or necessary....Anxious thoughts—who needs them? Worry—better off without it. Resentments—why ask? Quite a host of our troubles, if you stop to think about it, are due to thinking too much.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Richard Wiseman

After carefully following the recovery rates of patients who had suffered a heart attack, Friedman discovered that those who were dog owners, compared to those without a canine pal, were almost nine times more likely to be alive twelve months later. This remarkable result encouraged scientists to explore other possible benefits of canine companionship, resulting in studies showing that dog owners coped well with everyday stress, were relaxed about life, had high self-esteem, and were less likely to be diagnosed with depression.

--from 59 Seconds

Betty Fridan

Women who do not look for jobs equal to their capacity, who do not let themselves develop the lifetime interests and goals which require serious education and training, who take a job at twenty or thirty or forty to 'help out at home' or just to kill extra time, are walking, almost as surely as the ones who stay inside the housewife trap, to a non-existent future.

--from The Feminine Mystique

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Abraham Hicks

Most people have a hard time delegating, or even wanting to delegate, because they have been justifying their existence through their hard work, and they equate success with struggle; they equate results with struggle. And so, they sort of wear their struggle like a badge of honor. And all of that is opposite of allowing their own well-being.

The only thing that ever matters in success or achievement is achieving the things that you want to achieve.

So if you're feeling uncomfortable about the standards that you've set, tweak the standards back a little bit. Ratchet it back a notch. Give yourself a break. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Lighten up. Be easier. Go slower. Take it easy. Have more fun. Love yourself more. Laugh more. Appreciate more.

All is well. You can't get it wrong. You never get it done.

Helen Gurley Brown

Men who help women with their careers are sexier than men with flat stomachs, large biceps, and other remarkable assets. So many women have got all this 'stuff' in them--a book or a play. Or they may have fabulous business or other talent. I want every woman to have a husband like mine, a husband who can be a real friend and companion, who knows how to bring out that secret gift or talent so many women have, but never put to use.

--as quoted in Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown by Jennifer Scanlon

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Johnny Cash

I have no illusions about who I am and how old I am, but that has nothing to do with it when I'm in that studio or on that stage and that thing is coming out of me. That fire is just as bright and hot as when I was 23. I and the song are one-—and whatever I was meant to do with my music, I'm doing it.

Johnny Cash

You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Charlotte Brontë

Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.

--from Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë

It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.

--from Jane Eyre

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chan in "On A Clear Day"

A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Theresa Cheung

Happy people generally know what they want and feel they are moving in the direction of getting it. That's what makes them happy.

from Chocolate Principles to Live By, p. 48

Harold McGee

A soft ganache is made with approximately equal weights of cream and chocolate. To make ganache, the cream is scalded and the chocolate melted into it to form a complex combination of an emulsion and a suspension. The continuous phase of this mixture, the portion that permeates it, is a syrup made from the cream's water and the chocolate's sugar.

from On Food and Cooking, p. 707

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Yvonne Ruperti

I melted a standard ganache mixture of 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons heavy cream (plus 1 tablespoon of confectioners' sugar for an extra hint of sweetness and 2 tablespoons of cream), let the mixture cool until it firmed enough to scoop, and then spooned a teaspoon of it onto the cupcakes before baking. As the cupcakes baked, the ganache gently sank into the batter. As I bit into the rich cake and its trufflelike center gushed slightly, I knew I'd hit chocolate nirvana.

--from "Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes," Cooks Illustrated, May 2010 (emphasis added)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

30 Rock

Jack: You're a lion. Take what's yours.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

30 Rock

Kenneth: [on coffee] I love how it makes me feel. It's like my heart is trying to hug my brain!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dan Simmons

I am a city man, Dear Reader. Such exertions are not in my physical vocabulary.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Attention is like energy, in that without it, no work can be done, and in doing work, it is dissipated. We create ourselves by how we invest this energy. Memories, thoughts, and feelings are all shaped by how we use it. And it is an energy under our control, to do with as we please. Hence, attention is our most important tool in the task of improving the quality of experience.

from Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience


Religious people go to church to pray that they won’t go to hell. Spiritual people go to church because they have already been to hell, and pray that they never go back.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mae West

When women go wrong, men go right after them.

Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.

A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up.

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

I believe that it's better to be looked over than it is to be overlooked.

I didn't discover curves; I only uncovered them.

The curve is more powerful than the sword.

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.

I've been in more laps than a napkin.

Save a boyfriend for a rainy day - and another, in case it doesn't rain.

A hard man is good to find.

To err is human, but it feels divine.

When I'm good I'm very, very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning.

Good sex is like good Bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.

Mulla Nasrudin

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

B.C. Forbes

Better to be occasionally cheated than perpetually suspicious.

Andre Gide

One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Florence Scovel Shinn

One's ships come in over a calm sea.

Florence Scovel Shinn

"Thy will be done this day! Today is a day of completion; I give thanks for this perfect day, miracle shall follow miracle and wonders shall never cease."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Marcus Aurelius

Strength and honor.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Henry James

A personal relation was a relation only so long as people either perfectly understood or, better still, didn't care if they didn't.

-The Ambassadors

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lou Holtz

Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Elbert Hubbard

Conformists die; heretics live forever.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Leigh Ann Black

“This is not where I imagined I’d be when I turned 30, but I feel really inspired being back [home],” she said. “There’s something about being with family and not feeling upset about meeting rent, car payment and groceries every month. Now I have some breathing room.”

--Shevory, Kristina. (2010, January 21). Out of Work Architects Turn to Other Skills. New York Times, D1.

Katie Spotz

Do not make it personal. Here on the ocean weather will do what it wants, equipment will break, things will not go according to “plan”. But it has nothing to do with me. So often I can think and feel that things are happening “for”, “against”, “to” me. Things are just happening and I can choose to accept it or put up the fight.

-on rowing solo across the Atlantic

Katie Spotz

Break it down. You don’t row across an ocean in a day so it’s important for me to break it down into daily, sometimes hourly, goals and focus on that one step ahead. If I lose sight of that one step, I can become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenge.

-on rowing solo across the Atlantic (

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dietary Suggestions in Therapy of Migraine

Avoid cokes, alcohol, particularly red wines and champagne. 7-Up is ok.
Avoid aged or strong cheese, particularly cheddar cheese.
Avoid chicken livers, pickled herring, canned figs, pods of broad beans, nuts and chocolate.
No monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Avoid cured meats such as hot dogs, bacon, ham, and salami if these cause vascular headaches.
Eat three well-balanced meals per day. Avoid skipping meals, prolonged fasting, or excessive carbohydrates.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jacqueline Winspear

And more than anything, she wondered if one could take leave of one's senses, even if one had no previous occasions of mental incapacity, simply by being isolated from others. Is that what pushed the man over the edge of all measured thought? Were his thoughts so distilled, without the calibrating effect of a normal life led among others, that he ceased to recognize the distinction between right and wrong, between good and evil, or between having a voice and losing it? And if that were so, might an ordinary woman living alone with her memories, with her work, with the walls of her flat drawing in upon her, be at some risk of not seeing the world as it is?

--Among the Mad: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (2009)