Perfectly Said

When I discover quotes that succinctly state an idea I have entertained, but never solidified, I appreciate the person who captured my vague notion in brief, concise words, whether its Eleanor Roosevelt, Confucius, Mark Twain, or Eminem.

Some of the quotes that strike me fade with time; but many have staying power and I readily recall their insights.

Following are six quotes from my collection preceded by my reasons for liking and remembering them.

I exercise and will continue to do so as long as I’m able. Sometimes it isn’t easy, and I consider crawling into my recliner to snooze, snack, and read. But I drown the self-defeating thought in laughter by remembering this quote:

“You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is.”
Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres

Anna Quindlan’s brief explanation of aging captured the process and emotion of doing so. I frequently think about, write about, and talk about aging with others who share my defeated skin, reluctant joints, and challenged eyes. As I watch my circle of friends and loved ones grow smaller, I understand I could be the next to surrender my space among the living. Thus, my kinship with this quote:

“Mortality is like a game of musical chairs.”
Anna Quindlan

Anna Quindlan

Anna Quindlan

Most women I know struggle with insecurities in a culture that emphasizes beauty. A common saying, designed to comfort those of us who don’t look like Princess Kate, irritated me no end when I was young and unhappy with my appearance; so I enjoyed seeing it skewered by the lady who wrote Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.

Jean Kerr

Jean Kerr

“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That’s deep enough. What do you want — an adorable pancreas?”
Jean Kerr

The seasons in transition fascinate me and I often write about a new personality forcing its way into the world: spring’s lighthearted playfulness, summer’s amiable offer of friendship, fall’s colorful briskness, and winter’s implacable nature. I’m particularly fond of describing the battle for dominance waged by the seasons in March; but I’ll never equal the master:

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

 Yogi Berra quotes abound and make sense in an offbeat way. I repeat his words when I find myself moving full-speed ahead without knowing what I’m doing, as I did when starting this blog, learning to be a principal, and driving around with my husband in a strange city looking for a small restaurant because a man at a gas station recommended it.

“We’re lost, but we’re making good time.”
Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra

Finally, when I can’t sleep, I ponder this quote by comedian Steven Wright. Feel free to use it when you’re awake and alone in the middle of a dark night:

“If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?”
Steven Wright

Steven Wright

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41 thoughts on “Perfectly Said

  1. Hello! I’m not sure if you remember me but a few months back we were talking via my blog pancakeluver123? Anyway, I have created a new blog annaberryblogs.wordpress.com as my other one didn’t go as planned 🙂 please check out my new blog everyone because I would love to hear your feedback. Thank you!
    From Anna x 🙂

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  2. Ellen is so funny. At fifteen I treasured my “Bartlett’s Quotations” and read it like a novel. My mother guided us with quotes, folklore, family sayings and Aesop Fables that I can recite to this day. She never said I was fibbing, just “how would you like your nose to grow longer, young lady?”.
    Janet, three from this post will be added to my quotation journals, and to even hear the name “Yogi Berra” makes me smile. We have much in common but Steven Wright furrows my brow and makes me say “what??”.

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    • I bought a Bartlett’s at a garage sale shortly after I moved to Carson City, and over a few months read it cover to cover, sticking in scraps of newspaper to mark favorites.I dropped it once and my markers fell out like confetti. It sounds like your mom played an important part in building your enjoyment of words and love of books, Mary.

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      • Yes, Janet, I give my mom all credit for our love of learning and reading. I’ve had quotes on my mind all week and I need to share my two favorites.
        “Regret for the things we’ve done can be tempered by time. It is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsoleable.” and
        “Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand alone; kindness in another’s troubles and courage in our own.”
        I’ve said and written these quotes so many times over the years that I no longer remember the authors so I can’t give credit. Janet, you write such thought-provoking posts.

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      • I like these quotes, Mary. They’ve been added to my list. I like knowing two writers wrote, or two wise people said, the words you have cherished all these years, and they’ll never know the impact their thoughts had on you and those with whom you’ve shared them.

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  3. I can always depend on my beloved Thoreau- “Beware any venture that requires new clothes”. And Jackie Kennedy- “I am not going down a damn coal mine”..(although that may have been Bess Truman?), this post tickled my inner guffaw, Janet, for I so love words of wisdom, thank you.

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  4. And here’s a couple of quotes from the world famous mind of Uncle Bardie for your Bartlett’s or is that Bartle and Jaymes. Oh, what the heck. Anyway: I would be a vegetarian if cows were vegetables.
    All families are dysfunctional. It’s just that some families are more dysfunctional than others. So, I’ll see your dysfunction and raise you a dysfunction. By the way, when you take the fun out of dysfunction, what do you get. A lot of nonsense, that’s what. Whoever heard of dysctional. Not me.

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  5. Thanks for sharing some great quotes Janet, and for adding your reasons for liking them. I find your reasons add even more meaning to the quotes some of which are favorites of mine too).

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    • Thanks for your kind words, Dan, and I’m glad you are a fan of some of the same quotes. After coming across the Dicken’s quote, I decided to reread one of his books, paying more attention to his writing skill than I did when young. I read a Tale of Two Cities, and it didn’t disappoint.

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  6. I,m not sure who said this, but it comes up in my conversation anytime I begin wondering about my current situation: “It is what it is.” I also like to use Ron White’s statement, “You can’t fix stupid!”

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    • A couple of quotes/sayings come to mind Janet. My favorite is “There but for the grace of God go I.” I use this quote to remind me not to be judgmental of others. The next one is “So it goes” by Kurt Vonnegut. Another one of my favorites is “That wasn’t so bad. It could be worse” This one is usually said while driving through a snowstorm! Finally, this last one comes from my lawyer Clay upon seeing my stepbrothers for the first time. I asked him what his impressions were. “Oozing with the slime of entitlement.” was his reply. It made me laugh! I realized my attorney had a wicked sense of humor.

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      • Your lawyer’s quote is perfect and has been added to my list of memorable quotes. And as you embarked on a long legal entanglement, I can see why it made you laugh. The others are familiar favorites of mine, which I use for the same purposes. I’m especially fond of “So it goes.”

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  7. “Wrapping up in the flag is the refuge of the scoundrel.” I don’t remember who said it, but a lot of it goes on. Great post, Janet. I always remember what my dad told me when I told him I didn’t think him grounding me was right: “Yeah, there’s a lot of things that aren’t right . . . but they still go on.” So true.

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  8. Blast it, Woman! Your pieces always have so much that I can relate to, that by the time I get to the bottom of the piece, I already forgot the first thing that I wanted to comment on and then I’ve gotta got back, again, and re-read the post to comment! Lord. Lord, Lord, How I miss my mind! Actually, as I scroll down it, again, for the 3rd time, your “pieces” could be separate posts, for me!!! I just love reading you. So, tell me, do you write a separate BLOG and separate pieces for your papers???? 🙂

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  9. Lucie, you are a shot in the arm for me when I’m wondering if I have more to give or if I’m just singing the same old tune all the time. Thank you for this comment. It set me up for a happy day of writing. I write one blog a week which I try to keep around 500 words, but sometimes I get carried away. I also write a newspaper column every other week; my editors prefer approximately 650 words for them. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I write then rewrite then rewrite again and again and again until I feel a piece is what I want it to be. That’s my hangup. On occasion, when I’ve done too much traveling or napping or reading or gardening, I recycle a newspaper column that’s several years old as a blog, by cutting it and weaving the blog’s theme into it when I can. Whew! I guess I just told you more than you wanted to know!

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  10. Janet, you just keep singing your songs and the rest of us will whistle along. I agree with Lucie; I read each of your posts at least 4-5 times to absorb the rich contnet.

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  11. I love the humour in these quotes. Incidentally Stephens quote about buttered toast and cats has always been one of my favourites!

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