Saturday, September 29, 2007

World Wide Day of Play at Nickelodeon

Child’s play Uploaded on February 15, 2007 by paparutzi

Kudos and congrats to the Nickelodeon channel for encouraging parents and kids to stop watching TV and to go outside and play. Nickelodeon is a much beloved channel of children’s cartoons and TV programs. Many of my nieces, nephews, and friend’s children are addicted to it.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the channel “went black” today for 3 hours in an attempt to get children to get outside and get moving. If you turn on the channel between 12pm and 3pm, all you will see a black screen with the “World Wide Day of Play” logo. A voice tells you that yes the TV is working, and to get outside and play. A written message follows and the two repeat off and on, ending with “this message will repeat, so unless you want to be bored, get up and play.”

Just seeing that blank screen with nothing on it inspired me to get up and go outside. Sure there are other channels with shows on, but the idea of a Play Day sounded like fun! Here is a link to the site which encourages a healthy lifestyle with good eating habits and plenty of exercise. After the 3-hour “blackout” there will be a 3-hour SpongeBob marathon, followed by their “Let’s Just Play Go Healthy Challenge” finale.

What a wonderful example! Nick has proven that they have listened to the experts, and they are using their reputation as a channel for children to educate and support a healthy lifestyle with great shows and by taking action. Way to go Nick!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Smile File: A silent fool.

Goose talking to mink Uploaded on April 5, 2007 by EcoSnake

'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)
16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dream big – maybe you too can fly!

It’s important to dream. To look into ourselves and find our deepest and fondest desires. Some dreams are big, like climbing Mount Everest or sailing around the world. Some are a bit smaller like working from home or buying a brand-new car. No matter what our current dream is, it’s important to have one.

Remember when you were little and thought you would be an astronaut, a lion tamer or a race-car driver? Live those dreams now. Go to space camp, become a zoologist or take a racing class. Let go and have fun. You’ll re-energize yourself and your life.

One thing I always wanted to do was fly. I didn’t really care how – ride a magic carpet, get Superman’s powers, or saddled on a winged-horse. This year I got my chance. My neighbor offered to fly me on his ultra-light plane. Basically it’s a hang-glider with a motor. Here's a picture:

Sure I’ve been on a commercial jet once or twice, but you’re surrounded by people and can’t see. This was totally different. I flew over the mountains of West Virginia. There was nothing but a steel frame and bucket seat between me and the ground. No sides, no windshield, nothing else. It was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. Here is some of the video I took with my camera:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A few things I've learned. . .

IMG_0372 Uploaded on February 7, 2006 by seveno2003

  • That life is not about just getting by. To feel alive you need to be exhilarated and joyful. Surround yourself with things that make you happy and find something to smile about each day.

  • Sometimes you just need a place to hide. It can be inside like a bookstore or library, or outside in the backyard or the beach; or even just alone in your bedroom. Find your special space to get away for a while.

  • Being open to new experiences brings satisfaction and pleasure. Each time you try something new or learn a skill, you will expand your boundaries and redefine yourself.

  • Silence is blessed. Through writing, meditation, or a simple walk, your mind clears and your thoughts slow down. Quiet times bring discovery. If you don’t like what you find, this is a perfect opportunity to begin change.

  • Standing up for your beliefs when they differ from “everyone else’s” is hard, but being true to yourself brings you peace.

  • Life is not as miserable as TV news makes it out to be.

  • Helping others is the surest way to take your mind off your own worries.

  • Mistakes are easier to accept when you are able to learn from them. The biggest mistakes have the greatest insights.

  • Take care of yourself first. If you are confused, annoyed or irritated, take a few minutes for yourself. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom, take the time to collect your thoughts and take a few deep breaths. You will be calmer and can nip aggravation in the bud – and keep it from spreading.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Everyone needs a hug!

Free hugs Uploaded on March 25, 2007 by Wallula Junction

It's wondrous what a hug can do.

A hug can cheer you when you're blue.

A hug can say, "I love you so,"

Or, "Gee, I hate to see you go."

A hug is, "Welcome back again."

And, "Great to see you! Where've you been?"

A hug can soothe a small child’s pain,

and bring a rainbow after rain.

The hug! There's just no doubt about it-

we scarcely could survive without it!

A hug delights and warms and charms.

It must be why God gave us arms.

A hug can break the language barrier,

and make your travels so much merrier.

No need to fret about your store of 'em,

the more you give, the more there's more of 'em.

So stretch those arms without delay

and give someone a hug today!

-Author Unknown-

What a wonderful discovery. First I found this fantastic poem which so clearly reflects the joy that is expressed by hugs. Then while looking for a photo to go with it, I found out about this great organization free hugs Make sure you watch the video – it’s inspiring! Keep hugs free forever!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

How to enjoy failure.

Ever have those days when everything goes wrong? When all your planning, practicing and preparation counts for squat? Those kind of days happen to me – frequently. That’s why I’m proposing to enjoy the failure. Why not make fun of your failure, or turn a negative into a positive? Here are a few ideas on how.

  1. Exaggerate. Not only do I fail to exercise and eat right like I should, I’m so out of shape I couldn’t pass my 89 year old grandma – walking downhill!
  2. Gloat about it. I am SO GOOD at failing to stay in a positive state of mind and becoming grumpy that even my dogs reject me – and they love everyone!
  3. Have fun with it. If you repeatedly get angry at other people (deserved or not), start making fun of them. In your head see them as a baby, in the nude, or being soaked by a water gun. Have fun with your anger and let it go. (This is especially helpful at work.)
  4. Turn it around. Got into a car accident, didn’t get a job or forgot to pay a bill? So what. You learned to be more careful, you can apply for another job (with better pay), and maybe you could start paying bills online instead of through the mail. Learn from your mistakes and they are opportunities instead.
  5. Let it go. When you feel stupid, like no one could be worse, compare it the latest celebrity mishap and relax. So many stars are in the news and have destructive habits. Use their terrible mistakes to help you see that yours aren’t so bad. (At least I didn’t do a “Brittany”.)

These methods aren’t perfect – but they’re a start. Hopefully they will give you ideas on how to use your blunders, goofs and screw-ups as a just another arena to find a few laughs. I my past is any indicator; I will certainly get a lot of practice with them. Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Smile File: Precious Pirate

Aargh matey! Ye scurvy dogs missed the official "Pirate Day" on September 19th. There be no worse offense than ye not talking (and looking) like a pirate. Ye scoundrels be sure not to miss this treasure next year - or you'll walk the plank! (Or maybe the Captain will feed you dogs to the sea - Aargh!.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Happiness is simple.

At least it can be. When we stop wanting more than we have. When we take time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. When we slow down enough to enjoy our family, work, and home. That’s when happiness becomes simple.

Here a few simple joys:

  1. A hot bowl of chili on a cold night.
  2. Sharing pictures with family and friends.
  3. Relaxing on a porch swing at the end of a hard day.
  4. Finishing a deadline.
  5. The crunching of leaves as you walk through the woods.
  6. Laughing with your children.
  7. A phone call from a friend.
  8. Stargazing.
  9. Puppy kisses.
  10. A big bear-hug.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Daily Observations

Pencils and moleskins 04 Uploaded on January 5, 2006 by paulworthington

Want to keep track of important moments in your life, keep a list of funny things that happen to you and monitor your progress towards your goals? Try starting a Daily Observation diary. I’ve always kept mine on the computer, but you could use a notebook or journal. All you do is take a few minutes once or twice a day and write down things you want to remember – anything at all. A funny sign you saw, your baby’s funny sayings, or ideas that will help you reach your goals.

I’ve been doing this since 2005. I’ve noted things like how a 1-hour traffic delay was funny (later that day) because it meant equality – every lane was the slow lane. I made up funny proverbs like “A bird in the hand – will inevitably poop on you,” and “Teach a man to fish – and he’s gone every weekend.” And I’ve noted nonsensical things that just made me laugh like; I spent an evening practicing juggling in my bedroom (so no one would see me mess up). I was practicing with what I had on hand, using tennis balls, and my dog came through the partially open door. She promptly grabbed the first tennis ball I dropped and ran off.

When I look back at these memories, the details I recorded help bring the scene back to life and I laugh (and cry) about the past. I can look back and see my progress and my failures; it’s a great gauge for your life. This year I moved from central Florida to the quiet mountains of West Virginia and was out of work. My one regret is not keeping up my Daily Observations. (Being without a daily routine like work is what did it, I thought I had time for everything.) Luckily I did at least write down moments here and there – and they are priceless! I highly encourage you to try this habit and let me know if it brings you the insight and pleasure it has me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Heroes is back this fall. Why it is got-to-see TV.

Summer super smile by Marcus Vegas.

The hit TV show Heroes is back next Monday September 24th. I was a huge fan last year, and am eagerly anticipating the new season. Being married to a life-long comic book collector may have something to do with it, but then again superpowers are always cool. So here are just a few reasons to watch.

  1. Super villains. Will they be happy with mere world domination or are they set to exterminate the entire human race?
  2. In case the characters start wearing spandex and capes.
  3. For the chance to argue over whose powers are better. Self-healing or flying? Stopping time or invisibility?
  4. To see what funny new faces Hiro will have this year. (Love that scrunched-up face of intense concentration).
  5. Suspense. Who will replace Mr. Linderman? Who will turn to evil and who will become good?
  6. Awesome special effects.
  7. To see some serious samurai swordplay. (Hopefully)
  8. More secret organizations, hidden conspiracies and other outrageous fun.
  9. To hear this year’s new catchphrase.
  10. Because it’s one of the coolest action shows on TV!

If you can’t wait for the show to start, here’s a link or two with up-to-date news, spoilers and more. Long live Heroes!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hip-hip-hooray, it’s raining today!

When does the rainbows get here? By Todd Baker .
Creative commons

Yes, it’s true; it’s raining ponds and puddles right now. Since we’ve been in quite a drought for a while, this is making me very happy. Just to prove that it’s not only the end of the drought that is making the rain fun, here are my top 10 reasons why it’s great:

  1. There are now puddles to splash in.
  2. Frogs, turtles and ducks are really enjoying themselves right now.
  3. Mud baths are great for softer skin.
  4. Rain is a great excuse to read a book or watch a movie.
  5. Ponds and rivers are filling up; the waterfalls are bigger than usual.
  6. Pests like flies, bees, and mosquitoes are nowhere to be seen.
  7. You get a chance to find leaks and holes in your roof before winter comes.
  8. It’s a good reason to put off chores like cutting the grass and washing the car.
  9. If it rains for a week you get your own personal pool.
  10. The chance to look for rainbows when the rain stops.

Smile File - make a point.

Owl with a very silly face by BrianScott

Humor is a rubber sword - it allows you to make a point without drawing blood. - Mary Hirsch

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Daily habits - are they good or bad?

At Stress to Power I saw a post about Reprogramming Our Robot Minds. Since human behavior is so very interesting it really got me thinking. Are the majority of your habits helping you in life or hindering you? For me, I must confess that many of mine do both. For instance, I love the computer and when I’m playing around on it I learn a lot, whether I’m looking up recipes for dinner, having a good laugh or just playing with a program. However, at the same time I can end up on it for hours, skipping over the exercise, cleaning or other chores I need to do.

Am I the only one who has this problem? I get caught up in what I’m doing, which is usually a great thing – to be in the flow, in the present moment. But when it keeps me from doing what I should, does it do more harm than good? I said should because I usually get done what I need to, like the exercise and cleaning, it’s just I sometimes start out with a 15 minute cleaning job, and then decide to do the whole house and it turns into 2 hours.

I would argue that this habit does more good than harm. I still do what I want and need to do, just not when I planned to do it. The downfall of course, is that some of this (like exercise) is more effective when done every day rather than all at once. For a look at more ideas on habits and their effect on you, check out Jenny & Erin’s tongue-in-cheek quest for understanding.

Whatever your own results are, this is a good reminder to take a look at your habits and tweak any that might be impeding your success. Good luck!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kindness is a gift to yourself.

Wheeeeeee! by lou & magoo

Recently I’ve been pleased to see so many web sites dedicated to kindness on the Internet. Two great examples are Help and Gift of Both of these wonderful sites share stories from people who have received kindness from others, and ideas on how you can be kind to someone else.

In this day and age of bad news, verbal attacks, and constant complaining, these groups are a breath of fresh air. By signing up for their free newsletters you will get weekly reminders that people are mostly good and that being kind has a ripple effect that spreads to others.

Some of the ideas are so simple; smile, give someone a compliment, lend a hand, help a neighbor. Wonderful ideas that are easy to do. Give what you have; time, money, advice, or skill. Maybe you can paint a fence, take someone to dinner, or watch the kids for a busy couple. With a little thought you can make someone very happy – and the great part is their happiness will make you happy!

It’s an amazing phenomenon, when you help someone you receive a boost to your own self-esteem. What a joy to do an unexpected kindness for someone else. To see them smile and laugh and enjoy themselves. Let’s even assume you’re doing it selfishly; you want to be seen as a good person. So what? If someone lent me a hand or did me a favor, it will still benefit me – even if they get a big head from their efforts.

Want to do more? Check out the free kindness cards and totally cute free posters. Print them out and share them, hang the posters in your office. With luck you’ll get a smile or two, and maybe even inspire someone new to spread kindness in their world. For sure you can’t do any damage by spreading some smiles and good cheer. Check it out today!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A prescription for laughter.

Since I want to add more fun and humor to your day, what better way than to share what I use myself? I found the web site for Dr. Clifford Kuhn “The Laugh Doctor,” during one of my playful Internet searches. (Just type in a word like “laughter, joy, or fun,” and see what you find.)

Dr. Kuhn is a psychiatrist, comedian, and professional speaker and has lots of experience with humor medicine. Read his about page for more about his background. The amazing part about Dr. Kuhn’s humor medicine is that his patients taught him about humor, not the other way around. As he saw his patients smile and laugh while in the midst of illness and disease he realized you could have fun even while in pain.

Although his entire site is very good, I personally enjoy his free newsletter the best. Each bi-weekly issue contains a few stories about laughter, humor and healing as well as several jokes. It’s a great remedy for a rough day and well worth checking out. Don’t forget to check out his Humor Blog as well.

If you have a great fun site to recommend, share it with me in the comments section. Thanks for stopping by – and have a delightful day!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stress relief - rocks that help you relax.

Quartz crystal cluster by mscaprikell

We’ve all heard lots of stress relief technique remedies like exercising, eating right, getting enough sleep and relaxing. I’ve tried many, and most work - some more, some less. Now I’m adding one more to the list – meditation with crystals. Sure, to some it may sound silly, stupid, or like mere wishful thinking. How could a stupid rock help anyone relax? Others will say it’s more of that “new age crap”.

They all may be right. But I don’t believe it. I was raised Catholic, but consider myself a spiritual explorer. When I learned that scientists said that experiments found that subatomic particles acted differently in the same exact experiment when they were observed by a person versus left alone in a room, it made me think.

For years, I have heard that prayer relieves stress for many, and I’ve read that doctors say patients that are prayed for heal faster than those that aren’t – whether the patient believes in religion or not. This is thought-provoking information indeed.

I read a fantastic Time Magazine from August 4th 2003 called The Science of Meditation. In it I read an article called “Calming the mind,” which explored the anatomy of meditation. There have been studies done that show that sustained meditation, especially over a period of time like that done by Tibetan Monks, does change brain chemistry and neural pathways.

We all know that quartz is used as an energy amplifier in many different pieces of technology - like a quartz watch for instance. As I read more about this subject, I learned that different crystals had different healing vibrations or energies. I was drawn first to amethyst because of the beautiful purple color. I found that if I held one in my hand during meditation, it deepened my sense of relaxation and calm even further.

I have tried many other stones since then, and found that I feel differently when I hold different stones. I have no idea how this works, nor do I really care. I offer this only as one more option to release the stress of your day. I have found that simply focusing on a crystal offers my mind a place to softly focus so the random thoughts and worries don’t take over.

For those of you who made it this far in your reading – congratulations. If nothing else, you have kept an open mind and perhaps found a fun hobby (collecting crystals). For more on what crystal healing is all about, here are a few links.

The Crystal Healing Shop
And The Crystal Bible on

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Keeping a Funny File or Cheer Box.

Uploaded on September 10, 2006
by allspice1 Time limitedOriginally uploaded by allspice1

We all have those days when we’re feeling lonely, bored or depressed. We just need a little pick-me-up, but perhaps our family or friends are busy or out of town. Maybe we just want to cherish memories of fun things we enjoy. Whatever the reason a Funny File will add some fun and laughter to your life.

This is simply a place to collect funny items that make you smile, chuckle or laugh out loud. Bumper stickers, newspaper cartoons, cute pictures, greeting cards or quotes about humor. Anything at all. A Cheer Box is the same thing, just for bigger and bulkier items. Funny buttons, character pens and pencils, cute post-it notes, collectible figures of your favorite character or animal and more. The idea is to have a box of amusing and playful items and to keep them all in one area. I’ve had a Funny File for over 3 years, and I refer to it quite often. It’s often a great way to break through writer’s block and it enhances creativity. Plus it’s just fun.

Here are just a few items I have on hand:

  • A Spongebob Squarepants figure with a button that changes his eyes from small to large and then to hearts.
  • About 10 Weird Al Yankovic CD's.
  • Pictures of Redskin’s player Clinton Portis dressed up in crazy costumes for his interviews.
  • Spongebob Squarepants pens and pencils.
  • Bumper sticker quotes I found on the Internet.
  • Mike Kerr’s article 130 ways to put humour to work.

An old issue of Time Magazine called The Science of Happiness.

Try it for yourself and let me know how it works. And feel free to submit additional ideas to add to the fun. Have a great day!

Smile File: People I can laugh at.

elf's first taste of spiked egg nog!
Originally uploaded by angela7dreams

"I will find humor in my everyday life by looking for people I can laugh at." - -Unknown

Friday, September 7, 2007

Daily Puppy

Why is happiness such hard work?

If you’re anything like me, you like being happy and you hate hard work. So isn’t it ironic that being happy often takes a lot of work? For instance I love blogging, but it takes time to come up with a good idea, research relevant material and write it up for all of you. But once I’ve done all that, I get an immense surge of happiness when just one person leaves me a positive comment. Here are a few more examples:

  1. You enjoy being fit and in shape. You find it hard to make time to exercise every day and you already have five things on your to-do list.
  2. You are happy when you cook healthy meals. Finding good recipes and shopping for good quality food takes planning and energy.
  3. You love scrapbooks and photo albums. Family members don’t like their pictures taken and you have to organize everything, as well as print, label and file the pictures.
  4. Being a pet owner brings you joy. Feeding, grooming, walking, brushing and socializing your pet is time consuming.
  5. Reading is your favorite hobby. Your kids need help with homework, there are errands to run, and the bills need to be done.

These were just a few ideas off the top of my head. All of them seemed to involve time – one commodity most of us never have enough of. Time management is hard concept for many of us to manage. Yet even when you’re tired or when you run short on time, doing these things that make you happy brings a sense of satisfaction – even when it causes temporary hardships.

Of course there are always more than 5 things that really make us happy. (If there aren’t you better get a piece of paper and get busy trying to figure out what you enjoy!) Pick you’re top 5 things and make sure to put aside an hour a day to do as many as you can. It doesn’t have to be 60 minutes in a row, 15 minutes of exercise, 30 minutes for dinner, 5 for the dog, 10 for the pictures, etc. Just make sure to enjoy the process. If you’re anything like me, your likes and dislikes may change before you reach your goal – that’s okay as long as you take some time to have fun.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Make your day great!

When your day is not going as planned, you need to refocus your thoughts and energy. Instead of getting swept up in the problems of your day, take charge and you can change the direction of your day and your mood as well.

Here are just a few ideas to transform a bad day into a great one:

  1. Keep busy. If your coworkers are annoying you, work harder. Sounds silly doesn’t it? But I’ve used it with success. If I start getting sidetracked by loud talkers, interruptions or other complications, I make the day a race to see how many items I can get done before going home. If working harder makes me look like the best worker in the office and the others look like slackers, so be it. (Note: Do this with an attitude of fun, not a cut-throat desire to succeed.)
  2. Redirect your focus. If your husband is zoned-out, grumpy or just not fun to be around, play with your kids or your pets. You can also read, listen to music, watch TV, take a walk, or any other activity that will get your mind off of things. Usually I find that once I’ve put myself in a better frame of mind by doing something I like that my problems don’t bother me as much.
  3. Write it down and take action. If you’re having money problems, write it down. A lot of money problems are only temporary. Write a list to decide how to solve them; by scrimping for a month or so, putting off a big purchase, or even taking a second job for 6 months. Find what remedy works best for you and enjoy the relief of knowing your problem is being worked on.
  4. Call in reinforcements. Perhaps you simply feel inadequate, worthless or confused by a task you are trying to accomplish. Get help. Ask a friend, family member, or look to the Internet to find someone to assist you. Or simply email a friend for some moral support. Either way you’ll feel better about yourself and be able to move to the next step.
  5. Take a break. I fail at this simple strategy as much as anyone, but when I remember to use it, it is extremely effective. Whenever you are stuck, frustrated or just bored – take a break. Get a snack, do a puzzle, watch a cartoon or whatever else strikes your fancy. After 15 minutes or so you’ll find you are refreshed and whatever you were stuck on will make more sense. (If it doesn’t try another quick break or one of the above steps – whatever helps you the most.)

Don’t let anything stop you from having fun! 15 minutes of fun, especially things that make you laugh, will give you energy and change your perspective. The hardest part is just remembering not to take yourself or your day too seriously.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Smile File: Ethan child genius on Leno.

This is a great video I only came across today. It's a 6 year-old child prodigy Ethan Bortnick on the Jay Leno show. Not only is he an amazing pianist, he's really funny too! (P.S. Watch the volume when it opens - -it starts out loud.)

Superheroes are the cure for bored readers.

Parents who want their children to read sometimes have trouble finding things that excite them enough to pick up a book. Perhaps the kids have a lot of schoolwork or extra-curricular activities. Maybe they aren’t very proficient readers. One option to consider is comic books. Much more than silly stories about costumed heroes, comics are full of characters who not only fight evil to keep the world safe, but also deal with being different, learning about their bodies and powers, and everyday relationships.

You can find comics for young children like those based on Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, The Little Mermaid and others. Older readers will like many of the all-time favorites such as Spiderman, Captain America, Superman and Batman. The wonderful thing about comic books is of course the artwork. Vivid pictures explain the story well to even the weakest reader. The artwork also enhances understanding of what they are reading since it is directly related to the story.

Comics are a great reading opportunity to for children with poor comprehension skills or those who are active and don’t like to sit still for long. They are much shorter than books, there’s a huge variety to choose from, and with new ones coming out every week you can pick up a new story any time.

Check out this great link to see how a class of students introduced to comics enjoyed it and made their own shirts to celebrate. Here is another link to top 20 comics for kids. Also check out Marvel and DC for more. Then get those kids reading!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Blogging Frustration

I’m new to the blogging world – brand new. I haven’t ever had a blog before and have only learned the terminology in the last week. I started a blog on, and a week later I started one on as well. I thought that having two different blogs would help me understand how all the technology works and the different terminology between the two. Boy was I right!

It can get so frustrating. Sure, I’ve learned a ton more than I would have if I had stayed only on Wordpress. They work very differently and take some getting used to. Also, they offer different options from one another. These differences will help me decide what to use once I get some readership and activity going.

It’s all so time-consuming! Wow. Writing the articles is the easy part. It’s setting everything up, checking and re-checking to see that it looks right, and adding tags, labels and other descriptions so people can find me.

I like writing, but could never seem to stay focused on a book. Even though I love other people’s books; characters and ideas just never seemed to form into a good story for me. I played with the idea of writing greeting cards, but it’s hard to get started in the business, so it’s kind of on the back burner.

Blogging, though new to me, has really captured my attention. I love the idea of sharing your thoughts, ideas, and knowledge with others. It’s exciting how the comments can really develop an idea, or introduce a new idea. The feedback from others is definitely the best part - - now if I can only get some feedback on my blogs!

Thanks for reading everyone. Please send me your thoughts and comments

A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new. Albert Einstein

Monday, September 3, 2007

Why are comedians so depressed?

In light of recent news that Owen Wilson, the Hollywood actor/comedian who allegedly attempted suicide, I began to wonder about depression and how to spot it in friends or family. I’d like to use this as an opportunity to be more aware of those around us, and to motivate us to give an extra hug or smile. To do some small thing to let those we care about know we love them.

I see this as an example not all depression may be recognized through classic symptoms like withdrawal, fatigue or heightened emotional levels of sadness and anxiety. It’s interesting to note that former comedians like John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Richard Jeni had problems in life that some believe were linked to their depression. At the same time it seemed that friends and family felt that because their loved ones were so happy and playful that nothing was wrong.

I’ve been surprised in the past that many former comedians have suffered from drug and alcohol abuse, suicide attempts and other problems. I think many people, including myself, see these people as funny, smiling and always happy. If we have friends and family that are this way, we may miss signs that something is wrong. Perhaps we will brush off our uneasiness by thinking that they are having a bad day, maybe they are tired or overworked.

Here is a web site with a list of comedians that suffer or have suffered from depression. I was surprised by the list. Even if everyone you know seems fine, you may want to reach out to someone to let them know you love them. There’s no time like the present! I’ve hardly ever regretted sharing a kindness or doing something for a friend, but there have been many times I have regretted NOT doing it. Let’s take some hope from a possible tragic event and turn it into a positive. To help you get started here are some great web sites with tips on just that. Now go give your loved one a hug!
70 simple ways to brighten someone’s day.
101 ways to ways to make someone smile and make yourself feel good.
Ideas and stories of how kindness touched the lives of both receiver and giver.

Escape into a good book.

When I started out, reading in school as a kid, I read mostly what the teacher recommended or something really popular. As a teen, I read lots of horror novels, mainly Stephen King. (This was largely the result of my mother reading these and having them available, but they were good books – especially the early ones.) I have always loved to disappear into a good book. When I was a kid, I used reading to tune out on others things; my brother and sister fighting, or my mom watching the soap operas she recorded. I wouldn’t even hear people talking to me, and many times had to be called to dinner five times before I responded.

This habit followed me into adulthood as well. I could sit anywhere, even if people were talking or a radio was playing, and read without a problem. I would get so engrossed in a great story, that when my husband was talking me to me I wouldn’t even hear him. As his irritation with this grew, I realized I had to stop. Now, I actually put down the book when someone starts talking to me, but it’s still a great way to escape if I need to.

My preferences in reading changed too. In the past I read the same style of books over and over. Now I read lots of things, fantasy, suspense, pre-historic, paranormal, and of course, children’s books. Yes, the first time I went to get a children’s book as an adult I felt very conspicuous (I didn’t even have a child with me). But after the initial unease, and after reading the first few, I realized this was a great genre. For one thing, children’s authors can’t write a slow story. The kids would put it down and pick up a video game instead. So their stories are very action-packed and detail oriented. The other great thing is that fact that they’re written for children. Many of them are scary, exciting and hilarious all in the same book. Because that’s how kids experience life – all at once.

I’m sure many of you don’t like these types of books; maybe you like reading newspapers, or doing puzzles, or just a biography or two. That’s great! Go for it! There’s really something out there for everyone. Even if you only read for help – such as a crafting book or a handyman guide, reading will expand your vision and bring insight into your life.

Here are just a few of my favorite authors and books

  • Dean Koontz – Life Expectancy, Velocity, The Taking, Hideaway, Fear Nothing, and many, many more.

  • James Rollins – Excavation, Subterranean, Deep Fathom, Amazonia and Ice Hunt. Great adventure/thrill writer.

  • Kathleen & W. Michael Gear – The First North Americans Series. There are many, many books by this great duo. They offer great adventures into the pre-historic past. Writing that is very detailed with vibrant characters.

  • J.K. Rowling – all of her wonderful Harry Potter series. I vote for this most vigorously simply because her books got so many kids reading again. Enchanting and exciting, a must read for fantasy lovers.

  • Eoin Colfer – The Artemis Fowl series. A fun, imaginative and intriguing adventure with a 12 year old boy genius and fairy folk of the sort you haven’t met in an average tale. A great tale with all the technology any Internet geek could want, this is not your usual fairy tale.

Of course there are many, many more. Those will be left for another day. For now, here’s hoping you’ve found a good book to sink into, while I go slip into one of my own.

Abandon the search for Truth, settle for a good fantasy.

Put some funny into your life!

One of my favorite things to do nowadays is to read funny web sites, blogs, and newsletters. So many days, things either seem really dull, or little problems and irritants bring me down. One new solution for me is to read or watch something funny. I love You Tube’s many parodies, The Happiness Project blog, and web sites like Happy News.

I’ve read several good books too; one of my many favorites is A Whack On The Side Of the Head by Roger van Oech. I also love Laffirmations by Joel Goodman, and the funny books by Barbara Johnson, author of Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy. All of these books offer insight into why adding laughter and fun into your life will help you copy with any illness, disease, money problems or even divorce. There is nothing that can’t be made better with a little laughter.

There are so many great articles and web sites out there to check out. Here are just a few (in no particular order):

  • Why Work Stress IS a Laughing Matter! By Mike Kerr. Work stress takes a huge toll on our physical and mental well-being. Find out why laughter and a positive sense of humour (or heck, humor) truly is the best medicine when it comes to managing our work stress.

Well I hope this information is helpful or at least interesting. Feel free to leave comments and share your best funny sites or books with me. Have a fun-filled day!

If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my brand-new blog! I'm just learning, so please bear with me as I adjust my blog to the right look and feel. I've had a blog for a week on, feel free to stop by and take a look. (I'll be reposting many of the same articles here once I get this going). Visit me at

Just so you wouldn’t get too bored in the beginning, I’ll list a few things I've already written. If you're tired of the problems, bad news and worries you see in the news and Internet everyday, stop by here for a fresh perspective. My emphasis will be on living a happier life. You know, looking at the brighter side of things. Not getting dragged into the seriousness of everyday living.

Why you ask? Because life is hard enough as it is! Why do we all need to dwell on our problems and watch them on TV? Does it help? Not for me anyway. I’d rather focus on the positive. One of the reasons for me to finally start a blog is all the great blogs I’ve read in the past year or two. Happiness is now an actual field of scientific study. I’ve enjoyed learning about humor and laughter therapy and I want to share that with all of you.

My other goal will be to encourage more people to read. I LOVE books! But it seems that many people no longer enjoy them the way they once did. No one has time anymore. However, the writers of today are more varied, more vibrant, and more exciting than ever before. Reading (and comprehension) help people in everyday life (especially at work) and plus it’s just fun! If reading isn’t fun for you, there’s something you’re missing.

So take a look, find something that interests you and let me know! I’ve never done this before, so be patient while I learn how to add photos, videos and other fun stuff. Hopefully I’ll pick it up quickly. If you like what I have to say, let me know so I can write more.

Here’s hoping for a few new friends!