Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween night: Parade of kids poem.

Pitter-patter go little feet
Rushing eagerly down the street
Here a witch, there a ghost
Costumed children from coast to coast

With happy hearts they rush to your door
And although you haven’t seen them before
You hand out candy, and laugh out loud
At this silly, funny little crowd

The hatless cowboy with boots too big
The fairy princess who’s loosing her wig
A round orange pumpkin, cheery and bright

A glowing new bride, all dressed in white

“Trick or Treat!” they cry, opening their arms wide
They stand on tiptoe, peering inside
You drop in their goodies; they’re off like a flash
With a mumbled “Thank You”, to the next house they dash

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Imagination is power.

Roald Dahl’s characters Uploaded on March 12, 2006 by javic

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Albert Einstein
US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

This quote has stuck with me for much of my life. I’ve always admired the fact that a scientist and genius like Einstein recognized the value of imagination. Some days it seems like people are trying to rid the world of imagination by getting rid of music, art, recess and the other fun free time where children explore, learn and grow.

Imagination is a sense of adventure. Remember when a cardboard box was a time machine, a rocket ship, or a ship sailing the high seas? When is the last time you looked at a box and saw what it could be instead of the “reality” of what it is?

One of my favorite childhood authors is Roald Dahl. My favorite book is the BFG (or Big Friendly Giant). Not only was it entertaining adventure, but this book had a language all its own. So popular in fact, that his web site has a game of Gobblefunking just so you can learn to talk like the BFG. It’s a grandtastic example of noodling your noggin.

Calvin and Hobbes made a big impact on me as a child too. Calvin’s imagination had no limits. He was a space explorer, a time traveler, philosopher and artist extraordinaire. Reading Calvin as a child I could totally relate to how he viewed the world. I knew stuffed animals could come alive and it made perfect sense that you could become invisible or get lost in the jungle in your own backyard.

Be playful, explore, experiment and have fun. Look for dinosaur eggs during your next visit to a cave system. Listen to the musical crunching of leaves as you walk and draw the purple unicorns and kind-hearted dragons that live in your mind. Eat candy for dinner, make up your own songs or write a poem. Let your mind wander where it will – you’ll be amazed at what you discover!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Appreciate your family.

We all have problems with our families. We often live apart and endure long distance relationships, or have mothers and in-laws who are too nosy, deal with sibling rivalry, or have those lazy relatives who mooch off of everyone. Might as well enjoy them – you’re stuck with them anyway. Why not make the best of it?

How you might ask? Ah, now that is not a simple answer. First off, I would encourage you to stop trying to change them. Yes, I know it’s hard, I struggle with it myself at times. But people who are bossy, selfish, loud, rude, and cheap don’t typically like to be lectured or criticized anymore than you do. It only adds to the irritation for both of you and doesn’t promote peace.

If you have a cheap uncle, don’t ask him to bring the wine or dessert. Put your loud brother in charge of entertaining the kids or manning the barbeque. Put the bossy mother-in-law in the kitchen and let her organize the meal. Write letters and cards to the loud or rude relatives instead of calling. Work with their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses.

Remember you have to deal with these people for a long, long time to come. Making an extra effort can make all the difference. If you really want harmony in the family, consider being the one to apologize, even if you feel you are right. Just say, “I’m sorry we haven’t talked much lately. I miss you and would like to get together more often.” Be aware that you don’t have to spend time with everyone in your family. It’s totally up to you.

Sometimes just taking that first step is all it takes. If two people are stubbornly fighting each other and one decides not to argue anymore, it leaves room for change. Calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a while or taking on responsibility for a reunion can go a long way. And when their quirks and habits annoy and irritate you, you can smile since you know they will be gone in a few hours or a few days. It may even help you appreciate your spouse and children more than before. Good luck!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Why it’s no fun to be a zombie.

In honor of Halloween, here's a short poem by yours truly. (I have to get back into the habit, this is an oldie. Be gentle.)

Your knees knock together and you shuffle your feet
As you prowl in search of a tasty treat

Branches like fingers, claw and grab
Like some freakish experiment from a madman’s lab

Shrieks and moans fill the air
Venture closer if you dare

It’s Halloween and the moon is bright
What strange things lurk in its eerie light?

Happy Halloween my little monsters! Don’t forget, this is for one night only. Read why that’s important in this great little article “Why Zombies Don’t Smile,” by Greg Kuhn. There’s a good reason we don’t want to be like zombies every day of the year.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pet Fun.

Mary Eppstein with dog Mimi Uploaded on October 25, 2007 by mikebaird

For all you pet lovers out there, here are some of my favorite web sites, cartoons, videos, greeting cards and more. Hope you have a good chuckle!

  1. Mr. Winkle. What is Mr. Winkle? A dog, a teddy-bear? Some new hybrid species? Find out the truth at the hilarious web site here.
  2. All Happy Pets. These great photos make you giggle just looking at them. Imagine visiting wearing a t-shirt, sending a greeting card or other great product. Check them out here.
  3. Twisted Whiskers. Calendars, greeting cards, tote bags and more. I swear I’ve seen big eyes like this every day at dinnertime. Check out this fun site here.
  4. Dress the dog. This funny web site is a great blues buster. Just playing around with the different outfits and looks will have you laughing and smiling. Go here for more.
  5. Instructions for washing a cat. Just typing that made me smile. Go here to see step-by-step details.
  6. Pet cartoons. Some of my favorites are Mother Goose & Grim, Garfield, Snoopy from Peanuts and the Far Side (I like animals of all kinds).
  7. Finally there are two funny pet trick videos from You Tube. (I tried posting them to Blogger, but had some trouble). Who wouldn’t laugh to see a scuba-diving cat and a skateboarding dog?

Hope you enjoyed this tour of pet fun. Now go give your favorite animal a little love! :0)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007





That is essentially what fun is all about. It’s about letting go. Just enjoying the moment and forgetting your worries and problems. Your problems won’t disappear just because you take a minute or two to have a laugh. No, they’ll be right there waiting for you when you’re done.

So go ahead, stand on your head, have a silly face contest with your cat, watch Scooby Doo or the Flintstones. Relax and let go. Have dessert before dinner, blow bubbles for your dog, read Mother Goose & Grimm or play your kid’s video game. Fun is about letting your hair down, taking it easy, breathing deeply and lots and lots of laughter.

Some say having fun is overrated, but let me tell you – they’re lying! Fun is the opposite of serious. It means loosening up, in body and mind, and feeling at peace. Fun doesn’t always mean being silly or acting like a child. It is simply doing activities that you enjoy, that make you smile or feel good. It could be reading a book, taking a nap, or even watching TV (as long as it’s not the news).

We all crave fun. When we let the rules slide, even temporarily, we feel creative and energetic. You know you’re having fun when you start a project and next thing you know it is 8 hours later you’re spouse is calling you for dinner. Only something that totally engages all your senses can captivate you so thoroughly.

If you haven’t had fun in a while, or need a refresher, check out my top ten ways to have fun outdoors and 10 cheap ways to have fun. Also check out my other web site (Brighter Days for you and me!) and my Increase your fun page. Good luck and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

PSP’s aren’t just for kids.

I love technology; computers, big-screen LCD TV’s, portable cell phones and all those fun gadgets. I love playing video games too. When I was a kid I used to love going to the laundry mat because the owner had a Pac-Man arcade game and an air hockey table. My brother and I would save our quarters up and play for hours.

The PSP game system by Sony has lots of features other than games. It has an MP3 player so you can save your favorite songs, and you can add videos and pictures as well. One of the first things I did was to load my system with favorite funny pictures and a few goofy songs. At my last job I did a lot of data input and was able to listen to CD's while I worked. Whenever I had a hard day those cartoon theme songs or a little ditty about a purple people eater would make me smile.

You can also watch movies on your PSP or do a puzzle. It’s so easy to do one or two while you’re in the dentist’s waiting room or sitting in your car. I love the number game Sudoku, and I just got a game called Puzzle Challenge. It has crosswords, word searches, logic games and more. You can also get the classic arcade games like Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig-Dug. There are tons of other games as well.

Oh and did I mention that you can web surf as well? I have tried it on mine just to see what it could do. I admit the screen is a bit small for the Internet, and a bit slow. But it could be very useful for getting directions on the road, looking up a pizza place while on vacation, or checking your email. It’s just one more accessory for you to use.

Because the PSP uses a memory card, you can upgrade the system to hold more data. You can also save your pictures and songs with the PSP Media manager on your computer so you can change them whenever you want. What mom doesn’t want to carry around a slideshow of her kids? Who wouldn’t enjoy a game of solitaire while waiting for the doctor? All in all it’s a very versatile machine and a lot of fun. Try it for yourself.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Some G-rated squeaky-clean jokes.

1. How Do You Catch a Unique Rabbit?
Unique Up On It.

2. How Do You Catch a Tame Rabbit?
Tame Way, Unique Up On It.

3. How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest ?
They Take The Psycho Path

4. How Do You Get Holy Water?
You Boil The Hell Out Of It.

5. What Do Fish Say When They Hit a Concrete Wall?

6. What Do Eskimos Get From Sitting On The Ice too Long?

7. What Do You Call a Boomerang That Doesn't work?
A Stick

8.. What Do You Call Cheese That Isn't Yours?
Nacho Cheese.

9.. What Do You Call Santa's Helpers?
Subordinate Clauses.

10. What Do You Call Four Bullfighters In Quicksand?
Quattro Sinko..

11. What Do You Get From a Pampered Cow?
Spoiled Milk.

12. What Do You Get When You Cross a Snowman W ith a Vampire?

13. What Lies At The Bottom Of The Ocean And Twitches?
A Nervous Wreck.

14. What's The Difference Between Roast Beef And Pea Soup?
Anyone Can Roast Beef.

15. Where Do You Find a Dog With No Legs?
Right Where You Left Him.

16. Why Do Gorillas Have Big Nostrils?
Because They Have Big Fingers.

17. Why Don't Blind People Like To Sky Dive?
Because It Scares The Dog.

18. What Kind Of Coffee Was Served On The Titanic?

19. What Is The Difference Between a Harley And a Hoover ?
The Location Of The Dirt Bag.

20. Why Did Pilgrims' Pants Always Fall Down?
Because They Wore Their Belt Buckle On Their Hat.

21. What's The Difference Between a Bad Golfer And a Bad Skydiver?
A Bad Golfer Goes, Whack, Dang!
A Bad Skydiver Goes Dang! Whack.

22. How Are a Texas Tornado And a Tennessee Divorce The Same?
Somebody's Gonna Lose A Trailer

Friday, October 19, 2007

Freaky Friday Fun - Why evil is so gosh-darned fun!

Thanos by Corvusonline.

Halloween is almost here, and with the temperatures dropping and darkness creeping in earlier each night, one is drawn into the web of mystery and terror that is evil. Not evil as in real-life bad guys out to get you (think IRS agents and the cable company), but those deliciously naughty men who revel in telling it like it is, with no B/S or politically correct nonsense.

Movie and book villains are so wonderfully appalling because they are so utterly different from anything we know in our daily lives (thank goodness). They break numerous laws without getting caught, and wear the most bizarre clothing and accessories ever seen. These guys plot and plan with such intensity they could have been millionaires ten times over if only they had applied their genius to another field.

Bad guys attract us with their superior confidence and then keep us captive with ropes, chains or laser-tracking guns aimed at our heads. They show us the extreme opposite of good and by doing so allow us to forgive our own blunders and mistakes and those of others. What’s a forgotten birthday card compared to destroying the planet with a plague of zombies intent on eating our brains?

So You’ve Decided to be Evil is a hilarious romp through the minds of madmen of every type and variety. Based on Neil Zawacki’s great book (which I own); How to be a Villain: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans, and More! With its eye-opening sections such as “The Forces of Darkness,” where you quiz yourself on your evil tendencies and find out how to choose your own nefarious nickname, this site is a must-read.

If you’ve ever wondered how ruthless criminal masterminds get there start, you’ll find this site to be very revealing. Don’t miss “Fashion for the Evil Doer,” and of course “Careers for the Evil Doer,” will get you started with job opportunities. This enlightening guide to the odd and bizarre world of evil masterminds and dark overlords will have you guffawing and grinning in minutes. Check it out today!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Healthy fun.

Isn’t it amazing that some of us need a prod to have fun? Why in the world should we need a push or a reminder to do things we enjoy? (Personally I’d rather get a good push on the swing set!) We need to stop believing that working harder equals doing better. We need to stop believing that if we’re enjoying ourselves we’re not really working. Some of these outdated beliefs come from our parents and grandparents. Others are passed on by society.

The world travels at such a fast pace, many of us have trouble keeping up. We feel compelled to have the newest gadgets, the latest products and to do something great, to be noticed. During all that hustle and bustle we get overworked and stressed. We forget that work and home and computers are just stuff. We forget to relax, play, smile and enjoy our journey.

Fun is healthy for us in so many ways. Fun activities often include movement, whether we’re playing a game of basketball with our kids, dancing to some music, or riding the Ferris wheel at the state fair. Fun also relieves stress. Science has proven over and over that laughter lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system and produces endorphins that elevate our mood. How much more incentive do we need?

Fun helps us mentally too. Experiments have proven that after viewing a funny movie we are more flexible and open to new ideas. We’re more likely to view circumstances in a positive light. Yet still we are held back by fear of being seen as foolish. As someone who has suffered that myself, let me reassure you. You will feel silly, stupid and like you’re wasting your time. People will tell you so. Don’t listen to them!

After consistently scheduling fun into my life and reading and learning about the many scientific benefits of laughter, positive thinking and an optimistic outlook, I can tell you I regret far more how long it took me to loosen up, than whether a few friends and relatives think I’m weird. Those people are usually much too serious themselves, and wouldn’t know a good time if it bit them on the butt.

Fun helps me every day to be grateful for what I have (and sometimes what I don’t). It enables me to enjoy a movie on a rainy day or my favorite CD in a traffic jam. It lets me celebrate every family get together, even if they only come every couple of years. Fun helps me savor my good times and reminds me that those bad days aren’t as numerous as I thought.

Fun is a great motivator too. Every time you have a chore you don’t want to do, or a job you don’t like, you can remember that 1 hour of cleaning now will give you 5 hours of free fun time this week. And that job you dislike pays for your action movies, concert tickets and new shoes. When you are aware of the numerous benefits of fun, I think you’ll begin to look for it and put more into your life.

Swingset soaring
Originally uploaded by khosey1

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Family Fun is great.

I used to subscribe to Family Fun magazine even though I don’t have any children of my own. I started using it when I was a “Big Sister” in United Way’s Big Brothers & Big Sisters organization. It was also great for ideas on how to entertain my nieces and nephews when they visited.

Recently while in a dentist’s waiting room, I picked up another issue to pass the time. And I found out it’s still as great as ever. Packed full of craft projects, kid-friendly recipes, book reviews, it’s a great read. Some of the ideas I noticed where the summer snapshot shirt which gave step-by-step instructions to record your summer fun on a t-shirt. Another great idea is their amusement park updates that list the newest and coolest rides and include park prices.

Reading magazines like this is great inspiration for fun ideas and new things to do. Perfect for families, craft groups, girl scouts, or just those looking for a new adventure. The web site is currently running an ad for 74% off subscription price, so this is a deal you shouldn’t pass up. Check it out today!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Legends & Folklore.

Medusa Uploaded on January 7, 2007 by Serge Melki

When the trees begin reaching out with skeletal arms, fires crackle in every home and masked hoodlums invade your home in search of candy, I am reminded of legends and folklore passed down by parents and grandparents alike.

Many of us remember tales about a haunted house down the street, ghosts in the nearby cemetery, or even a simple childhood story of good and evil. The history of such tales is rooted in past days when whole families could not read or did not own a book. In order to teach values to the children, or warn them away from the unsafe situations, many parents passed down their own stories and folklore.

The fact that such story-telling is with us today is a testament to their effectiveness and value. Such stories were told and retold many times, receiving embellishment that enhanced, not detracted from the moral of the story. Additionally, these stories are pure entertainment. Told in times when winters were long, and radio and TV were not widely available, if around at all.

I enjoy reading and listening to such yarns. They are often full of local history as well as full of action and intrigue. They capture the imagination, and when told at night in the flickering firelight can leave a lasting impression. They are full of heroes and villains, the wary and unwary. Full of far-away adventures and vivid descriptions they are just plain fun to hear.

My favorites for the last few years are from the guys at Weird U.S. They have collected fun and interesting tales from every state. It’s an interesting read, I even found a few that I knew from growing up in Maryland. Some are scary, others are silly, but they’re all fun. Check some out today.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Smile File: How to be a famous blogger.

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Villains rule on Halloween.

Vader and Fett Uploaded on September 4, 2006 by Olaf

Am I the only one who has a soft side for those crazy, deranged, poorly-dressed bad guys? You know the fiendishly clever gals and guys whose dearest wish in life is to have complete domination over the world and lots of minions to order around. Villains are so fun to me because they get to do all the “no-no” things the good guys can’t.

They can say what they want without worrying about hurting people’s feelings and they get to wear leather and lots of black. They have really cool names too like The Black Widow or Lord Chaos. Plus they don’t get ignored or taken for granted because they’ll just burn down their house or be cursed with a bad luck spell.

The best villains are the ones who are totally confident in their ability to take down their enemies and rule the world. It’s not all egos either; these people work hard to get the money and army of undead to fight their way to victory.

I’m reminded of a great book I read once, "How to be a villain; evil laughs, secret lairs, master plans, and more." All you ever needed to know about being a super villain. What to wear, how to choose a name, where to put your secret headquarters and how to choose your henchmen.

Of course choosing your favorite villain is hard. There are movie villains, cartoon villains, book villains and of course comic book villains are in a class by themselves. Here are a few sites for some more fun:

Top 25 Greatest Movie Villains (from Time)

Top 10 Comic Villains

Some of my favorite cartoon villains:

  • Dick Dastardly from Wacky Races
  • The ghouls and zombies on Scooby Doo
  • Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam and Marvin the Martian from Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes
  • Plankton on Spongebob Squarepants
  • Slade on Teen Titans

Who are your favorites?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Be creative and break the rules.

Giant baby Uploaded on March 11, 2007 by Greencolander

I used to believe that being creative meant being a famous artist, a musical composer or even a movie director. Now I understand that anyone who does something in a new way, or even views the world differently is creative. The mother sewing a Halloween costume for her child, the would-be inventor with his drawings and software programs, or the sister blessed with a knack for floral arranging are all creative.

The Internet has been a fascinating medium to display and promote so many highly innovative artists. Some of my favorites have been the hyper-realistic sculptures of Ron Mueck, the teeny tiny art on a pinhead from Willard Wigan and the driftwood horses of Heather Jansch. These unique and imaginative artists inspire us with their dedication to detail and distinctive designs.

The great thing about being creative is that you get to break all the rules. Color outside the lines; make the grass purple and the sky red. It’s your individual vision. Use clay, crayons, copper wire, or old forks. Make artwork so small it has to be viewed under a microscope, or give new life to dead, dried up pieces of wood. Your masterpiece is up to you. Construct whatever distinctive and extraordinary visions your mind can come up with. You get to decide. Experiment and try something new. You never know what you’ll discover.

As always, I have a few more lovely web sites to share the joy of creativity with you. These will stimulate your brain cells and get you thinking:

Creativity for life

Robert Alan Black

Jig Zone (online jigsaw puzzles)

Web Sudoku online

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Top Ten ways to have fun outdoors.

Playgrounds these days Uploaded on February 22, 2007 by pfly

It’s been a long, hot summer. Now that things are about to cool off, it makes me want to get outside and do something. Here are 10 ideas to get you into the fresh air:

  1. Go to the playground. Swing, slide and run around.
  2. Take your dog to the dog park. It’s always good for a laugh.
  3. Go on a sight-seeing cruise on a glass-bottom boat.
  4. Skateboard, bike ride, or jump on a trampoline.
  5. Roll down a hill into a pile of leaves.
  6. Play hide-and-go-seek with 10 friends. Try flashlight tag at night.
  7. Find the tallest building near your home and go to the top for a look.
  8. For some excitement try white-water rafting, skydiving or hot-air ballooning.
  9. Go camping. Even in your backyard you can see the stars.
  10. Go to every fair, festival and celebration you can find before winter arrives.

Bonus ideas:

  • Ambush your friends with a Super Soaker water cannon.
  • Get a glow-in-the-dark basketball for late night games.
  • Have a three-legged race. Winner picks dinner.
  • Cloud watch with a friend.
  • Dig for gemstones. Go to a quarry and look for gold.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I want to be a dreamer and a silly-heart.

Halloween_K Uploaded on December 6, 2005 by chad050

One of my favorite funny movies is Uncle Buck. Childish, irresponsible Buck Russell is asked to take care of his nieces and nephew while his brother attends a funeral. One of my favorite scenes is when Uncle Buck is talking to 6 year-old Maizy’s school principle. She tells him that “She is a dreamer and a silly-heart. I doubt she takes one thing in her career at this school seriously.”

Like Buck, I don’t want to see any “serious” 6 year-olds. The joy of childhood is short and too easily forgotten. The playfulness, their open attitude, a willingness to see the good in people and enjoy the moment are hallmarks of the young. Too many adults have forgotten they were ever children at all. Indeed, some of them are so severe and close-minded I wonder if they were ever young.

Let’s not let the magic of childhood disappear. Our imaginations are one of our most important skills. Lack of imagination means fewer new ideas, repeating the same mistakes over again and leads to a dull mind. Daydreams let us “play” inside our heads where no one else can intrude. We can have a mini vacation in the Caribbean or invent a car that can drive itself. All it takes is a willingness to be a little silly.

Instead of believing it when we see it, we can believe it and then see it. It gives us the advantage on our competition because our life view helps us see things that others wouldn’t. Two people looking at the exact same scene see two totally different things. It could help you design a new product, start your own company, or write the next best-selling novel. You’ll never know unless you try. So start dreaming today!

Monday, October 8, 2007

See it as already broken.

I just broke my favorite mug Uploaded on June 8, 2006 by berbercarpet

We all have trouble with attachment. We have things we love, maybe a chair, a beautiful picture, or a favorite drinking glass. This teaching from Buddhist thinking helps us to see our favorite things are already broken, or already gone. The purpose of this is not only to keep us from taken our possessions for granted, but also to prepare for their eventual ruin.

Most of us go through our days without really perceiving all that we have. We don’t appreciate how soft our blanket is, the taste of our dinner, or the beauty of the art on our walls. Our mind is too full of work, chores, planning and thinking to leave room for awareness. The advantage of seeing these things as already broken is that we appreciate it now, while it is whole and useful.

Take a look around and notice the things you love - your baby’s 1st birthday photo, your favorite NFL team clock, your TV and computer. How about your favorite comfy jeans, your CD and DVD collection, or even your preferred brand of potato chip. Just take a moment to enjoy the fact that you have them. Noticing and appreciating all you already have will make your life seem fuller. You’ll want less because you’ll realize how much you already have.

Now prepare yourself for the day it’s gone. Maybe you have a fire or a water leak. Perhaps someone breaks into your home and steals it. Possibly your child or dog breaks something by accident. Recognize that nothing is indestructible. Knowing that, you can prepare yourself for life’s eventual mishaps. The chance of losing something you love will help you relish and savor it right now. Then if it does eventually disappear you will have many more happy memories to cherish.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Blog love: Sharing the links

There are so many great ideas, thoughts, and unique perspectives out there. In order for us to learn and grow it’s important to read something new and experience new things. So here are a few blog carnivals that I’ve submitted to that I think you might enjoy. Check them out for interesting insights and maybe a laugh or two.

Carnival of life, happiness and meaning

Carnival of observations on life

Carnival of struggling, bumbling newbies

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Smile File: The cynic

Not Grumpy Uploaded on February 16, 2006 by Yogi

“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.”
H. L. Mencken US editor (1880 - 1956)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Freaky Friday Fun!

Pumpkin 012 Uploaded on January 29, 2007 by Uriah Welcome

Since Halloween is soon to arrive and I find it hilarious fun, I thought I’d include some freaky fun every Friday for the month of October. What is your favorite part of Halloween? Being scared? Getting candy? Pumpkin carving? Costumes?

Halloween has been attacked and maligned in the last decade or so by well-meaning but misguided adults. One night of make-believe and dressing up like a witch will not turn your child to the dark side. In my estimate, at least 90% of the people who participate in Halloween do it solely for the atmosphere of fun! It’s a chance to be different – learning how a pirate talks, putting on the fancy dress and jewelry of a princess, or dreaming up a silly outfit like “Smarty Pants.”

The parties and candy are part of the allure. To get together with friends, eating, playing games and having a good time are ingrained into the Halloweens I remember from my youth. Trick-or-treating door to door in the dark of night, held a slightly fearful fascination for me. Although I knew I was perfectly safe as my mom or dad waited on the sidewalk with a flashlight, the anticipation of visiting a stranger’s door was tinged with fear of the unknown.

Since I’m currently living nowhere near any children to entertain this Halloween, I hope some of you reading this will share your Halloween fun with me! Send me pictures of your children’s costume, and share your funniest moments here. I’d love to hear from you.

To get your Halloween planning started off right, here are a few spooktacular links:

Costume Ideas

Halloween Party Ideas

Frightfully Good Recipes

Pumpkin Carving Tips

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Watch what you say.

Speak no evil Uploaded on July 20, 2006 by matrianklw

Your words have power. What are yours saying? Do you speak with energy, enthusiasm, appreciation and love? It is often hard to do, but the rewards are immense. Being kind with your words, being clear in your speech, and patiently listening to the other person are reflections of a confident, respectful person. The kind of person I want myself to be. I frequently fall short of this goal by saying things without thinking, but I am working to improve.

Every day we interact with other people. We have repeated chances to be share good news, compliments, funny stories and add joy to our speech. We have the opportunity to listen and understand, and to learn about each other. I find that when I understand someone, I am usually better able to talk to them on their wavelength and get a positive result in return. Certainly this is hard to do, with all the distractions of a busy work environment, and constant interruptions, but since it works so well, it’s worth trying when you get the chance.

I would dearly love to give you wonderful tools and techniques to accomplish all of this, but all I have is my own experience. I often forget the power of my words, and utter mundane, dull or brainless things. How many times have I let my mood affect my words? When I don’t feel well, if I’ve had a bad day, I snap and growl at people around me. Later I feel guilty for starting a fight or hurting someone just to release some of my own pain.

I’m not a professional speaker, but hopefully I can share a few tips to help you pay attention to your words and your intention. One way is to acknowledge what you are feeling. I often write a description of my emotions and state of mind. Just writing it down helps me to see it for what it is – justified anger, irrational anger, job stress, or lack of energy. Once I’ve done that I can take action. Make a plan to talk with someone about the issue, take a break to re-set my mind from a bad day, or eat something so I’m energized.

It may seem so simple to do, but when you’re tired, over-worked, or distracted it can be the hardest thing to remember. Other solutions are to count to ten before speaking, or simply say “You might be right.” Both are hard to do in the heat of the moment, but don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to practice. (I know I do.) By simply thinking more about what you are saying, you are less likely to lash-out or verbally attack someone. Speaking in a more loving and positive tone will make your day more pleasant and keep you in a good frame of mind. Just as “you are what you eat,” you are also what you speak.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Give yourself some credit.

Another smile Uploaded on September 12, 2006 by Ferdinand Reus

Many of us have an ongoing problem with negative self-talk. We criticism and belittle ourselves, getting upset at broken promises, harsh words, and errors and mistakes. We hold ourselves to a high standard, often much higher than what we expect of others. Often this habit is unconscious, as when you’re trying skiing for the first time and tell yourself “You can’t do this, you’ll fall,” or “Aren’t you too old to be learning this?”

So in an effort to stop our negative thinking, let’s replace it with something else. Start keeping track of everything you’re doing right. Every bill paid on time, every day you exercise, eat well and get enough sleep. The money you put into savings, the renovating you’ve done to your home, every time you’re nice to someone for no reason.

Write it down and keep a journal. Mentally give yourself a “Good job!” Make a pact with your partner or best friend to recognize and congratulate each other for the good things you’ve done. At the same time, each time your negative thoughts pop up, mentally tell yourself “No!” or “Stop it.” Look at your growing list and be proud of all you have accomplished.

Sure, some of you might say – “But we need to do pay the bills and eat healthy, it’s our job as mature adults.” That may be true, but this isn’t really a list of right or wrong. This is simply one technique to get rid of a bad habit. Repeated negative self-talk wears us down and makes it harder for us to be enthusiastic and positive. It can blind us to our strengths and make us grouchy and irritated.

We may not be able to control whether we have to work overtime, what the traffic is like or another person’s attitude. Why not do something about what we can change. Making a simple effort to notice what we do right will not only help us feel better about ourselves, but also make us more aware of the positive things others do. We will be more compassionate and forgiving, of ourselves and our friends. Why not give it a try for a month and see what happens?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Express your love – don’t hold it in!

A message Uploaded on July 15, 2005 by naama

I’ve had many occasions where because I expected something from the other person, maybe attention, praise, or approval, I held back my own expressions of love. Usually I regret my choice not to share. We are all so busy, and we don’t get to visit our friends and family nearly as much as we’d like. Then when we’re together, we squander our chance to share smiles, joy and laughter because our own expectations get in the way.

Expressing your love, freely and openly, without needing approval nor wanting acknowledgment is a source of great joy and satisfaction. Whenever I practice giving out love, regardless of whether the person “deserves” it or not, I invariably feel happy and good. It’s like that saying “Be the change you want in the world.” I’ve hardly ever regretted sharing a hug, a kind word, a helping hand or encouragement.

I think the worst reaction I may have gotten was a person who was grumpy to begin with that stayed grouchy even after a hug or offer of assistance. But I can’t remember being rejected outright. Even the most bad-tempered person will grudgingly accept a hug, an offer for dinner or thank you for a kindness. Several times I’ve had these people come to me later and thank me profusely while apologizing for their behavior.

I don’t practice this attitude as much as I would like. I get annoyed, irritated and frustrated by problems in my day. I hurry and scurry to work, the store and home again; totally ignoring the chance to smile at a cashier, joke with my co-worker or hug my spouse. Often I want someone else to start the process of giving love, not recognizing that by starting it myself I create that beautiful ripple effect.

I love blogging, because by writing these ideas for fun, laughter and more enjoyment in your life, I remind myself to do the same in mine. To keep the idea alive, here are some quick ways to show your love:

  1. Do a chore like washing the dishes or taking out the trash before your spouse has a chance to do it.
  2. Smile at other drivers, your bank teller or your boss.
  3. When you visit family, be the first to give a huge hug.
  4. Share a funny commercial or joke with a coworker.
  5. Take your elderly parent to the zoo, out to dinner or for a drive in the country.
  6. Write a loving letter to a friend or family member at least once a year.
  7. Buy movie tickets for a long-distance friend; go to the movie on the same day, then call or email to compare notes.
  8. Buy flowers on unexpected occasions like April Fools Day or Labor Day. Send it to someone who needs cheering up.

Links to life, happiness and meaning

We are all looking for more ways to add life, happiness and meaning to our lives. To do that we need to exchange ideas and see what works for us and what doesn’t. I’ve recently submitted an article to Carnival #19. Check out some of the great articles to help you get inspired to live a fuller, happier life today.

Topics include: Stop Worrying About Your Future, Reducing Stress, Giving Yourself Alone Time, Take Responsibility and Take Action, and Three Ways to Love What You Do.

Monday, October 1, 2007

10 cheap ways to have fun.

Loose change 2 Uploaded on October 9, 2006 by jswieringa

I’m always looking for ideas to have fun that are easy, inexpensive and of course fun, fun, fun. Here are a few I’ve tried myself. . .

  1. Rent some videos and invite 5 friends to join you. It’s cheap, easy, and it’s always more fun to watch with friends than all alone. How about some popcorn or chocolate covered peanuts too?
  2. If you own a pool, have a pool party. If not, how about a sprinkler party? Or have a water-balloon blast or a squirt-gun war. Cool off, be silly and enjoy yourself.
  3. Visit a local or state park. Have a picnic, hike a wooded trail, swing at the free playground, bird watch, fish or play at the beach. There lots to do if you just look for it.
  4. Get a library card – it’s not just for books anymore. Borrow music and movies or surf the Internet. All for free! Now that’s a deal.
  5. Bargain shop. Visit flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores or even Ebay. Find your favorite movie or TV character, a playful poster or a funny movie to watch. There’s something for everyone.
  6. Explore. Visit the monkeys at the zoo, touch everything at the Hands-On Museum, or watch a historical reenactment. Look at your local calendar of events for new ideas.
  7. Play. Visit a mini-golf course, go bowling, roller-skate, or go for a bike ride. Go for a perfect score, see if you can beat your last record, or just try something you’ve never done before.
  8. Volunteer. Join a clown troupe and visit the sick, walk dogs at the local humane society. Be a big brother or sister for the United Way. Use your interests to help someone who needs it. (I’ve done 2 out of 3 myself.)
  9. Do some crafts. Paint a rock welcome sign for your porch, plant a flower garden, or use family photos to make a calendar gift for Christmas.
  10. Plan a potluck party. Have an ice-cream social, Italian night or soup & salad bonanza. Pick a style of food you and your friends like and have everyone bring a dish. Food and fun go hand-to-mouth. :0)

Bonus ideas:

  • Put a tutu on your dog and take him for a walk.
  • Find the perfect joke then secretly tape your mom’s snort of laughter.
  • Host a juggling lesson for people who have never tried it.
  • Invite your grandmother to a hula-hoop competition.
  • Give out bubbles, silly string or balloons at your next party.
  • Play laundry basket-ball with a Nerf ball.
  • Have a dance contest where you invent your own dance moves.