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Archive for March, 2010

Picture by Tracie Taylor Photography

I have a problem.  A serious problem.  I am too serious.  And I don’t like it!  I like to laugh, joke and smile through my day.  I enjoy debating the latest book I’m reading, a cool TV show or the newest movie.  I like to be full of energy, enthusiasm and feel ecstatic throughout my day.

I recently realized anew that I am full of childlike wonder and sense of fun.  I just had to dust myself off and look at my habits to find that humor again.  If you want to join me in giggling, wiggling, dancing and prancing through your day, then keep reading.

We all face difficulties and disturbances of all kinds in our day.  Sometimes these problems build up without our notice, leaving us suddenly fearful, angry or overwhelmed.  When your life conspires to suck all the fun out of your day, fight back!

Start by assessing what you enjoy.  Although the ideas I give here may not be your cup of tea, I hope they shake up your thinking and help you discover what brings you delight and joy.

I have many strategies for adding fun (and I’m always looking for more.)  Here are a few of things I do to bring a little laughter, foolishness and chuckles to my day:

  1. Party cups. These are the plastic cups they have for children’s parties at Wal-Mart, Toys R’ Us and other stores.  They are generally from the latest children’s movie or cartoon.  I buy them and keep them in my cabinet to add a smile when I get a drink.  Characters like Spiderman, Sponge Bob, Winnie the Pooh, Iron Man and Star Wars Clones.
  2. Humor folder. This is full of fun, creative things to do.  It could be silly signs for work, knock-knock jokes, brainstorming ideas, meaning of life quotes, lists of way to improve your mood, using humor at work, etc.  Obviously you can see that I need humor more often at work than at home.  But all the ideas in the folder can be used almost anywhere.
  3. Wallpapers. Not the kind that go on your wall, but the kind that goes on your computer, phone, or other electronic device. Put a picture of a dog in a wig, or a smiling cow on your phone where you’ll see it every time you text or call.  A kid covered in spaghetti sauce can make a great humorous computer background.  Even though these are small things, they can add a smile to your day.  Anytime you’re smiling is a good time.
  4. Talking toys. Recently I was in a thrift store that had a talking Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.  The sayings weren’t even that great, but when you’re bored and press the button the funny accent makes you laugh.  It was a great investment for a few dollars.  I’ve had talking Buzz Lightyear, a cool Terminator, and the hilarious Tuck and Roll interactive dolls from A Bug’s Life.  All were great conversation pieces, and even better, they made me laugh each time I touched them.  (Note – talking toys that laugh and vibrate at the same time will really get you laughing.  Check out this hilarious Laughing Dog Toy (love the name – Chuckle Buddies.  Note the chimp is on sale for 1/2 off!)
  5. Ipod videos. This can be a great source of entertainment.  Whether it’s a comedian routine like Eddie Murphy or some You Tube video of a kid dancing, these are great stress busters.  Take an hour or so once a week and load 2-3 on there.  When you’re stuck at the airport, in a traffic jam, or in a really long meeting, pull that sucker out and have a good laugh.  (Just be prepared for the funny looks from people who have no idea what’s so funny.)
  6. Music. Music is a great mood lifter.  It doesn’t matter what you like, it can break up tension.  Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Country, Motown and more.  I use music to relax, to exercise, to clean and to stop boredom.  Try a variety for different moods.  Add a few music videos too.
  7. Funky clothes. Wear t-shirts with funny sayings, polka-dot socks, character ties or colorful underwear.  Wear all purple today, on put on a bright yellow shirt.  You can wear sparkles; add iron-on decals, pink shoelaces, a glow necklace or a smiley face pin.  Clothes can definitely change your mood, so a playful wardrobe can bring out a playful mood.
  8. Pens, post-its and paper. We use these things every day, so why not spice them up so you look forward to using them?  Try colored pens like purple, turquoise and jade.  Buy post-it notes with funny sayings or characters like Maxine from Hallmark.  Use colored copy paper whenever you have a chance, it will really add pizzazz to those memos.  If you insert a joke into your memo as well you’ll really find out who is reading them.
  9. Make scents. Use scents to liven up your environment.  Essential oils can be relaxing or invigorating.  At work try lemon, orange or eucalyptus.  To relax try rose, lavender, chamomile or some other light floral scent.  Experiment with lotions, pillow sprays, air fresheners and more.  Even changing up your laundry detergent can brighten your day.  Clothes smelling like a garden are infinitely more enjoyable than those smelling like bleach.
  10. Doodle. Try to revive the lost art of doodling. Letters, numbers, shapes, colored lines, whatever catches your fancy.  Doodling gives your hands something to do, and can actually spark creative ideas.
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Harry Potter
Originally uploaded by aquinas_college2

I haven’t been keeping up to date on my other blog, Fun Spirit.  But while looking it over I saw a few articles I really loved.  This one really made me laugh.  Hope you like it:

Yes, believe it or not HP Fans, there are actually people who do not adore our little black-haired, super-genius, evil-defeating hero known as Harry Potter. These foolish muggles overlook the greatness of The-Boy-Who-Lived, thinking him nothing more than a silly little child.

When you come upon such addle-brained and unenlightened people, simply try some of these well proven strategies to cope with their narrow little minds:

  1. Make sure they are healthy. Find out if they have had a recent check-up. A head injury could account for their confusion on the subject. Check their pulse and peer into their eyes to be sure they are breathing and not in a coma.
  2. Be friends. Assure them that you understand how much better the Jedi in Star Trek was. Always salute them with “Live Long in the Force.” This is sure to please.
  3. Squeal in horror as you recognize a Death Eater in disguise. Shout “Death to Voldemort,” and run away screaming.
  4. Express your sympathy about their being dyslexic. No wonder they haven’t read the books yet poor things!
  5. Gently pat their hand and assure them it’s alright to be afraid of the unknown. Offer to teach them the “Lumos” spell if they’re also afraid of the dark.
  6. Send them frequent HP updates, including new movies, the upcoming theme park, each character’s film career and whatever other interesting tidbits you can find. Tell them “you don’t know what you’re missing – let me show you.”
  7. Remark on how much they look like a Harry Potter character. Argue with yourself over which one they remind you of most. “Hagrid – no, Dumbledore – certainly not, ahh, I have it – Dobby!”
  8. Report them to the Ministry of Magic. These are obviously criminal masterminds whose resistance to the esteemed Mr. Potter is simply a reflex of their dislike for any “meddling goody-two-shoes.”
  9. Assume they are a pessimist who thinks everyone is terrible. Suggest you can teach them skills to become as optimist as you have been inspired by the heroics of Harry and his friends. Offer to give them numerous examples.
  10. Check them into the nearest psychiatric hospital for examination. Nothing but mental impairment sufficiently explains their lack of adoration for our favorite hero. :0)

Check out this fun video on You Tube.

For more ways to annoy Harry Potter Haters.

Be sure to check out my old blog Fun Spirit for more fun-filled articles.

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Picture by sean dreilinger

This is true for anything, but especially with kindness. I was totally lost about what to write about today, until I got home and found a nice comment on an article I had recently written.

As you can see by my blog feed, I don’t have all that many readers.  But the good thing about being small is that every little comment means a lot to me.  I appreciate every reader that takes a few minutes of their day to look at what I wrote.  But even I don’t comment on all the articles and blog posts I like.  So I am especially thankful for those who do.

The same thing is true for a little relaxation, a little fun, or even a little exercise.  All of these things if done often can add up to big results.  By doing things in little doses we are more likely to find the time, effort, or money needed to accomplish our goals.

During a stressful day, a few deep breathes or a couple of 5 minute stretch breaks can help change our pace, slowing us down and helping us refocus.  A small amount of money, saved every month grows a bundle of wealth to reach our retirement goals.

Doing a little is a good idea for most of us because with our busy lives and never-ending to-do list, it’s hard to find time to do a lot. But finding 10 minutes here, or twenty dollars there is do-able, and one step leads to the next.

It reminds of the old movie ‘What About Bob,” where Bill Murray is a patient who needs “baby steps” to get him where he wants to go.  As he takes baby steps to the door, and baby steps down the hall, then baby steps down the street, he realizes that he can do whatever he sets his mind to, if only he keeps at it, and starts with small steps.

So whatever idea, goal or project you’re thinking of, remember that baby steps can get you there.  And the next time you think your words or actions don’t matter, remember that a little bit goes a long way.

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Picture by crowolf

Leprechaun Bank Robbery Suspect Among Two Shot Dead

You never know what those little leprechuans are up to.  I guess this one was looking for his pot of gold.

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Picture by Zanastardust

It’s something I’ve been fighting against lately.  That I am responsible for the conditions in my life.  There has been lots of things bothering me lately; noisy neighbors, work overload, traffic, weather, and an ever-growing to-do list.  When so many things are causing stress and headaches, it’s so easy (and somewhat comforting) to blame others.  Thinking things like “My company is too demanding and doesn’t understand my workload, my neighbors are inconsiderate and rude, or that driver is stupid and blind.”

The good news is that all those improvements you want to see in others, can begin with you. A good example that pops into my head is the dog training show The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic.  Have you seen when Cesar brings in a “good dog” to show the other dog how to behave?  Often the barking, jumping, wild dog will initially approach the new dog with this loud, aggressive attitude.  The good dog doesn’t like this and will turn away and go lay down away from the troublemaker.  It doesn’t take long before the troublemaker is calmly sitting down, watching every move the good dog makes.  Why?  Because all that boisterous, hyper troublemaker wants is attention.  Or exercise.  Or both.  It wants good dog to notice it and to interact.  When good dog ignores it, it learns it must change its behavior to get what it wants.

Years ago while reading self-help books I came across this wise advice “if you want to change those around you, first you must change yourself.” When we act in a different manner or with a new attitude, others see this and must decide how to respond.  They can keep on acting in the same way as before, but it will not get the same results.  It’s like a bully who finds that over the summer the kid he was pushing around has grown taller than him.  When one person changes, often so do the others.

Now of course just because you change does not mean the rest of the world suddenly becomes paradise.  But the good news is that we have a choice.  Instead of whining and complaining about how unfair everything is and how nobody does what you want, you can start saying “I’m glad that no one else has control over me.  They can’t make me miserable or unhappy unless I let them.” Then look for the positive in your situation.

Here is an example from me.  I don’t like my job right now.  There are many, many things I would change about it.  So yesterday I forced myself to make a list of the things that are good about it.  Here’s what I got:

  1. I work within 3 miles of my house so I save lots of money on gas.  (My old job was 20 miles each way.)
  2. My office allows a flex schedule, so I can come in early or stay late to make up time for doctors appointments and things.  Then I can use my vacation time strictly for vacations.
  3. My boss has a laid-back style.  She doesn’t watch over my shoulder or constantly correct me, but is there to help me if I need it.
  4. My office is convenient to shopping and restaurants.  I can go out to lunch or do shopping after work and save time since it’s right next to the office.
  5. I make a good steady paycheck and have health benefits.  Many people don’t right now.  Also, all the work I have to do means that for the next 6 months at least I know I have job security.

Now obviously this doesn’t change the things I don’t like about my job.  But surprisingly (to me at least), this list does help me feel better about being there.  I could still complain about things, but with no other job prospects in this tight economy, and people still losing their jobs, that doesn’t help me.  What makes my days there better is knowing that there are positive aspects to my job if I just bother to look for them.

I hope this reminder can be of use to you, like it was to me.  I was stuck in the blame game again – and I know better.  Recognizing our own power and using it to our advantage is a great help.  And we’ll feel better about our lives in the process.  Remember positive change starts with you.

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Funny Face


Bubble Eye 1
Originally uploaded by ♥Spice / Tryin’ to catch up!

What is this fish doing?
Seeing how long he can hold his breath underwater?
Getting ready to let fly the biggest raspberry ever?
Doing his best impression of a piece of bubble gum?
Competing with his buddy Fred for the funniest face of the day?

Who cares – as long as it makes you smile! Happy Monday all!

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Picture by B℮n

Do you ever just have those inquisitive thoughts while watching TV, reading the paper or discussing the news?  Like did you know that Meglodon lived in Washington DC in prehistoric times?  The White House and the surrounding area was entirely underwater.  Meglodon ruled the water and was so big it could eat a whale!

Have you ever read historical alternative fiction?  This is when the author imagines historical events happening differently and what the possible outcome of the changes would have been.  It’s a captivating glimpse into what-if ?

One of my favorite authors, Roger von Oech, says we all need is “A Whack on the Side of the Head,” to help wake us up to creative thinking.  His insightful and fun-filled book will break you out of your everyday pattern of thinking and get you thinking upside-down, sideways, and every which way.

Having fun is a key component of creativity. Ever have an argument with your spouse about whether Hulk is stronger than Superman, or if Sauron is more evil than Voldemort?  Or try this one – watch a TV commercial with the sound off and see if you can figure out what they’re selling.

We all have occasional random thoughts of brilliance. We all have strengths, talents and abilities that stir our passion and capture our attention.  It doesn’t matter what it is – I know people who earn a living by selling hard-to-find candy.  If you can draw, you could be a comic book artist, a greeting card designer, a video game developer or several other great jobs.

I love to let my mind drift and float.  Often if you are relaxed enough to do this you can have some amazing creative ideas.  It’s fascinating how fast our minds can move.  Thoughts speed by at a record pace.  Harness a little of that brain power and anything is possible.

The funny thing about thoughts and creativity, is that in order to get best results we first need to slow down.  We need enough space to actually notice one thought at a time. Since we have so many thoughts come and go, one way to find the great ones is to use a notebook or voice recorder to note your best ideas.

Open yourself to spontenaity, random chance, and curiosity. See what types of activities or topics enchant you.  These are the things that stimulate enthusiasm and interest.  What do you enjoy learning about?  What subjects would do you talk about endlessly?  (If you don’t know just ask a family member or friend – they’d be glad to tell you.)

Take a little time and rediscover your joy. You’ll be glad you did.  Even if you can’t make a living doing what you love, you can sprinkle your days with bits of happiness.  Sharing the elation you get from gardening, music, books, or favorite childhood cartoons may find you a friend that enjoys the same thing.

That’s my ramble for today.  Hope you liked it.  🙂

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