Category Archives: Humor

Diary of a New Year’s Junkie: Resolutions Rock!

It’s January 1st! I always love opening a new journal in a new year with a new plan, and a new pen. Most important to have everything shiny and new. Clear the mind of all of last year’s clutter, especially those unfulfilled dreams, and the too many sweet indulgences, leading to the unfulfilled weight loss plan of 2014.

Oh well, operation clean slate starts right now.A good time to start something new.

How exciting! I wish every day felt so fresh and full of promise. It’s like the first day driving home your brand new car with a huge grin plastered on your face, your new baby so clean and perfect. It feels like the world pauses in awe, all the stoplights are green and people smile at you in appreciation as you sleekly whiz by them. But not silently, as if driving an electric car. That’s just creepy, coming up on people unawares and scaring the crap out of them. No, this car sounds confident and powerful, but not deafening. Too loud is just as insensitive to people as too quiet. Now if they could just get rid of that ‘new car smell’, all would be perfect. Gives me a massive headache…

So, back to the point. New year, new plans, new purpose, brand-new motivation. New is good. Brand-new is even better; no previous failures to sully the waters of this new start. I used to think I had motivation, but when days, weeks, months go by with no progress, evidence tends to point to motivation missing in action. Now, though, this time, I feel more connected to doing the best things for me. And why not? Who else will lose the weight for me? Who could possibly care as much as I do if I learn to speak Italian? Why would anyone else come over and cook all my meals for me?

Well, they wouldn’t, would they? It’s all up to me. I am in charge. I’m the boss. When you want something done…

Starting to sound a bit lonely. But, when you get down to it, you really are all alone in the world. People come and go, some you enjoy, some you tolerate, some you even pawn off on unsuspecting friends, but a few you love. A lot. And they make everything else worth it.

Okay then. Time to get serious. One fantastic year coming up. I am in charge, and it will be full of fantastic times with the people I love, trips to places I’ve never been, a new wardrobe in a size 8 (or 6!) and many impressive interactions (perhaps cooking?) with other fluent Italian speakers. Si! Molto bene!

 


Top 10 Things I Want Most (that don’t exist)

***This was written in 2008 in response to a prompt. I have brought it out, dusted it off and am working on a book that pulls this wish list into my world of how to live my own dream life- and how you can too.  Enjoy, and look for the book soon!

This is an exciting question. I generally like to think of myself as an idea person, so I choose to address this in terms of things I want most that do not currently exist. Think outside the box, so to speak. Others have called me a dreamer, or a round peg in a square hole, or just shake their heads. That’s OK, being different is my mantra.

Here are the Top 10 things I want most (off the top of my head):

  1. One of those microwave-type magic meal makers, like in the Jetson’s

It would make life so much easier to walk over to it and say, “Lobster Newburg for 3” and have it pop out in a flash. Not to mention, our menu would then have more than the present 7 choices.

  1. A retractable roof above my bathroom and bedroom

Like my very own superdome. A homedome Now, on starry summer evenings I can watch for shooting stars to wish upon from the comfort of my own bed. Or from my bathtub, complete with candles, music, a glass of fine wine, and maybe my own special McDreamy…

  1. A device that allows me to flawlessly speak and understand any language known to man at the press of a button

It would be such fun to wander aimlessly around the world and fit in like a native. It would also be interesting to eavesdrop on conversations others feel sure you don’t follow-just because.

  1. Chocolate that won’t melt, until I want it to

Beyond the M&M, it would be the richest milk chocolate mixed with my favorite flavors which I could take with me anywhere, even in my pocket, to enjoy at me leisure.

  1. A debit card that works like my kids think it does

They seem convinced that just because I have the card with me, it should be able to purchase anything, any time. I remember thinking the same thing as a kid, “Just write a check, Mom”. If only it were true.

  1. To be able to pause real life

Ever have those moments, when you look back and wish, If only I had said/done this? Well, this would prevent those. Provide the extra time to formulate the perfect action or response to the situation. Or to take a cat nap without missing anything exciting happening in your life. Or to brush your teeth before that kiss. The possibilities are endless.

  1. To dance on stage with Mikhail Baryshnikov, or front row seats to a tennis match in person between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, or Roger Federer and, well anyone.

I know, both of these things may have been possible- at some time. That is, of course assuming I can dance well enough to share the stage with Baryshnikov (oh, well, that’s different- has always been a dream of mine though).

  1. Kids who do their own laundry, and cooking (unless we had a Jetson-wave)

I have actually heard of such kids existing, but never personally met any.

  1. Cats who learn how to use the toilet

The one chore that everyone seems to want to hand off to someone else is cleaning the cats’ litter box. I have always lived in households with cats, and love them to death because they are self-sufficient in so many areas. If they would just learn to use the toilet, I’m pretty sure they would be the perfect pet.

  1. A camera that automatically takes off 10 years and 20 pounds

You’ve heard how the camera adds 10, 20, even 30 pounds (depending on who you ask, and how much less they wish they weighed). Well, this miraculous camera would do just the opposite. Imagine fantastic photos all the time, looking your best, and 10. 20 or 30 pounds lighter (depending on how much less you wished you weighed). I might actually update my family portrait from the 10 year old one on the wall. Oh, to look younger and skinnier. Almost as good as feeling younger and skinnier (that would be number 11).

Well, that’s my wish list for today. Tomorrow I may dream up a new one. These will be so yesterday by then.

 


Where’s the FUN?

 

Ever have those days when it seems like everything you did, and everyone you had contact with, and all you felt was Serious? Complete lack of joy, humor…FUN? Hopefully you don’t have too many of those days each week. But some days are like that.

Consider this scenario:

You awaken to a blaring alarm, not quite feeling rested. No chance to finish that sweet dream, too much to do today.  You quickly corral the troops and send them off to their respective destination, and then it’s off to conquer your day. You encounter questions, problems, needy customers or colleagues, and piles of work that won’t be finished today. There’s no time to think, let alone have any fun, right?

Before you know it, it’s time to move on to the next  obstacle- traffic on your way home, or to the grocery store, or favorite take-out place. Next there may be homework, or work brought home and the usual round of house chores. Still no fun? If you’re lucky, maybe you have time to watch your favorite sitcom, or funny movie. How many days do you experience like this? If you answered “too many” then this wakeup call is just in time.

We all seem to live for the weekends when we get to relax and enjoy the fruits of our week’s labors. But how often do we find the weekend to be spent in catching up on errands and chores and family engagements?  And like a blink of an eye, the alarm is blaring once again…

Sound familiar? We humans are creatures of habit, and as anyone will tell you, all habits are not created equal. What we have here is a habit of moving through the days and weeks with the hope that one day we will get to have fun. Those fun days are probably few and far between.

But luckily habits can be changed. It’s actually easier than you might think. But there are different ways of going about it. The hardest approach is the cold turkey-just not gonna do it anymore -plan. As anyone who has tried to give up smoking or eating red meat, or biting their nails, to be successful you have to replace the bad habit with a new, better one.

Like chewing gum for the smoker. Or eating more fish and chicken, or having a lollipop when you want to bite your nails. You need to find something you enjoy and that is better for you as a replacement. And changing a habit means you need to form a new one. Forming new habits requires that you do something repeatedly over a period of time until it becomes second nature. Learning to ride a bike, or play an instrument, for instance. Practice it until it feels natural.

Can we do that with our daily routine to add more fun to it? You probably at times in your life had some built in fun in your day- singing or dancing while you get ready in the morning, or while cleaning up. Playing games as a family while driving or eating. You know, stuff that makes you smile, or dare I say, laugh?

Start first with a little bit of searching your archives for things you have done in the past- they are easy to put back into play. Then add some easy things you don’t have to think very hard about:

  • Sign up for a funny quote or comic strip to be delivered to your inbox every day.
  • Carry a couple snapshots in your wallet or on your phone of fun times you’ve had.
  • During your break or lunch, watch a silly pet video on YouTube.
  • Play practical jokes on family or co-workers (harmless ones…).
  • Belt out your favorite song in the shower- everyone sounds awesome there.
  • Write silly notes to your kids or spouse…see what happens.
  • Record some of your favorite funny shows and movies, and watch regularly.
  • Laugh for no reason, even if it’s in the car alone.
  • You add some ideas to the list.

Pick one or more things from your list and add to each day. Repeat daily. Be creative, and you’ll be adding fun into the everyday stuff before you know it. Laughter is good for your health, both mental and physical.

And so much easier than crunches, don’t you think?


Strategies for Crossing Items Off Your To-Do List

 

What to do first? Oh right, make my to-do list for today. That will be #1 on the list. That way, when I finish my list, I can cross off item #1.

Great, but then what? Now there’s actual stuff to be done.

Well the key, I think, to crossing off items on your to-do list is in how you make your list. Many times lists will be filled with big plans such as:

  • Do the taxes
  • Clean out the garage
  • Go grocery shopping

On the surface, these items may seem simple enough, but how does it feel when you look at them? Do you feel energized, excited that you’ll be finishing up all of them before lunch? Or do you think, WOW, I’ll be lucky if I cross off anything today, and feel a bit overwhelmed?

Right, I’d feel discouraged as well. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just has to be broken down into easy do-able steps. That way you can cross off each step of the bigger task individually. Let’s look at the daunting tasks above more closely.

  • Do the taxes

How does one begin this process? Even if you have an accountant who does taxes for you, there are mini-steps you have to do. You need to get all your receipts and forms together. You need to know what deductions you are able to claim. You need all the pertinent names, addresses, and possibly social security numbers of your employers, dependents, charities, mortgage companies and banks, and so on. Each of these could be mini- steps on your to-do list. Let’s do the next one, too.

  • Clean out the garage

What’s involved here? Your items may differ, but essentially it may include having boxes or storage bins to organize like things into, having plenty of garbage bags handy, as well as boxes for donated items. You may work in sections; clean up tool drawers, hang bicycles on walls, throw away damaged boxes, empty out the moving boxes that have been stacked for the last 2 (or 10) years. You get the idea. Break down the deed into as many steps as you can think of, and write each one on your list.

Let’s take a look at a new, longer but more approachable list. Or several lists, actually. If you break down a tough project into more than say 10 items, it might be better to make it its own list. So here’s our new To-Do List:

Things to Cross Off (once completed)

  1. Make my list
  2. Write down items needed from grocery store
  3. Double check refrigerator and pantry for possible needed items
  4. List possible meal plans for the week
  5. Add items from meal plan needed
  6. Check the store sale ad for good buys to add to list
  7. Assemble coupons, recyclable grocery bags, checkbook and car keys
  8. Brainstorm any other errands that can be done en route to grocery store- add to list
  9. Spend a half hour in garage organizing thoughts on what needs to be done. Start a list
  10. Purchase 5 storage bins for garage clean up
  11. Take a break with a cup of tea (or a beer…) after completing 6 items on the list
  12. Pull together medical receipts and insurance papers in a tax file
  13. Gather all the income forms, W-2, 1099, Dividends… into another tax file
  14. Obtain necessary tax forms from the IRS, the post office or tax software

And now, go ahead and cross off item #1. You deserve it.

Now the list has quite a few more items on it, but when looking at individual tasks, they certainly seem more achievable, don’t they? Some people may benefit by allowing a certain amount of time for each task, as a guideline, as I did in #9. That way, you set up the expectation that things will not take all day, and better your chances of staying on task. Be realistic, and flexible. You may add or delete items on your list as you go along. But you should find yourself happily crossing off numbers and feeling a sense of accomplishment fairly quickly.

See? That was easier than you thought, right? I know, some days are better than others. That’s why there is a built-in reward (see #11). And you can be creative. Kids do so much better with larger tasks if they have mini-steps too. Get the whole family involved. And good luck; hopefully you’ll be getting a tax refund, so you can buy more stuff to put in the garage!


Happy, happy, Joy, joy…

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy…. Happy, Happy, Joy….            

 

I remember that happy ditty from the Ren and Stimpy show, a rather offbeat and sometimes gross cartoon on TV. But my family liked it, and frequently someone  would find the perfect time to chime in with the appropriate line from one of the episodes (“What’s your dream, Ren?”). And there were several tunes that were fun to sing (Log, Log, it’s brown, it’s magic, it’s wood…).

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with an article about Joy, and beyond the obvious first line, it’s really about finding the fun in simple everyday things. We try to do that in some way each day, and when you get into the habit of it, it’s really not hard at all.

Like the picture above. This came about as the result of a seemingly simple request I made of my sixteen-year old son. I asked him, nicely, to check the fridge for lunch supplies for school the upcoming week. I was making a grocery list. This picture shows how he accomplished that request. Of course, that was what I meant! Joy, happiness can be found in the smallest things. Still brings a smile to me when I see it  displayed on the fridge every time I open it.

It can be crazy fun  to decide who gets to ride shotgun on the way to school (or it can give you a headache, it all depends on how you choose to look at it); sometimes the kids would have to perform to see who gets the honor of the front seat. Or, my son was  telling me about his camping trip with the scout troop and how he had to follow around the younger boys and stop them from setting a bottle of hand sanitizer on fire (or rather, another bottle…)- and I couldn’t stop laughing.

In just about any situation there can be found a thread of humor, if you look at it from the perspective of finding a way to enjoy it. And why not? Isn’t it better to end your day thinking about all the crazy, fun times you had that day, instead of all the dull, same old-same old stuff? I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Isn’t it better to end the year on a joyful note? That’s why on New Year’s Eve my best friend and I, and whomever of our kids wants to join us get together and play games as we welcome in the new year. Games! Guaranteed laughter, you never know what might happen, but you can be sure it will be fun. There will be joy.

 

A Joy shared is a Joy multiplied.

Think outside the ordinary.

Live with Joy.