Tag Archive | laughing

One Photo, One Instant, One Memory

Looking backward can be counterproductive–thinking of when we were younger, probably healthier, and our world was beginning. Like writing, life is a process. Nobody ever gets younger. A pessimist would say we begin dying as soon as we are born. An optimist would say, the world is our oyster. I say the real world lies somewhere in between the two.

I came across a photo of my dear husband and our cat a couple of days ago. I had forgot about the photo, but the minute I laid eyes on it, I laughed and remembered what happened at that very moment.  I’m sure most of you have had such an experience. It’s fun, isn’t it? Take a look at this.

Ken and Parnelli with bowties


Our cat Parnelli LOVED wearing a bow tie–I kid you not, and Ken with his long neck looked very handsome in one. So one night, I got a call from the bedroom. “Sweetheart, come here. I have something to show you.”

When I entered the room I found both of the guys in my life with a “come hither look” buried in the blankets. I doubled over laughing and grabbed the camera to capture the moment.

This was Ken at his best, and Parnelli going along with the joke. I wish I could have frozen time. Aren’t they both so handsome?

Unfortunately, Parnelli passed away about five years after this picture was taken. As you might imagine, he brought a lot of laughs into our lives in his seventeen years. He was an extraordinary little being who didn’t let the fact that he looked like a cat stop him from doing dog and human type things. Did you ever meet a cat that did party tricks on command? Parnelli did. Did you ever meet a cat that loved being the center of attention when company dropped by? Parnelli did. This picture captured his funny nature.

And then there’s Ken. With  his MS symptoms which hinder him from doing so many things these days, I easily forget his great ability to do something creative to make me laugh. Pictures like this one aid me to remember all the wonderful, funny moments we’ve shared together. But, I don’t think about what we’ve lost; I think about what we’ve have together.

That’s the power of photographs, isn’t it?


A Peaceful Smile

Peace begins with a smile. – Mother Theresa

            I don’t know if any of you have heard this quote before, but it’s one of my favorites, and if you know me, I am all for the smile. Few people see me with any other expression because I’ve learned smiling makes me feel good.nov 2012 008

For one thing, did you know it actually takes less energy and muscle control to smile than it does to make any other expression with your face?  At this point in my life, I conserve all the energy I can, and if having a smile on my face most of the time will do that, I’m all for it.

Think about it. If people would just smile at each other, we could do so much good. A genuine smile projects trustworthiness. I’m not talking about a smile that only employs the mouth; I’m talking about a smile that lights up the eyes, too. When you smile, it signals to the receiver you’re not faking it. Usually, a genuine smile will receive one in return.

 Have you ever been in a tense situation and just smiled at the fear? Almost magically, the situation simmers down. A smile doesn’t mean you’re giving into or compromising your opinion, it just means you’re willing to listen. 

If you’re a person who wants longevity, learn to smile. A study of baseball players in 1952 proved those who smiled outlived their sour-puss counterparts by seven years. 

Have you noticed how smiling many times leads to laughing? For me, laughing is life’s blood. If I can laugh everyday at myself or something else, it’s a good day.  Medical studies have proven several minutes of laughter is physically good for you. I contend laughing is good for your soul, too, but so far, scientists haven’t figured out how to measure that. Most of them are not even sure we have a soul. Poor guys.

For me, laughing actually relieves pain and anxiety. When I broke my leg in a tobogganing accident when I was 14 years old, I kept the doctor laughing with a very successful one-woman stand-up routine. (Really, I was laying on an examining table, but I think you knew that.)  He commented he never had set a tibia before for a patient with such a great sense of humor. All I know is, laughing about what happened was a lot easier than crying. I had plenty of time to feel sorry for myself in the weeks that followed because I lost the lead of the annual school musical, and I was marooned at home for four months because the break was so serious. 

Nowadays, Ken and I find things to laugh about all day. His MS has presented so many difficult situations, but if we can make a joke out of what happens, we both feel better about the changes that take place. Most nights I even fall asleep smiling as I say thankful prayers that I got through another day in one piece.

So the next time the world has kicked you in the face, smile back. The pain won’t be so excruciating and maybe you’ll even find something to laugh about. At the very least, you’ll find peace. Saints don’t lie.

Laughter – Who Knew?

laughter_is_the_best_medicineI love to laugh. From a giggle to a belly laugh, from a snicker to an all-out, tear rolling, uncontrollable breathtaking laugh—for me, laughter comes often and easy.

I can make a joke out of most everything, and I truly believe it is one of the best things I’ve going. After a night at the Improv in New York about twenty years ago, I thought it might be fun to get up on stage and give comedy a try—after what I saw that night, I know I could do better. (It wasn’t a particularly good night.)  In fact, by the end of the night I was known as the “white, milk-fed, castrating bitch from Wisconsin”  for my heckling efforts. I never was prouder.

Yesterday, Dr. Oz—you know, Oprah’s favorite doctor—talked about the benefits of having a good chuckle. So, like the researcher I am, I went out into Internet-land to see what I could find. I wanted my research to have the underpinnings of  good scientific studies,so I turned to WebMD.

My Findings:

  • We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues.
  •  Has the benefit of a mild workout.
  •  Combine laughter and movement and you boost your heart rate. Go out and walk, a laughing we will go!
  • We burn calories when we laugh. — No Really, this is not just a ploy to eat more chocolate. A researcher from Vanderbilt Universary said laughter appears to burn calories, too. Ten to fifteen minutes of laughter burned 50 calories. – Woo-Hoo!
  • When your stress is high, your immune system decreases. So, if you’re in a plague or a flu outbreak, laugh in its face! Take that, you nasty virus! The ability to use humor raises the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost immune cells.
  • Laughter lowers blood sugar levels. Hear that borderline diabetics? Raise your laughter, lower your sugar.
  • Laughter dulls pain. I know this to be true from my own experience. When I broke my tibia in a sledding accident when I was 14 years old, I was cracking jokes and laughing through the whole experience. The doctor couldn’t believe I wasn’t screaming.

So, have I discovered the cure for what ails you? Not exactly.

So far, the lab boys and girls haven’t proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the health benefits of laughing.  Studies have been too small and not well-conducted according to a WebMD article. And because laughter is usually a social activity, scientists don’t know if it’s the laughter which actually improves health or whether improvement comes from being close with friends and family.

HOWEVER, I’m in the camp that it undeniably improves quality of life. Ken and I laugh all day long. To prove it, here’s a conversation we had yesterday after watching Dr. Oz.

Me – “Do you believe it? Dr. Oz said laughing burns off more calories than sex.”

Ken in his deadpan voice. “Yeah, but he didn’t say how many calories you’d burn if you laughed during sex!”

You gotta love ’em! Have a great day. Have a laugh on me!

Thanks for visiting — Barb


When You Crash–Laugh!

Here we going a blogging among the world of words!

Here we going a blogging among the world of words!

The best part of blogging is knowing once in a while I have touched someone else in a way I never could if I didn’t blog. When a person takes time to comment on something I’ve written, I have a GREAT day. Feedback has always been something important to me.  I need personally to know that I’m not wasting time telling tales that don’t have meaning, and professionally as a writer to know people enjoy my writing. Comments are fuel to my fire, and I would imagine they are for most people who have entered this electronic way to spread thoughts and stories worldwide. So thank you all you responders–you make my day!

To come up with a new idea everyday is hard work. Most days, I read the blogs I to which I have subscribed because I need inspiration to spark a new topic. With that said, today was not one of those days.

Today, I woke to the thud of Ken falling. Multiple Sclerosis has made this a common event in our household, but to wake to a crash is worse than any alarm clock. This fall reminded me of the “sonic booms” I heard as a child when faster-than-the-speed-of-sound jets used to fly over our house. The windows would rattle and no matter what you were doing at the time, you stopped for a few seconds to make sure the sky wasn’t falling. Ken’s falls are kind of like that for me.

One of my favorite movies is called “Cool Runnings.” (I’m not changing the subject. I do have a point. Just keep reading.) It’s a Disney film about the Jamaican bob sled team. If you’re not familiar with the flick, it’s a story about four young men from Jamaica who want to go to the Olympics. They race a rickety “push cart,” in local competitions. Their push cart is basically a few wooden crates with four wheels and a steering mechanism they propel down winding hills.

push cart


When they practice, they often crash. And, after they come to a jarring stop, one of the fellows says to another, “Maurice, are you dead?” The answer is always, “Ya, mon.” It cracks me up every time.

So now when Ken crashes, I yell, “Kenneth, are you dead?”

This morning he played along and said, “Ya, mon!”

We both laughed hard and loud, checked nothing was damaged but his pride, and went to the kitchen for breakfast.

The morale to this story: When you crash–laugh! Let humor lighten the load. Laughter will heal your boo-boo faster than any other medicine.