Laugh Your Way to Lower Stress

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Toss Out the Dictionary

Throw Out the Dictionary

Language is funny. And I don’t just mean those unusual words that all comedy writers know will elicit a smile or a giggle – words such as caddywumpus, pantaloons, spelunker, wenis, and zamboni. And if you imagine a spelunker in pantaloons riding a zamboni, just try not to crack up until you’re sitting caddywumpus on the floor.

Accidentally making up words is a favorite pastime of mine. For example, I once told someone their dog had the “swaggliest” tail. Clearly I meant “waggiest,” but some dogs’ tails hang in a drooping curve as they wag, so I think “swaggliest” is a fine addition to the English language. Much better than, say, “twerk,” which as far as I’m concerned means “throw you back out doing something stupid.”

I don’t consider myself a mis-speaker; I’m a language development leader.

In recent years, dictionary editors (those dusty folk with smudged John Lennon glasses and permanent scowls — or so I imagine them) have had to kowtow (another excellent and funny word) to the hoi polloi and accept such words as bling, bromance, chillax, d’oh, infomania, jeggings, and mankini. At the same time, other words that had been common have disappeared. What ever happened to malagrug (a dismal person), brabble (a noisy squabble over nothing), or supererogate (to do more than is expected or required)? I guess with the latter, there are so few people who fit the category, we substituted “slacker,” a word that means the opposite.

As a wordie myself (imagine a foodie, only with language instead of edibles), I have a list of words I’d like added to dictionaries everywhere. These include (I do have more):

  • Addendumb – Anyone who reads books from cover to cover, including the copyright registration and addendum in order to quell an abiding fear than they aren’t as smart as they let on.
  • Aprius – Any car stuck behind a Prius.
  • Bathematics – Quick calculations of how much weight wet hair adds before stepping on the bathroom scale.
  • Deppth – A thorough and complete understanding of the subtext of the movies of Johnny Depp.
  • Dispurrage — To demean and belittle all of humankind, especially those nearby, for not attending to your feline’s needs quickly enough.
  • Flingerie – Flannel lingerie; very popular in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Fobia – Phear of things that aren’t spelled like they sound.
  • Gendrification – The manner in which women will take over the world.
  • Gloatee – One who experiences euphoria upon realizing that yet another hipster trend has gone the way of the too-tight skinny jean.
  • Palindrone – A professor whose lectures sound the same forwards and backwards.
  • Schadenfriend – Someone who only likes you when your life is awful.
  • Silly string theory — The hypothesis that the universe consists of random acts of silliness connected by invisible strings that don’t stick to your clothes
  • Snee – An incomplete sneeze.
  • Zumbarrassment – The feeling that comes over anyone trying to follow Zumba moves for the first time.

Come on, dictionary peeps — let’s do this!

Third Time’s a Bitch

http _naturemappingfoundation.org_natmap_photos_birds_canada_goose_flying_np

As a comedy writer, the “rule of three” means you string together two normal things (say, 2 cups of flour and 1 tsp. of baking soda) and then add an unexpected third one (e.g., 1 gallon of tequila) and voila, you have a template for writing one kind of joke (or making one really delicious, albeit runny, cake).

As a human being, however, whenever something happens to me three times in a row, I’m fairly certain the universe is trying to tell me something. Unfortunately, I think I accidentally donated my universal decoder ring to Goodwill last week, so I’m struggling to figure out today’s turn of events.

Before I tell the story, it’s important that you know that when I walk my three dachshunds, one is on a flexi-lead, while the other two are attached to a belt around my waist on bungee leashes that extend to 6-feet fully stretched.

Thing1: While walking the dogs along the river today, I heard the sound of geese flying near, so I turned around to look. Three geese were flying at eye level to me, straight at me. I semi-panicked, but I figured if I swerved, I’d swerve right into a goose because my self-defense instincts are always off by about 30 degrees. About 6 feet before the eventual collision I was predicting, one goose — let’s call him Gary — suddenly veered left. I have never been so close to a wild animal in flight and it was awesome.

But if Gary had flown straight into my head, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog. I’d probably be in a hospital trying to remember my name while my doxies roamed around the park begging strangers for handouts.

Thing2: Still on the walk. The dogs are thrilled that the squirrels are out in full force. We’re running here and running there to smell the trunks of trees that the much faster and smarter squirrels have run up before we arrived. At one point, I’m looking west, when suddenly Katja — the most squirrel-obsessed and also the strongest — pulls me due north. She is attached to my waist so even though she’s small, she can yank me off course easily.

I immediately spot a Doug fir tree coming at me at dachshund miles per hour. I barely avoid running into it, head first.

Already, I thinking, I should wear a helmet from now on.

Thing3: Finally home and mostly in one piece, I am unhooking the dogs from their seatbelts, which are attached to their leashes. I get Murray out, then Katja, but when I try to grab Sanders, his bungee leash seems to be stuck between the seat and the car door on the opposite side. So, being a real “hindsight is 20/20” kind of girl, I yank on the bungee, it frees itself and smacks me right in the face. The metal clip causes my bottom lip to swell up like I’m a Kardashian.

So, the question is, with two near-misses and and one direct strike to my head all in the course of an hour, what is it the universe would like me to know? Am I supposed to let my brain rest? Learn new and different cursewords? Avoid ever leaving the house? Go back to the park and ask Gary?

Come on universe, make yourself clear. But please don’t give me a concussion in the process.

Don’t Try This at Home

http _cdn.thefunnybeaver.com_wp-content_uploads_2017_08_gym-wontquitLike many Americans, every time the new year rolls around I semi-commit to getting more exercise than I did in the previous 12 months. Long ago, my resolutions were specific and detailed, e.g.: “I will run 20 miles a week and try not to sweat on the people in my office when I’m done, especially if they’re eating lunch.” These days, I don’t have resolutions; I have musings, such as: “Maybe I could hula-hoop between phone calls. Or I could just eat a handful of almonds. Protein is important for muscle development, right?”

Once upon a time, I was athletic. I owned three gold Spandex unitards and matching headbands and I am NOT ashamed! But even then I never enjoyed going to a gym. My idea of a fun time does not involve using damp equipment and listening to men grunt loudly. It’s seems that to some guys, grunting is a courtship ritual. They look around a room full of potential sweaty mates, clang their free weights together, and release deep vocalizations in the direction of the ones they desire. When it comes to flirting, I much prefer the frigate bird’s display of his red throat sac or the whooping crane’s leaping, dancing, and flinging objects across a meadow. Perhaps this explains why I don’t date.

Fortunately we don’t have to leave our houses to get all the exercise we need. So many pieces of home exercise equipment, so little time to put them together and then sell them a month later on Craigslist! Some of the exercise “devices” I have tried in the past include:

  • The Ab Roller, a small wheel with handles that was meant to flatten your stomach, but was more effective at leveling out dirt before laying down sod. My main problem with this device is that even when I had abs like a washboard (today, I have abs like a dashboard – soft and padded, with a built-in airbag), I could roll forward on the wheel, but once fully elongated, I could not roll back. So I would usually just collapse, face-down, whimpering, onto the floor and one or more wiener dogs would jump on my back. And you thought goat yoga was difficult.
  • The Thighmaster. For those of you who don’t remember, this was a padded, spring-loaded, device that you were supposed to squeeze between your thighs to build muscle, just in case you might need to crack open walnuts while stranded on a desert island without a nutcracker. Sidebar: It was also great at shooting full force across the room at random intervals and occasionally destroying the kneecaps of passersby. Sometimes you can still find one of these weapons of minor destruction at a thrift store, but the cashier will make you sign a liability release form before you plunk down your $1.99.
  • I’m embarrassed to admit that I once owned a Super Glide Slide. This piece of “equipment” consisted of a 6-ft. long plastic mat and some shoe covers (think those footies nurses wear in operating rooms). The goal was to slide in your shoe covers from side to side, kind of like an Olympic speed skater. Despite giggling the whole time I used it, I never got any real exercise, but I did build up high amounts of static electricity. When I’d finish a “workout,” my hair was so big I looked like I had put my head in a cotton candy machine and turned it up to turbo-boost.

Fortunately, I haven’t fallen for every ridiculous fitness device that ever hit the market. For example, I never tried one of those belts that zap your abs with electricity. I don’t know about you, but tazing my belly seems like more of a form of torture than a way to get rock-hard abs (which, by the way, my dogs would HATE).

Recently, I’ve avoided buying the Treadmill Bike (a street bike that you “pedal” by walking on a treadmill. I’d need to update my will before ever street-testing it. Last, but definitely not least when it comes to exercise equipment that is better for a laugh than a workout, there’s the iGallop Horseback Riding Core Builder Exercise Machine (here’s Ellen Degeneres demonstrating it; forward to 2:45). I’m certain it didn’t sell well because no one could type out the full name to order one. And with its side to side and bucking motions (there’s a saddlehorn-like handle in the front for you to hang on), it was too reminiscent of the mechanical bull that was popular in bars in the ‘80s. That’s what kept me from buying it – I met my second ex at a bar with a mechanical bull. I didn’t want to accidentally marry the guy who delivered the device to my house.

I think I’ll just stick to the tried-and-true way of getting exercise. I’ll laugh at everything and occasionally eat a handful of almonds (which, thankfully, I don’t have to crack with my flabby thighs).

Measuring Up

43220898_10216907144049172_6846353860403920896_nAccording to a woman talking to her friend in line at the grocery store, there should be a space between my thighs when I stand up. A space? How big? I’m sure there’s a molecule separating my right and left thighs, but you can only see it under a high-intensity microscope like they use on CSI . This molecule is what keeps my legs from chirping like a cricket when I walk down the street. But there’s not enough space to say, watch a movie through. Or store a roll of paper towels. I’d say I’m not worried about this, but I am writing this column, so apparently they got to me.

There are all kinds of “experts” creating body rules women are supposed live up to. It seems that every month a new rule pops up on Facebook or in women’s magazines next to pictures of triple-layered chocolate cake and on reality make-over shows sandwiched in between commercials for pizza and cookies. No muffin tops! Beware of cankles! One chin is enough! Your bat wings should not be able to put your eye out in a windstorm! Is it any wonder we wear body-shapers and control top pantyhose and are still freaked out?

A friend recently informed me about the “Perfect Leg Test.” Thanks a lot, Dina. According to some people who obviously have too much spare time, there should be a four-inch difference between the circumference of a woman’s ankle and her calf, and a seven-inch difference between her calf and thigh. Great, now we not only have to worry about measuring up, we also have to remember geometry from the tenth grade. Is the circumference of my thigh pi r2 or 2 x the diameter? Or is it e=mc2? Other than my tenuous grasp of high school math, there are a few other problems: (a) I don’t know where the measuring tape is, (b) I’d have to shave my legs to get an accurate measurement, and (c) I really don’t care. If worst comes to worse, I’ll just start wearing padded tube socks to make up the difference. And maybe get a tattoo of Euclid on my ankle just to be safe.

Then there’s the “Pencil Rule.” This rule states that for every pencil, there is an equal and opposite pencil. No, no, no. It’s much simpler: basically, we women are supposed to put a pencil under each breast and if it stays there, we need a bra. I don’t know what the rule is if all you can find are Highlighters or carrot sticks. Men don’t have a Pencil Rule even though I’ve seen a few who could use a good man bra – they could hide a six-pack under their boobs and no one would be the wiser.

Just so we don’t start feeling too adequate, now there are also ads telling us we may have inadequate eyelashes. Inadequate for what? Swatting away crickets? I’m not sure if there’s a home test you can do to find out if you’re meet the criteria, but if you can’t stir a breeze by blinking quickly, you probably need to take drastic measures now.

Speaking of eyes, there is also something I like to call the “Cyclops Test” that lets you determine whether your eyes are too close together. To take this test, you’re supposed to picture a third eye between the two you have (if you already have a third eye, I’m sure there’s another test for that). If there’s not room for a third eye on your face, studies show you could be mistaken for a weasel or other nocturnal narrow-eyed creature. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do if you fail this test; I’ve heard of having your eyelids lifted, but is there something that lifts and separates the eyes themselves? Or are we supposed to apply eyeliner out to our ears to give the appearance of “normal” looking peepers? Me, I wear mirrored sunglasses 95% of the time anyway so no one can tell where my eyes are. I’m no dummy, despite my inability to recall the difference between diameter and circumference.

If you can possibly focus those too-closely-set eyes of yours, there’s the “Halo Test.”  With this test you’re supposed to stand in front of a mirror, turn off all the lights, and focus a flashlight down on the top of your head. If you appear to have a halo, you have split ends. Or you’re an angel; if so, disregard all these tests.

If you’re like me and your thighs touch, your arms flap on a windy day and you don’t have the eyelashes of a muskrat, you have one of two choices: you can spend your life feeling inadequate or you can use the “Guy Test.” That’s where you look in the mirror every morning and declare yourself perfect. Now that’s a test we can all pass.

A Few Reasons I Don’t Want Siri or Alexa in My House

I have friends (really, I do!) who own one of those voice-activated helpers that allow you to dim the lights, order vegan sushi or remember the lyrics to that annoying song you’ve been humming since 1987 but have never known the words to.

Apparently, some people think having a computer assist them with daily chores is great, but I’m skeptical (about everything, really). Here are just a few of my concerns:

  • The device would be just another thing I’d have to dust. Okay, to be honest, another thing I’d think about dusting for months, while praying for a strong breeze to blow through the house.
  • I’m afraid that the machine might surreptitiously keep track of how many times I go to the pantry for a snack during the day and then secretly send a report to my doctor AND my dentist.
  • The dogs would be freaked out if every time, I yelled, “Dinner time!” some other woman said, “There are fifteen restaurants in a 5-mile radius.”
  • Or, the dogs would like Siri or Alexa more than they like me. I will not have them cheating on me with a computer! Those are my kisses! Come back here!
  • If the Russians can hack our elections, who’s to say they can’t hack our home computers? What if I asked the machine to wake me up to the sounds of orca calls in the rain, but instead it played the Anthem of the Soviet Union, also known as “We Own Most of Your Politicians Now”? I don’t know about you, but that wouldn’t set a good tone for my day.
  • I’m already not as smart as my German dishwasher. Just the other day it beat me at chess (although I did win a game of hopscotch). I don’t want another appliance with an IQ higher than mine. My self-esteem can’t take it.
  • There is a distinct possibility all devices with a computer chip could communicate with each other while we’re not looking. For example, my computer could tell Alexa that I’ve been tweeting for four hours straight, so she could set off the fire alarm to make sure I get some exercise. And of course my FitBit would count my steps and send them to the refrigerator, which could decide whether or not to unlock and let me have a snack.
  • Apparently, many of my fears involve my inability to obtain snacks.
  • What if I woke up in the middle of the night and found my fax machine printing out page after page, despite the fact that it hasn’t worked since I bought it? How would I ever fall asleep again? The fax is coming from inside the house!
  • I do not want anything keeping track of how many times I got to the bathroom and suggesting I try Depends.
  • This one may be unique to me, but I’m fairly certain I would argue with Siri and then have to get Google involved to prove my point. I don’t have time for that. I’m busy trying to save democracy.
  • My friend Jennifer keeps offering/threatening to buy me one of those MedicAlert buttons, not because she thinks I’m feeble, but because she keeps finding me perched on the top rung of a ladder trying to scoop leaves out of my gutter. What if I fall and press my button and Alexa decides she can handle it herself, so she cancels the ambulance and shows me YouTube videos about proper gutter cleaning instead?
  • Something more about snacks and my inability to have them when I want.

Yep, I’ve got lots of concerns. I’ve decided that if I need a helper around here, I’ll get another dachshund — but this time, one who has been trained to fetch stuff and dim the lights.


Fence Me In


Some people go on vacation. I go to the annual Home Show. Where else can you learn about retractable patio door screens and tiny houses (they’re so cute when they’re little), get a free chiropractic evaluation, and take a dip in the hot tub? “Always take a swimsuit to the Home Show” is my mantra.

Like any tourist, I always come home with souvenirs: pockets full of hard candy, sample tiles, three different textures of bark-o-mulch, a tiny sedum I rescued from the floor, and a buff young man named Paul. That’s right, I picked up a guy, and as I write these words, he is rebuilding part of my fence (in his shirt sleeves even though it’s only 48 degrees this morning—not that I’m complaining, mind you). My whole front fence needs to be replaced, but I can only afford to have work done a little at a time. It’s the same way I approach my own dental health. “Just clean the one tooth, doc.”

Watson and Penny aren’t as happy about today’s adventure as I am. They’ve spent the last hour barking from the window seat, which I remind them was built by another man I picked up at a previous home show.

My house is 53 this year, which means that it needs almost as much spackle and shingling as I do. As a result, a lot of tradespeople come and go, in and out, in and out, in and out of the house. In their way, they are much like my dogs—always needing to be on the other side of the door in front of them. But, unlike my hounds, they typically shed less and are friendlier to the mail carrier when he arrives with packages (which, by the way usually contain either organic gluten-free fair trade dog supplements or free-range pillows for the pooches.)

Unfortunately, I’m about as handy as a drunken octopus trying to text. I’ve resigned myself to the knowledge that I can’t “fix” anything; I can only postpone the inevitable phone call to someone with a tool belt and tattooed biceps the size of oak tree limbs. Case in point: the fence being repaired today. A few years ago, one of the boards broke in two, giving the wiener dogs a perfect view of people who dared walk anywhere near their property. In order to calm the ruckus I decided, “Hey, I have a hammer and nails, I’ll just go get a cedar board from Jerry’s and take care of the problem myself.” Ah, if only it were that easy.

This section of fence is decorative, if by decorative, one means “odd, with fence boards running horizontally instead of vertically and held together with a mostly decayed old totem pole.” Still, it was just one board, so off to the hardware store I sashayed, thinking that maybe just this once the hours of Rehab Addict I’ve watched would pay off.

When I returned, after being frisked by the hounds to make sure I hadn’t snuck out to either pet kittens or roll in dog treats, I grabbed my tools and began the repair…only to find that the reason the other board had detached in the first place was that the part of the totem pole it had been nailed to was missing. So off to the store I went again, this time to buy a post. I don’t know if it was a 2-by, a 4-by, or a fly-by. I just chose something that would fit in my car and that I could carry to the parking lot without throwing out my back. (This, by the way, is how I will choose my next husband, should I ever go that route again).

Now before you ask whether I dug a hole and poured in cement before setting the post in place, let me just giggle. No, no I did not. I used some nails the size of railroad spikes to attach the post to the remaining good parts of the totem pole. It was solid as a rock stacked on top of several smaller rocks, but it was much better than it had been. Then I nailed the board to it. Of course the board I used was 1-foot longer than it needed to be, but at this point I was too exhausted to saw it off by hand with my Swiss Army knife attachment, so I left it as an “adornment.”

Then I went inside and lay on the sofa with the dachshunds and watched a marathon of Flip this House.

This brings us to today with the hammering and the barking and the laughing from Paul as he examines my handiwork. If only the home show was still going; I could really use another dip in the hot tub.

Become a Less Hateful Person

You’re a hateful person.

Okay you can stop screaming at your cIMG_0010omputer now that you’re not hateful. You are. I am. We all are. We want to think of ourselves as loving, kind, compassionate folks who do the best we can given our circumstances, but just stare into the eyes of a dog, a cow, a pig, or a human baby for five minutes and you’ll know you are much more hateful than they are.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re not the kind of person who sends threatening texts, carries torches in the streets, or considers hate speech a pick-up line on Tinder. There are, fortunately, very few of those kinds of haters in the world. Too many, but just a fraction of the rest of us whom I will refer to as “haters light.” Sadly, whether we want to admit it or not, we empower the active haters by turning our heads, by chalking up bad behavior in others to “boys will be boys” or some other cliché, and by shrugging our shoulders and thinking, “Well, at least I’m not part of the problem.”

But we are part of the problem. Our easy forgiveness of own bad behaviors large and small allows us to feel more at ease with our own internalized hatred. Have you ever, for example, thought, “People should be required to retire at 50 so those of us who know what’s going on in the world can get jobs?” That’s hate. How about “She shouldn’t dress like that if she doesn’t want people to think she’s a slut?” Hate again. Or “I like black people. I just don’t want them in my neighborhood.” Hate. All of it.

The good news is that many of us feel the mirror has been held up and we don’t like what we are seeing. We’re slowly realizing our own role in creating a society that does not allow every American to have “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as promised by our forefathers (probably at the urging of our foremothers, who never get any credit). But, how do we fix ourselves, especially when we’re so busy living our own lives?

I suggest we start by focusing on eliminating what I call “The Three B’s” (no, “bitch” is not one of them). The Three B’s are “because,” “but,” and “between us.”

Because: The word “because” refers to something being caused by something else and is a perfectly lovely word when used with science or when relaying the facts of a story, e.g. “Because the cantaloupe fell on her foot, her toes were bruised” or “She couldn’t focus for days because she took off her eclipse glasses too soon.” Science and facts – two of my favorite things!

Too often, however, we fall back on “becausing” to explain why we (or others we support) perpetuate bad behavior. See if any of these sound familiar:

I am this way because:

  • I was raised (choose from: in the south, in a small town, with only white people, in “the church”) and that’s the way we were taught.
  • I was born in the ‘40s (or ‘50s). It was a different time. You just don’t understand.
  • My childhood was really hard. I was scarred for life.
  • I once had a bad interaction with a person of (insert race, gender, religion, culture, etc. here) and I have a right to my opinions/behaviors.

When I argue for putting a stop to “becausing,” I’m not suggesting that any or all of the above statements may not be true for you or me. We are all products of our past experiences. What I’m suggesting is that we all stop considering “because” to be a trump card that excuses our current behavior. If you think for just a few minutes, you’ll be able to conjure up a friend, co-worker or relative who grew up in one or more of the situations above but is less judgmental, more inclusive, and just a better all-around human being than you are. So although the past shapes us, it does not dictate who we are now.

But:  This little conjunction frequently causes trouble in our interactions with others. For example, as an improv teacher I teach the importance of the rule “Yes, and” and how important it is to stop “No, butting” people. “No, butting” isn’t something goats and drunken frat boys do; it’s what happens when we pretend to listen to someone, but immediately dismiss their thoughts and ideas and try to convince them to accept that ours are better (because that’s what our ego tells us). As an experiment, try to count the number of times you hear the words, “No, but” tumble out of your mouth every day. I bet you’ll be surprised.

“But” causes divisiveness in another way too. We use the world to claim our own goodness when someone calls us out on being racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, homophobic, or looksist (judging people on their looks). How many of the following have you used “but” to make yourself seem kinder and more inclusive in the eyes of others (and in your own)?

But I…

  • have friends who are (insert race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.) here
  • have never used that kind of language
  • am so much better than the rest of my family
  • do lots of good things you don’t know about (like serving Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless or showing up for the pro-immigrant march that one time)

It’s really difficult to be called out on our own bad behavior and our first instinct is to fall back on “but.” We have to keep in mind that all of us can and should do more to make the world an easier place, a safer place, a more compassionate place for everyone (and I include in “everyone” creatures who are not human). Instead of giving yourself a pass for the good that you do, just do more and for people and other earthlings who are not like you – no “buts” about it. It’s easier, and more rewarding, than making excuses.

Between us: If you would be humiliated by the inner judgmental thoughts you reveal to your friends and family, chances are those thoughts are hateful and divisive. Any time you tell someone “this is just between us,” (unless it’s an issue of national security, you’re pregnant or you’re planning a surprise birthday party for someone), what you may mean is, “This is too mean-spirited for me to share out loud.”

I am not suggesting we can or should scrub all our thoughts until they’re squeaky clean. But we should become aware of how often we share inner musings that reveal deeply held prejudices we don’t want to admit we have. Do any of these ring a bell?

Between us:

  • I’m afraid of Hispanic men who wear hoodies.
  • People from the South are all idiots.
  • When someone in a hijab or a robe gets on an airplane, I worry about being hijacked.
  • I never know where to look when I’m talking to someone who uses a wheelchair so I just say, “Hello” and move along as quickly as I can.
  • I wouldn’t want to work for a woman. They’re so emotional.

The best way to deal with prejudiced thoughts you share with close friends is to ask those friends to regularly call you out (and ask them if they’d like you to do the same). You can even provide them this set of questions to ask you when they feel something is inconsistent with the person you want to be: Why do you think you feel this way? Does this belief harm other people? Has it proven true to you or do you hold it spite of reality? If it has proven true, is it possible that what’s happened in your experience does not reflect everyone else’s?  Would you like to change this belief? How can you start to do that?

Self-change, like world change, is difficult and the best way to approach it is one simple step at a time. For now, just focus on reducing or eliminating The Three B’s.

Proud Snowflake Here

All of a sudden I’ve become a snowflake! I do have a complexion that looks somewhat like a snowy field on a moonlit night and have spent much of my life covered in Zinc oxide to protect me from sizzling, but I don’t think that’s why the word “snowflake” is popping up in my Facebook and Twitter feeds lately.

stormtrooper-snowflakeThe kind of snowflake I am

“Snowflake,” if you don’t know is supposed to be an insult for those of us who support our fellow human beings and all other creatures living on this planet. I guess some people, those who’d rather wall themselves up and never worry about anyone but themselves, believe that snowflakes are weak and melt easily.

I choose to see snowflakes differently. Although each of us is unique, when we come together we do amazing things:

  • We create peaceful beauty.
  • We can form avalanches that can wipe out anything in our way.
  • Once we get rolling, it’s hard for anything to stop us.


Old white men in ties don’t scare us

  • We have been around for millions of years and aren’t going anywhere simply because someone hurls what they believe to be insults at us. Imagine yelling profanities at a blizzard. See how much effect that has?
  • We’re fun! Tell me snowmen, women and children don’t make you smile!

Two weeks ago, I marched in the Women’s March in my hometown in the pouring rain. I marched because I don’t want anyone to have to drink poisoned water or breathe poison air. I marched because I think sick people should have health care and poor people should have food. I marched because I believe women and women only should get to control their own bodies. I marched because I don’t want to see people who spent decades paying into Medicare and Social Security tossed out on the street, never seeing money that belongs to them. I marched because I believe love is love.

And I marched because I stand strong with my community – those other snowflakes, also out there in the pouring rain, not melting. Getting stronger together.


And last week, I marched again to protest the ban on Muslims. Yes, this snowflake and thousands of others, took to the streets and airports to protect people who don’t look or worship like me. Crazy, right? Supporting people different than you. We snowflakes are like that. We don’t judge each other on color, shape, or beliefs. After all, we’re snowflakes and we know that that will just melt away one day.

I will march on General Strike Day, on Science March Day, on Tax Day. And I’m hoping to – one day soon – march on We’re All Human Beings Sharing the Same Planet with Each Other and All the Other Creatures Who Live Here So We’ve Decided to Give Peace a Chance Day. That’s what this snowflake really wants. Peace. If you’ve ever walked outside after a snowfall, you know we’re all about peace and quiet.

And you know what? No one has paid me to march. Not even in coupons! Can you believe that? Someone willing to stand up for what they believe is right without profiting from it? I know it’s a tough thing to wrap your head around, but it’s true. True-true. Not alt-true, whatever that is. And I have a job!! Actually, I have four jobs! I am one busy snowflake! Good thing it’s been chilly outside so all this sweating didn’t overheat me!

I would like to put this question out to the non-snowflakes in this country. (What is the opposite of snowflake? Hothead?) This is especially for the hotheads who get so upset every time I say something about how I support humanity and the planet.


What is it that makes you so angry to see people supporting each other? Why does the idea of love trumping hate bother you to your core? Why are you so angry all the time, little hothead? Have you considered therapy? Or maybe a massage? We snowflakes love massage – it helps get out the knots from hoisting our protest signs high above our heads.

And what made you think snowflake was an insult? Maybe you should get a thesaurus. There are much better words out there.

60 Things I’ve Learned in My 60 Years So Far

file06561. If you’re not laughing so hard you actually hurt at least once a day, you need to re-evaluate your life.
2. Pigtails are better than Botox.
3. You can only fake something for so long. Eventually the real you will shine through, so you might as well just be yourself all the time.
4. If you don’t love animals, you’re probably going to need a lot of therapy.
5. Sorry blondes – redheads have more fun!
6. Dance – even if others don’t recognize it as dancing.
7. Pay attention to red flags, black auras, and deep green eyes.
8. The family we create is often better for us than the family we’re born into.
9. Jimmy Buffet music is a good cure for sadness.
10. Your boobs will be closer to your waist than your chin for 60% of your life.
11. Tip well and treat everyone like people not the job they do.
12. When you’re happy, notify your face.
13. There is no such thing as too much chocolate (as long as it’s vegan, fair trade, and sustainably harvested).
14. Don’t be afraid to let your talents shine.
15. We catch the mood of the people we spend the most time with, so choose carefully.
16. One of the most important things we should all learn is how to be happy alone.
17. The voices in your head are often out of their minds.
18. Not everyone will like you. In fact, there are some people you really don’t want to like you.
19. If you buy the low sodium version, you’ll just end up adding salt.
20. Picking up dog poop is much less disgusting than wading into political debate.
21. True friends show up in many different ways – vegan soup when you’re sick, helping you in the yard, painting your house, or calling you out on your bullshit.
22. Do what makes your inner 5-year-old happy.
23. Never trim your bangs drunk.
24. It’s okay to have money, but if you value money over love, kindness, and empathy, your life will be sad and empty.
25. You can be a great parent without having any human children.
26. When you realize that we really are all – humans and other sentient creatures – connected, everything in your life will change.
27. Throw the ball, tug the rope, and dangle the fuzzy toy.
28. Even if you had an awful past, you can have an amazing present.
29. If dogs don’t like you, you have some karma issues to work on.
30. Every time you whine, speak out loud five things you’re grateful for.
31. Always wear kooky socks or underwear. Or both.
32. There are 7.6 billion sides to every argument.
33. It is okay to unfriend people both online and in life. This includes blood relatives.
34. Be the most fun you’ve ever had.
35. Even if you’re sure your butt won’t fit, you should at least try to go down the playground slide.
36. You should regularly do things that scare you.
37. Never type LOL unless you are. And work on your real LOL skills.
38. Whenever you say, “I’m doing the best I can,” make sure it’s true.
39. Try to line up your mistakes from biggest to smallest throughout your life, but give yourself a break if you screw this up.
40. Even if no one reads it, when you’ve written something that expresses your soul, you’ve have done something amazing.
41. Jealousy is a waste of energy.
42. Nothing real is measured in Facebook likes.
43. You know you’re having fun if there are sequins on your floor after you get dressed.
44. Saying “No” can be the most freeing thing ever. Saying “Yes” can also be the most freeing ever.
45. Dog hair goes with everything.
46. Pointing fingers is a distraction from what we need to work on.
47. Make funny friends. They’ll keep you giggling.
48. Yes, you really can use those math skills you learned when you were a kid.
49. Time really does fly. One day you’re graduating high school, the next you’re been reincarnated as a tree sloth.
50. Always use your powers for good, not evil.
51. You know it was a really fun adventure if you forget to take pictures.
52. Pay attention to what makes your heart smile.
53. A full calendar is not a good measure for a full life.
54. Count your blessings, not your calories.
55. Squirrels make good listeners, especially if you’ve got nuts in your pockets.
56. When the moon is amazing, you should go outside and look at it.
57. Fall in love often – with friends, with animals, with trees, with blue skies, with amazing meals…
58. Wear your heart on your sleeve, but keep your gallbladder covered up.
59. Everyone deserves to wear a tiara now and then.
60. The best anti-aging cure is dog kisses.

7 Reasons Not to Get Engaged During “Engagement Season”


As ads for diamond rings keep reminding us, December is “Engagment Season.” As someone who has been engaged (and then married and then divorced) three times, I have some advice for those of you who are still single and thinking NOW is the time to change that up.

Here are my Top 7 Reasons Not to Get Engaged During Engagement Season:

1. Do you become a tree on Arbor Day? No? Then you don’t have to get engaged during “Engagement Season.” You also don’t have to get an STD during Chlamydia Awareness Week.


2.  Are you bored with your romantic partner and think that a diamond on her or your finger might just shake things up? Spend the money on a tropical vacation somewhere during earthquake season. THAT will shake things up.

3.  Does it seem like the next step in your relationship? If you’re thinking about making a lifetime commitment to someone because it’s another step in a process, join a 12-step program for fairy tale addicts instead.


4.  Is engagement on your to-do list because all your friends are doing it or they’ve already done it and are having babies and leaving you in the dust? Are you in middle school? If so, you’re too young to get engaged. If not, you have so many options, including finding new friends who are spending their time volunteering to fight climate change or drinking.

5.  Do you or your partner just want some jewelry this holiday season? Fine, get some jewelry. Buy from a local artisan who crafts amazing art for your fingers, wrist, neck, ankle, or nipples. It will cost you less money, cause you less guilt wondering where the stones came from, and help keep an artistic community member from a life of crime.


6.  Have you been in a relationship with someone for too long and it’s about damn time he/she made you an honest man/woman or you did the same for him/her. (Can we please start using gender-neutral pronouns, grammar police?) Really, threats and coercion are how you’re going to play this? That doesn’t bode well for a healthy relationship. Perhaps you could run a republican presidential candidate’s campaign instead.


7.  Has he/she asked you and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings? This one is serious, folks. I got married twice out of not wanting to make my then-partner feel bad that he had popped the question, despite the fact that the first time the ring wasn’t even real! If someone else wants to get married and you’re not ready, it’s time to move on. Date someone else. Get a dog. Write a screenplay. But for god’s sake, don’t say yes when you mean “No, no, I’d rather have a colonoscopy!”

There you have it. If I’ve saved just one single person from making the same mistakes I have, my job here is done.