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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Questioning My Sanity

I question my sanity regularly. Fortunately, it usually doesn’t answer and I take that as a sign that I’m mostly still okay — or perhaps my sanity has taken a vow of silence.

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Three weeks ago a new puppy joined my family. Well, he didn’t just show up at the front door  and when I answered, say with his eyes lowered, “I’ve been searching for my birth mom and I believe you may be her.” I was somewhat involved in the process. Involved, as in, I decided that my three senior wiener dogs and I could probably use some youthful energy to perk things up around here, then I scoured all the animal rescue sites nearby for dachshunds, filled out three applications, and went to meet a young fellow named “Boston” who was advertised as a 1-1/2 year old dachshund.

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Did I mention that I frequently have doubts about my sanity?

As it turns out, Boston was lying about his age. And lineage. And name.

His name is actually Murray. I know this because when I call it, he comes. Two of my other dogs are named Watson and Justin, so Boston was not going to work. Plus, when he barked, there was no trace of an East Coast accent.

He’s definitely part dachshund — the stubborn, hole-digging, begging for treats until you cave in just to be released from the overwhelming guilt in those eyes part. But he’s also got a little something else in him. I’m thinking kangaroo, given that he can jump 3-feet straight up in the air. I’m thinking maybe I should carry him around in an apron pocket.

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And given his proclivity for chewing everything, including my earlobes (which is the most action I’ve had in years), I’m pegging his real age at around 9 months.

Murray was found roaming the streets in California. Perhaps he was hunting for a good Pinot Grigio.

So here I am matriarch to a family of three dachshunds and one dachshund hybrid (perhaps I should have called him Prius!) I’ll stand at the back door, rattling off a list of possible names until I hit on the one that belongs to the dog who is digging holes, eating tomatoes, taunting the koi (wouldn’t Taunting the Koi be an excellent band name?), or just obstinately sitting steps away from me ignoring me for the hell of it.

I was right in my prediction that a younger dog would pick up the energy level around here. Everyone is awake a lot more than previously. This is a good thing, for the most part, except at 3 a.m. when sleeping might be a good idea. And everyone is in better shape too. Walks are faster and more plentiful as we attempt to wear the newest family member out so that I can go out into the world and earn enough money to buy squeaky toys for him to destroy the next day.

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Am I glad I have a new pup? Absolutely! Am I also crazy to have four dogs? I’m fairly certain of it. But I’d rather be crazy happy than any other kind of crazy.

A Canine Guide to Presidential Candidates

We all know that dogs are better judges of character than we lowly humans, so why not ask them how to choose the right candidates for president?

After surveying my three dachshunds and a terrier and labradoodle we met on a walk, here are the criteria they came up with that should help you count a candidate out:

A human would NOT make a good president if:

He starts sentences with, “I’m not a cat, but…” and then tells cats what they should and shouldn’t do.

imagesWhen he goes on the paper, it’s the U.S. Constitution.

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She rides around in the pocket or purse of rich folks.

imagesHe wants to build a wall to keep out losers.

imagesHe always sticks his snout into other people’s business.

images42He hasn’t learned a new trick in decades.

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He only hangs out with his own breed.

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Not only did he not pass obedience school, he still barks with a 4th grade education.

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He blames others for his mistakes… and his brother’s mistakes.

hqdefaultHe doesn’t care who he steps (or sits) on.

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She’s never been a working dog.

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He isn’t a service human; he’s a “serve me” human.

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She thinks everyone should worship the same squeak toy she does.

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He believes in piddle down economics.

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He is against reproductive rights.

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He whimpers about how much he misses the “good old days.”

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What’s a Slut to Do?

I’m so tired of people yelling “slut” at women who use birth control and would like it to be covered by insurance. Men who carry around a 12-pack of condoms along with their fully covered little blue pills, on the other genital, get a wink and a nod for doing what guys do.

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I like math and this is an equation that doesn’t add up: If X (women) don’t have sex in order not to be so slutty, and Y (men) have sex in order to be men, who are Y having sex with? We all know that the folks who consider women slutty also can’t visualize gay sex without their heads exploding, so how do we solve for Z? Is it socks? Apple pie? A rolled-up copy of the Wall Street Journal?

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I’d also like to know if the quaaludes Bill Cosby used to rape women were covered by insurance. Really, this question has kept me up at night for a week.

I am the least slutty woman I know. I’ve had sex with three men in my life and all of them became my husbands. It’s my rule — if I sleep with someone, I have to pay for it not with pregnancy, but with marriage. Since my last divorce nearly 7 years ago, I’ve slept with a total of 0 people. That’s right, I’m much more abstinent that Bristol Palin! I’m thinking of renting out my uterus to Michelle Duggar in hopes that she might pop out a free-thinking child who doesn’t consider molesting his sisters a normal youthful indiscretion.

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So, no, I’m not a slut, a whore, a tramp, a skank, or any of the other lovely words tossed loosely at girls and women who have sex, think about sex, can spell sex, or belong to some kind of sect. Yet for nearly 30 years, I relied on birth control of some sort, primarily the pill. I credit my ability to live the way I want to Margaret Sanger and a tilted uterus I refer to as “the goalie” because she never let anything into the net.

When I first started taking the pill, I was 17 and it was free at the university health center in… wait for it… Texas! All I had to do was bear with a good ol’ Texas gyno who told me, a virgin seeking to prevent pregnancy that I had “childbearing hips.” Fortunately I proved that my hips were meant for walking and that’s just what they did… without having a human child hoisted up on them.

But because I had sex, albeit it with a series of spouses, and relied occasionally on birth control I couldn’t afford (hey, I stole toilet paper from the library and ketchup packets from fast food chains throughout college), I guess I WAS a slut. Someone should tell that to my college debate team because when I refused to sleep with any of the guys, I was labeled “frigid” and a “narc.” Well, the latter was more because I also turned down offers of cocaine and LSD.

If the voices calling women “sluts” get any louder, why don’t we implement the solution those folks always offer up: Let’s just unscrew everyone. No birth control or abortion for us? Fine, no sex for you! Jerry Seinfeld had the Soup Nazi; we’ll become to the Sex Nazis. No sex for you, no sex for you, bread for you…

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The good news is that studies have shown that women who don’t have sex become smarter while men become stupider. Here’s my plan: No sex with anyone until the presidential elections in November 2016 (you can do it; I’ve made it 7 years!). By then they guys will be too dumb to find their way to the polls and we’ll finally have the matriarchy we need.

When anyone asks where you came up with such a crazy idea, tell them a slut suggested it.

50 Shades of Embarrassment

If you’re thinking about testing the waters of BDSM, might I suggest you go for ice cream instead? As someone who has been there and done that and who now knows that BDSM means “bad decision, stupid moron,” let me fill in some blanks the movie 50 Shades of Gray conveniently left out:

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1.  Handcuffs not only chafe, when your arms are bound above your head or behind your back, you will end up with a shoulder injury. Years later, you’ll have to lie and say you hurt yourself, uh, skiing;

2.  Clamps are for wood shop, not for nipples;

3.  The pleasure you get from pain is from it being over. If you really need to feel this, simply light a candle, put your hand in the flame and then remove it. You won’t need a contract for that.

4.  If you want someone who pressures, coerces, stalks, wheedles, whines, and bullies you and who shows up unannounced when you’re on the toilet or at work, borrow someone’s 2-year-old for the day. At least you know he/she will eventually grow up.

5.  Being told what to do in every aspect of your life is the job of drill sergeants in the Army… and no one thinks boot camp is sexy.

6.  If someone insists you don’t touch them during sex, they’re either psychologically damaged or they turned into a warty ogre the minute you were blindfolded. Either way, ewww!

7.  Anyone who spends more money on torture devices than flowers will always get you something you don’t want for Valentine’s Day, like a coupon for another piercing.

8.  If your ass is too sore from the spankings for you to sit comfortably, forget lounging and walk right out… now.

I had to learn these things the hard… and painful way. I hope you don’t have to.