A Funny Thing Happened…

Laughing babies: the ancient practice of forcing strangers to look at pictures of your children basi

I’ve been thinking about laughter lately, and not just in regard to my reading and writing. I’ve been noticing how moments of genuine laughter make me feel warm and happy and exhausted in a good way.

So, what is it about laughter?

Here’s a little bit of randomness I discovered:

Laughter is a contagious, involuntary response. Ever had the giggle snorts during an important meeting, and the person sitting next to you begins to do the same thing, even though they don’t have a clue why you’re doing it? Ever watched a newscast when one reporter starts laughing and the others follow? Yep, contagious and involuntary.

Snoopy he he he

Laughter releases endorphins, which can produce all sorts of wacky but beneficial biochemical changes in the body. These include increased blood flow, relieved pain, and an improved immune system.

Laughter can also burns calories.

Most daily laughter occurs during everyday social situations, not as a result of things like jokes or funny movies.

The study of laughter is called gelotology. (Yes, there is such a thing.)

Some experts believe that we laughed more in the past than today  – 20 minutes daily back in the 1950s compared to 6 minutes today. (Okay, I don’t know how they got these stats, but it’s still a curious thing to me.)

The first Sunday of May every year is known as World Laughter Day.


This year, I want to pay attention and laugh more. Every day. I think Dr. Seuss said it best:

From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.

When was the last time you really laughed?

Smiling Ostrich


Laughing baby photo by Constance Bannister. Snoopy from socialtimes.com. Smiley face from smscs.com. Smiling Ostrich by Jamie Hanson.


The Good Stuff

Pardon me, but I need to rant a little.  About the news.

Why does everything have to be so nauseatingly sensationalized?  Dirty, horrific, outrageous, terrifying, shocking?

When I signed on to my email server today, which shall not be named here, the following headliners appeared, and these are just a few, mind you:

Executive Suspected of Murdering His Wife

Star Reveals Hollywood Horror Story

Amish Girl Accused of Bizarre Act

Intersection Called Corridor of Sin

Harmless Prank Went Horribly Wrong

What Mom Buys for Son is Killing Him

Man Claims Creature Stalked Him

Monster Said to Live in This Lake

And here are a few more, from random popular news sources:

Doctors Intentionally Concealed Decapitation of Baby During Delivery

Bumble Bee Tuna Plant Worker Cooked in Steamer Identified

Man Stabs Grandmother 111 Times, Slits Her Belly, Removes her Organs

I didn’t have to search for these type stories.  They’re everywhere.  The news is saturated with them.

What is going on?  Are we not a people of intellectual integrity?  Do the news powers that be have to report on every vile, despicable act?  Is this what we want to read as news?  Oh, please.

Where’s the uplifting news?  The stories that make us appreciate, smile, relish the infinite positive possibilities?  Where’s the good stuff?

Give me the good stuff.


Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.  ~Author Unknown

Newsy Stuff

I’m working with Amanda Jenkins this semester at VCFA.  Brain open.

Here’s the latest in the attic office remodel.  One view is looking toward the window where my desk will be.  The other is looking toward the door.  It’s off-center, so the view is a bit skewed, but I think it will be nice when we finish it.  If only I could pick out the flooring.

Monday Musings

Only about two more weeks until my first residency at Vermont College.  I’m really excited!  I’ve been listening to the lecture CDs again and also doing a lot of reading.  Along with the workshop (I’m in Louise Hawes’ and Amanda Jenkins’ group), there are books listed from the lecture series that I need to be familiar with.  I’ve also been watching a lot of movies, looking at screenplays by Horton Foote.  Tonight it was The Trip to Bountiful (oddly enough, I somehow missed seeing this, or if I saw it, I don’t remember it.  And thanks, Martha for mentioning it to me!)  I loved it.  Touching, funny, bittersweet.  Geraldine Page was brilliant.

Here is a picture of my writing room in progress.  It’s come a long way from the previous pictures.  I can’t wait for it to be finished.

Good Stuff

Specific Good Stuff:  I’ve had a lightbulb experience with my writing.  I don’t know why it happened now, with the book I just finished reading (The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice – great debut novel), but it did.  It’s Simple and Huge.  And now it’s mine.  Yes. 

Random Good Stuff:

1.  The word yoga is now an integral part of my vocabulary .

2.  Hermit crabs are boring but curious creatures.  (Thanks to one of my fourth graders for donating (abandoning) hers ; I took it and felt I had to buy another one to keep the first one company.  I’m a sucker for all animals, including these little critters.  And they don’t know it yet, but they’re going to be released in a more natural environment this summer when we go home to the coast.)

3.  Trees – the big oak in our front yard is fully leafed out and beautiful.  I love trees.

4.  Empathy and tenderness.  Words I like.


I woke the other morning and wanted my children.  We’d been on a spring break ski trip together, and my husband and I got up early to fix breakfast each day like when they were younger (I, like my mother, always believed in hot breakfasts) – cinammon rolls, eggs, bacon,  fresh orange juice – and they’d come down bright-eyed, ready for life.   So we had a great trip, lots of fun, and then we came home.   I was glad to be in my own bed – *sigh* –  but when I woke the next morning, my first thought was my children.  For just an instant, I thought they were there, and the house felt full and complete, and I thought, what can I fix for breakfast?  And then I remembered they weren’t there, that they were quasi-adults, living their own lives.

 And I missed them.

Random Stuff

Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl by N. D. Wilson.  You really should read this book.

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World

I’m ready for Spring Break now, only it doesn’t get here until March. 

I’m a pantster.  Wish I weren’t.

I need to make a really hard decision, and I’m putting it off.  Scary hard.  Out of my comfort zone hard.  Expensive hard.  And I need to do it by the end of February. 

I tried violin lessons for a while but couldn’t seem to carve out enough time to practice like I needed to.  I love the instrument.  Maybe later.

I have a beautiful old antique sleigh I’d like to get refinished and put in my bedroom.

I need a new desk – one that doesn’t feel crowded and small but not too big either. 

I had some good news about my writing today.  Small, but good.