A Place to Laugh at Life…or Not!

Posts tagged ‘stress management’

ARGH! It’s a Real Word

Copy of Copy of IMG_20150606_234349_215ARGH!

It’s a Real Word

Language says a lot about a culture.

My sister and I were talking about this the other day.

“Did you know there are over a hundred Norwegian words for ’snow?’” We searched Google to make sure the rumor is true. Sure enough, it was all right there in a huge list. Some examples:

Tine (it’s melting)

Slatter (it’s wet)

Fana (it’s heavy)

And that’s where we noticed Scotland’s enormous list of ‘rain’ words, such as:

Spindrift (spraying rain)


Smue (thick drizzle)

Our observation?  They spend a LOT of time analyzing the weather!

And what about the English language?  Emotions!  Incredibly, there are over 3000 English words to describe how a person is feeling. Think we spend a lot of time trying to feel understood??

You’d assume these words would be evenly distributed! Half for negative emotions and half for positive emotions.   But there’s no 50-50 here:


Negative words 2000                                                Positive words   1000

The math isn’t hard. Two-thirds of our words for emotions are DOWNERS.

That’s a majority, folks.  It appears most of our conversations focus on the LOW moods.

Ya think?? You know how it is…We sit around talking to our friends and co-workers. What’s going wrong, what we’d change if we could but feel powerless to do so. What (and who) gets on our last nerve. Usually we share a laugh or two about it. Then we walk away feeling connected, normalized, validated.

And dialogue finished, the chatter remains in our heads. Ruminating on our negative feelings, our brains want to scan for the precise combination. We’ll feel better when we get a handle on it.

“Frustrated and confused.”

“Restless and lost.”

“Ignored, isolated, alone.”

Man, just writing those words made me depressed!

Of course we need to talk about this stuff.  So, it’s all well and good. How can we process it if we don’t lean into it??   But in all fairness to the Health and Sanity Department (I just made that up) shouldn’t we also give some  focus to our celebrations and joys?

At least half the time, anyway…

That’s when my sister and I got laughing about a nice short word that perfectly describes a negative emotion—


Such a rich word, isn’t it?  In one quick burst of sound, one can express the precise feeling, knowing that everyone understands somehow.

“I feel so….argh!”

We noticed this in comic books. It’s a well-used word! Comic characters don’t spend a lot of time mulling over their inner feelings. They just say “Argh!” and get it out all at once.  They have a way of getting right to the point.  Like that guy who gushes steam from his ears. No explanation necessary. You just know he’s mad!!

Like a giant purge.

“Argh” has versatile spellings, too. Stretched out with lots of rrrr’s and ggg’s and hhh’s, it can be hollered out loud or softly muttered. It all depends on the degree of exasperation.

Like this:   “Arrrggghhh!”

So here are some real-life situations that didn’t seem so funny at the time, where this wonderful word comes in handy:

  • After three gloriously uninterrupted shopping hours at The Mall, you emerge into the parking lot to a sea of shining vehicles. Your car is among them. You’re pretty sure.
  •  You pour Lean Kashi into your cereal bowl, feeling rather proud to have passed on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. That’s when you discover there’s no milk in the refrigerator. But there’s donuts.
  • Approaching airport security, hoping the rumor is true that Shoe Removal is no longer mandatory, you spot your brand new 3.6 oz bottle of Hazelnut Hand Lotion lying inside your handbag.
  • Sitting in the car waiting for the stop SIGN to turn green.

Yes, it’s true. It’s my life!!

Now if my readers think I’m advocating changing human anguish into comic strip efficiency (or worse, pirate lingo), I’ve given the wrong impression. We need thousands of words to describe our complexity! It’s vital that we process our feelings, to identify and discuss and ponder the troublesome and disturbing. It just seems like we could all help each other intensify The Happy Times, too. Maybe we could start asking each other, “What’s going right in your world today?”

Maybe our own culture could use a little change. Not snow or rain.  Just a few more positive words.

And for those occasions when you or someone else needs a shoulder to cry on?   Check this out:


R eal

G enuine

H uman

is having a moment!    Go ahead and embrace it.


It's Simple!

It’s Simple!


It’s Simple!

  • A few years ago, our family moved from a small town to a big city.  While buying one house, living in another house, and trying to sell a third house, life got a little grim.  Cashflow was scarce, and spontaneous spending had to be cut out completely.  We all knew it was temporary, but life still felt a little dreary. The days no longer carried the same lighthearted lilt they used to.

It was like a starvation diet.

And as much as we grownups hate that “tight budget” feeling, convincing our kids to stop begging for stuff is so lovely, isn’t it?  You’re in some public place, your six-year-old spots the very item he simply must have for survival, you say no, he screams, fellow customers pull out their phones, you stick the item in your cart, wave to the onlookers, then slip the prize back onto some random shelf when your kid’s distracted.

Sometimes my Firm Face is  glad  we can’t afford it. That’s when I agree with my offspring that I am indeed the meanest mother in the world. Other times my Firm Face kind of melts, and my heart too, because I’d really like to buy That Thing for them.  We all know the whole Needs vs Wants lesson.  But when you feel like you’re constantly denying yourself, it’s hard to Just Say No every day, to everyone.

One particularly bleak Saturday, I realized what was happening to us.  We’d been so excited to make this move and have these changes!  We were closing in on purchasing exactly the house we wanted!  But we were starting to let that old “Scarcity Mentality” seep in.  It brings out the worst in people.  So, I figured, what’s the opposite of scarcity?


Here’s what I did.  I sat down next to my 12-year-old daughter and asked, “What does abundance look like to you?”


“I mean…if you could have whatever you wanted…what would your bedroom look like?  Your closet?  Our family room?  Dinner time?  Saturday afternoons?”

I took time to ask each family member, when no one else was listening.  Opening up our minds to possibilities really cheered us up!

We had some laughs and shared some thoughts.  We got to know each others’ preferences in some startling ways.  But even better than that, with our imaginations conjuring up all sorts of richness, we discovered that many of our wishes were not monetary at all!  We could do  these things, or make a plan to get them started.  We even came up with strategies for a few delightful surprises!

Here’s what The Abundant Life looks like for our family:

A checker tournament with Dad     Housekeeper

A framed mirror in the hallway   Red high heels

Frequent walks to the ice cream store      Aquarium

Basketful of apples         Long drives up the mountain

Fresh flowers on the table              Wrought iron fence

A tablet for everyone        Softer bedsheets

More pillows on the bed     Fountain in the front yard

Valet parking when it’s available          Popcorn machine

Popsicles in the freezer       Gymnastics lessons        Palm trees

Theater room         Secret compartments       A tree house

Artist easel with canvas         Cookie jar never empty

Individual cereal boxes with everyone’s favorite        Drum set

Books by the fireplace         Family water balloon fight

Scented candles          New games for Xbox      Cozy socks

This idea worked out great for us.  The grouchies were gone!  We had new fun things to focus on.  And you’d be surprised at how many of them really did happen!  Ask your family what Abundance is for them. It may be simpler than you think!



Pool’s Ready!
School in Session

        The moment has come! My husband, The Pool Guy, who devotes himself (almost) entirely to having a happy wife, has consumed enormous amounts of hours and  $$ to de-winterizing our backyard swimming pool! (Since “winterize” is a real word, it’s a pity I can’t say “summerize.” But that gets a little complicated. De-winterize will have to do.)
Of course, it would be nice if pool care were truly “finished,” but all who own pools know that sort of fun in the sun has only begun. (Take note, it rhymes) But, no worries for me! It’s his job to clean the pool. Me, I do ….pretty much everything else.


As I look out over the fresh light blue, sparkling water that awaits my tired body, I’m thinking how nice it will be when I can actually dive in at any time of the day. In about 3 weeks. I think I’ll call it Anticipatory Set.
I’m a school teacher, life coach, writer, mother, and a lover of life. As the big Last Day of School rapidly approaches, I confess I found familiarity with Jen Hatmaker, the author of one of the funniest posts I have ever read. Located in Huffingtonpost.com, the article is entitled  “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.”

“We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks.”  Hilarious.

The author describes her conscientious mommy efforts back in September, and the grave contrast in the middle of May. She’s listening to her emergent reader offspring sound out w-o-r-d-s for the 688 millionth time. For 9 months she’s been packing lunches, making costumes, checking homework, reading school correspondence. And now she’s only doing it…sorta. She’s pooped!
Like anyone–moms, dads, principals, bus drivers, school teachers, crossing guards–we’re pooped, too!  Heck, the students are pooped!  It’s that warm spring sunshine pouring into our windows, triggering happy chaos in our heads. It’s not that we don’t adore our children, our students, our jobs.  The World has trained us to start stocking up on beach towels right about now. I mean, when that ridiculous Ice-Cream-Man music sallies up and down the lane, don’t your kids start digging into the sofa cushions looking for quarters?  It’s like autoplay.

That’s why I was more than a little disturbed that someone could even THINK to make a negative comment at the end of Jen’s article. “All children are valuable,” said the commentor, “and their education matters right up to the end, whether or not their mother is tired.” Basically, she was calling out the author for laughing at herself, for making light of the fact that sending five children off to school on the 167th day of the year has officially been declared Overwhelming.
I felt sad for that mom. The mom that saw no humor in that. I thought, she probably bakes homemade Ding Dongs just so she can slip a little kale in there.

I began to envision that Mama obsessively-compulsively-disorderly writing out a chart scheduling her children’s summer days. Of course she’s right!  Not only is every child valuable, but every day is valuable!  Is school-attendance-with-shipshape-parents the only way kids can learn?

Something inside me wanted to beckon that lady’s inner child.

If you’re a mom (or dad) who frets about what living things might be growing inside your child’s backpack, take heart! Education does not end on the 180th day of school!  Every day is a learning day!   Bare-feet-in-the-grass, sleeping bags, cloud shapes, lemondade stands, caterpillars, mud pies, rain dances, treehouses, tide pools…  Maybe even a legendary road trip or two!  As your children watch you embrace the richness of their world, your spontaneity and adaptability will be forever imprinted.  Breathe deeply, Mama,and relax!  The end of the school year is a terrific time to anticipate all the other  ways to learn.  Your child’s mind is swimming with ideas.

Which reminds me…