Noodle on This: Laugh at Life

Noodle* on this…

Photo of small white dog with orange flower laugh at life

Even in the most difficult time we can find something to laugh about – like a dog with a flower.

Life is too important to be taken seriously. ~ Oscar Wilde

Synonyms for important include heavy, momentous, crucial, critical and urgent, just to list a few. So, shouldn’t we take life seriously?  It is not something to laugh at. It is profound. But, according to Oscar Wilde, life is important and yet it should not be taken seriously! What was he saying?

This statement is not necessarily a paradox as many scholars would have us believe. Rather, Mr. Wilde suggests the importance of comparison and contrast. You remember compare and contrast exercises from school don’t you?  At some time during your educational life, you wrote a required essay that compared and contrasted two things, such as apples and oranges. It is a basic exercise in developing critical thinking skills, which in turn, help us cope with life and solve problems.

How can we appreciate the seriousness of life, if we cannot appreciate the humor, joy, and beauty of it? Humor, laughter, joy and delight help us cope with the “hard stuff” of life. They help us stay sane in the midst of conflict and chaos. They help us put things in perspective. According to psychologist Gina Bancera, Ph.D,* “humor addresses the same issues as fear, not to dismiss them but to strengthen our ability to confront them and then laugh them away.… Laughter is an act of courage.”

Laugh at Life – An Example

Recently, I had what can best be described as a “life and death” discussion with my dear friend Emily. For hours afterwards, I replayed the discussion in my head and worried about it. Then, as I was getting ready for bed, I turned on some classical music as I do most nights. That night, it was a full orchestral version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, one of my favorite pieces. Rather than being played by a string quartet or a chamber orchestra as is traditional, it was played by the full London Orchestra, including tubas and trumpets. The first thing I noticed about this version was that the tubas were playing the bassline of the piece. I was delighted to hear them oompahing throughout the piece and I laughed as I listened to the music.

The laughter reduced my stress and helped me shift my thoughts to all the times, Emily and I had laughed together, sometimes over the most ridiculous things. I am still sad and I continue to wonder what life will be like without Emily. But the sadness is eased by the lovely, happy memories of the times we spent together.

Basically, I compared and contrasted Emily’s “life and death” news with her joy and laughter. I know now that no matter what happens, she will always live in my heart and when I think of here I will laugh, or at the very least, smile.

So when life is getting you down, don’t wallow in it, do the courageous thing. Laugh at it!

Your Noodle Challenge

Think about a difficult situation that is making your miserable or angry. Find one thing in it that you can laugh about. now, gather your courage and laugh about it!  Share your experience with us in the Comment section below

Riddle Me This…

Question: Why don’t dogs make good dancers?
Answer:  Because they have two left feet.


* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brain-storm.


*Baarreca, Gina, “Laughing at the Scary Stuff: Humor and Fear,” Psychology Today, April 1, 2013, retrieved July 21, 2017

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Noodle on This: Everyone “Has Need of Help”

Noodle* on This …

SHelp Computer Button Showing Assistance Support Or Answerseek always to do some good somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow-man. Even if it is a little thing, do something for those who have need of help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.

~ Albert Schweitzer
As Blanch Dubois said in Tennessee Williams’ play A Street Care Named Desire, “I have often relied on the kindness of strangers. We live in isolation protected by electronic devices, but sometimes we come face to face with another human being and sometimes that person has need of help. Often, a kind word, a smile, a simple courtesy like holding open a door can make a big difference for the stranger and for us. Let’s reconnect with our humanity and each other through simple acts of kindness.
Your Noodle Challenge
What will you do this week for someone who “has need of help?” Share your ideas with us in the Leave a Reply field below.
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brain-storm.
(Images courtesy of, used with permission)

Noodle on This: Don’t Own Other People’s Problems!

Noodle* on This…

Bear in a angry mood,

Remind you of  someone?

If someone is being unkind or petty or jealous or distant or weird, you don’t have to take it in. You don’t have to turn it into a big psychodrama about your worth. That behavior so often is not even about you. Don’t own other people’s problems.

~ Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, 2010

Your Noodle Challenge

Identify one problem you have owned, that belongs to someone else. How can you stop “owning” that problem? Always be kind and courteous but do not own others’ problems.

Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Riddle Me This…

Question: What do you call a bear with no teeth?
Answer:  A gummy bear.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brain-storm.

(Image courtesy of www,


Noodle on This: Celebrate Your Inner Fool

Noodle on this…

Mark Twain sitting in a wroking chair on a porch

Mark Twain

April 1: This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.

Ah, well, I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God’s fool, and all His work must be contemplated with respect.

~ Mark Twain

We can always count on Mark Twin to “cut to the chase,” or”tell it like it really is” and April Fool’s Day is no exception. We are all fools or do foolish things from time to time and part of being authentic is accepting our foolishness, learning from it and even celebrating it.



Blog author dress ass clown juggling scarves

Your Humble Scribe celebrating her inner fool.

For a while I was a clown – Barnaby Bumbler, Clown for All Occasions. I was literally a fool with my purple paisley vest, orange pants, clown face and shoes. I loved it. I got to be silly and foolish without worrying about what others might think of me, because clowns are silly and it helped me feel comfortable being be foolish and silly in daily life.

On this April Fool’s Day, be authentic by celebrated your inner fool. Tell us one silly thing you will do today in the Reply section below. So, respect your silliness and let it shine. Look for the silly in everyday life. It makes life more fun and more interesting. According to Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

We are all imperfectly messy human beings and the imperfectly, messy person that is you is far superior and much more interesting than any person you may pretend to be or what someone else thinks you should be.

Celebrate the unique, beautiful person you are by doing one thing today that is authentically you You are uniquely, wonderfully you. Celebrate the authentic you.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm

Photo Credit: The Mark Twain House and Museum

Noodle on This: Find Common Ground with Others

Noodle* on this …

Image of oxpecker bird and zebra face to face finding common ground

If two different species (the oxpecker and zebra) can find common ground, why can we humans not do the same thing with one another?

Embrace a diversity of ideas. Embrace the fact that you can disagree with people and not be disagreeable. Embrace the fact that you can find common ground – if you disagree on nine out of 10 things, but can find common ground on that 10th, maybe you can make progress. If you can find common ground, you can accomplish great things.

~ David Boies, Attorney

The oxpecker and zebra could not be more different and yet they live and thrive together. One would think that because they are so different they would have co common ground and that a tiny bird might be afraid of a big zebra. But, they have found common ground.

The oxpecker feeds on the ticks and other parasites that live on the zebra and when danger approaches, the bird flies up screaming a warning to the zebra. The zebra gives the oxpecter a safe place to land and rest its wings. Both the zebra and oxpecker benefit from the relationship.

We humans cannot always see that we are connected to one another and how we can support and help one another. When we see someone “not like us” or hear something with which we do not agree, we immediately go into judgment mode.

Working in an emergency room, I come in contact with many people “not like me” every day and although it is sometimes hard, I am learning to see each person as a fellow traveler on the rocky road of life. So, I look for a way to connect with them. Sometimes a person is wearing a colorful shirt or has a cool tattoo or a Chicago Cubs cap (Cubs Rule and miracles happen!) These things become common ground for a conversation and as a result, I get to meet some amazing, brave, funny, interesting people who, at first glance appeared to be “not like me.”

Your Noodle Challenge

What will you do to find common ground with people “not like you?”  Write your idea(s) in the Leave a Reply field below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image Credit: Original watercolor painting by Diane Chinn. All rights reserves

Noodle on This: Reading Takes You Places

Noodle* on this…

An Apple for the Teacher Dedicate the next book you read to the people who taught you to read

An Apple for the Teacher
Dedicate the next book you read to the people who taught you to read.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~ Dr. Seuss

Reading takes you places – both literally and figuratively.  In school and work, it prepares you to be and do your best, which may lead to good performance reviews, raises, promotions and even new career opportunities.

There are other benefits of reading, too…

It improve your memory and  helps keep you mind active. This is a deterrent to dementia. Reading builds you vocabulary helping you to express your thoughts and feelings more effectively. It supports your well being by reducing stress and helping you be more patient and understanding with both yourself and others.

Reading can also take you to new and interesting places. Recently, I read Douglas E, Richards’s book Split Second. In this fascinating science fiction/action book, Richands wrote about both time travel and space travel, which got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing):

What if you could choose to travel through time or space? Either time or space – not both. Which would you chose and why? 

I would like to travel back in time.  Why? Because those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  Imagine being an invisible witness to the Yalta Conference in February 1945 where Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Franklin Roosevelt were the key decision makers. The decisions they made at Yalta changed the map of Europe. What was said? What happened that is not in any of the history books and what can we learn  from these leaders and the people around them?

Your Noodle Challenge

This challenge is a multiple choice. In the Leave a Reply field below you may

A. Tell us what book you are currently reading and your thoughts about the book.

B. Answer this question: What if you could choose to travel through time or space? Either time or space – not both. Which would you chose and why? 

C. Answer both A and B.


The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading. ~ David Bailey

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image Credit: Original watercolor painting by Diane Chinn 

Find Your Passion and Let it Soar!

Noodle* on This…

Discover your passion and set it free to soar like this seagull about to take off.

Discover your passion and set it free to soar like this seagull about to take off.

My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery – always buzzing, humming, soaring, roaring, diving and why? What’s this passion for?  ~ Virginia Woolf

OK, the holidays are over. You packed away the decorations and you may or may not have broken or forgotten your New Year’s Resolutions. You’ve gone back to work and with no vacation in sight, you may be sinking into the depths of a winter depression. Here in San Diego, winter is really tough. Not!

You need something to make your mind and heart soar and roar – something you are passionate about. What excites you? What do you enjoy doing that you haven’t you done recently? What is your passion?

Whatever it is, do it! Put it on your schedule and invite a family member or friend to join you in your soaring, roaring adventure. Find joy in your passion and share it.

What will bring me joy and make your heart soar and roar? Understanding and mastering  Fractal Art.  My dog will keep me company and my sister will check in from time to time to make sure that I haven’t passed out from lack of sleep and/or food.  I get very focused when I  am fractaling.

Use the space below to share you passion with us.

Happy Soaring and Roaring!

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm

Original watercolor painting by Diane Chinn.



Share the Spirit of the Season Throughout the Year

Noodle* on this…

spirit-of-the-holidays-12516The spirit of the holidays is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.  ~ Thomas S. Monson



How will you share the spirit of the holiday – love and generosity – not just during this festive season, but throughout the year?

Here are 12 simple suggestions:

  1. When you are at the grocery store, help another customer put their groceries in their car and return the grocery cart to the store for them.
  2. Call a family member or friend just to say “Hello, I am thinking of you.”
  3. Tweet or post on Facebook something that you admire about a family member, friend, or co-worker.
  4. Volunteer at a local hospital or nursing home.
  5. Take the time to learn about a problem facing the area where you live, such as flooding, drought, mental illness, or homelessness. What you do to help?
  6. Help a neighbor take out the trash cans for garbage pick-up.
  7. Thank customer service workers, such as food service, store clerks, call enter operations, business/medical receptionists, and others for their help.
  8. Donate shoes to a charity for those in need.
  9. When someone talks to you, stop everything you are doing and give that person your undivided attention.
  10. Don’t be afraid to look a homeless person in the eye and smile.
  11. Find a account of a family or person in need and donate to the account.
  12. Have a particularly difficult neighbor or coworker? Be extra nice to him or her.

Share your commitment with us in the form fields blow.

My holiday wish for you:

… Simplicity, patience and compassion.
These are your three greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward, yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

~ Lao Tzu , Tao Te Ching, #67 (Stephen Mitchell Translation)

coexist, noodle on this

Co-exit image courtesy of Orren Merton

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Noodle on This: Admit You Don’t Know

Noodle* on this…Three monkeys statye and ignornace
It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
~ Thomas Sowell

Once you identify “your own ignorance” what should you do? You may be thinking, It depends on the situation and to a certain extent, it does. We want to be seen as knowledgeable and informed. We also have a fear of being seen as incompetent, inadequate or even worse an imposter. In fact,  being afraid of “not knowing” is so common that psychologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Counseling Center call it the imposter syndrome. According to their research, 70 percent of people report feeling like an imposter from time to time.  But it really is OK not to know everything all the time.  

Each of us has a specific area of expertise.  My friend Stanley is a law professor specializing in law and religion, constitutional law, and torts (civil actions).  I jokingly told him that if I got into “legal trouble” I would call him to represent me.  He chuckled, shook his head and said that he took criminal procedure in law school; but that was many, many years ago. He said that I would need an attorney who specialized in criminal law. He was comfortable saying I don’t know. 

It really is OK to say I don’t know. It tells people you are being honest, which helps build trust. It also frees you to say I don’t know but I will find out,” and then take the necessary steps to find out.  It also sets you apart from those who “make up” an answer  or who pass the buck by saying go ask Harvey.

Curiosity may be hazardous for cats but it is a healthy desirable instinct for humans.

Curiosity may be hazardous for cats; but, it is a healthy and courage trait for humans.

Saying I don’t know but I will find the answer, also shows that you take initiative and that you are willing to learn new things. This shows that you are courageous, flexible and willing to be creative, to try new things  all of which lead to problem solving and progress.

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge
I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. We will not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth of the day, but remain always uncertain … In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar. – Richard Feynman

When was the last time you willingly and freely said I don’t know?

Be courageous! Admit it, when you don't know the answer.

Be courageous! Admit it when you don’t know the answer.

  • How did it feel?
  • What happened as a result of saying I don’t know?
  • Did you learn something?
  • What opportunities or alternatives were presented as a result?

Share your experience with us in the Comments field below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

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Your Weekly Noodle: January 1, 2016

Noodle* on this …Happy-New-Year-Images-2016-advance
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~ Oprah Winfrey

It is traditional to start the New Year with a resolution.  I make the same resolution every year: I resolve not to make any New Year’s resolutions. As Oprah suggests, let’s get it right in 2016 and start a new tradition a new tradition.

According to, resolve means to decide to take action while commit means to bind or obligate. So, let’s commit to living grateful lives in 2016.

What is Gratitude?
Gratitude or thank you is an appreciation for what one has received. When someone helps us with “no strings” attached, we express our gratitude by saying thank you. According to Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at the University of California Berkley and an expert on the topic:

Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves… We acknowledge that other people – or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset – gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.

Why live in Gratitude?
Living in gratitude is one way to get it right in several ways. According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, people who live in gratitude are healthier than those who do not. They have fewer aches and pains and are more likely to take care of themselves through regular exercise and doctor’s visits. They are also more likely to have better control of their emotions and experience less depression than others. Grateful people sleep better.

People who regularly express gratitude have better interpersonal relationships at home and at work. They are more empathic and less aggressive. Gratitude increases self-esteem, makes us more resilient and reduces stress levels.  According to Neale Donald Walsh, The struggle ends when gratitude begins.

Being Grateful
Gratitude, not just saying thank you but appreciating that what we have makes life easier, more enjoyable and meaningful.  Recently, I spent some time with a woman in a stressful situation – her son was very sick. I was helping her with a complicated problem, but through it all, she was the epitome of patience. She did not get frustrated, impatient or complain. When I thanked her for her patience, she said, “I don’t have much, but I have patience.”

patient womanI looked at her, saw a caring mother in pain and said, “I’m guessing that you have much more than just patience.”

She was silent for a moment, and then she said. “Yes, you’re right. I have my wonderful son, his sisters and brother. I have a loving family and friends. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, money to pay the bills and a car that runs. I have my heath.” She smiled and said, “I have a lot. Thank you for reminding me.”

She was right. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of all that we have and to take the time to appreciate and be grateful for it. It helps us keep things in perspective, which helps us manage our emotions.

2014-11-26-gratitude2-thumbWhen I remind myself of what I am grateful for, the partial list reads as follows:

  • I am thankful for my family, my friends, and my silly dog Curly.
  • I am grateful for the people in my neighborhood and that we look out for one another.
  • I appreciate the people I meet each day as I live my life.
  • I am thankful for the trials and obstacles I encounter and the lessons I learn from them.
  • I find joy in doing work I love and getting to work with good, caring, fun, committed people.
  • I am grateful that I live in a place where I can ride my bicycle all year round, and,
  • I am especially thankful for you, my Gentle Readers – for your support and encouragement.  Happy New Year!

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ~ Melody Beattie

half fullWhat are you grateful for and what will you do to live in gratitude throughout the year? I will live in gratitude by:

  • Saying thank you every day;
  • Doing my best work;
  • Doing all I can to support my loved ones, friends, and co-workers;
  • Seeing the glass as half-full, and not half-empty; and,
  • Treating everyone I meet with respect and kindness no matter how brief the encounter.

Share your commitment to gratitude with us in the Comments section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm

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