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

Photo credit:








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.


Reader Comments

Julian January 22, 2017 at 2:42 AM
Useful info. Lucky me I discovered your website by chance, and I’m shocked why this twist of fate didn’t took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

Mr. Bill January 6, 2017 at 6:46 PM
Hello Ms. Chinn- I’ve missed seeing your regularly sent emails which I truly enjoy reading. I’m not familiar with fractaling. We do however have fracking in the upper Midwest that is causing much concern. I learned something new this year!



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.

Photo Credits

Your Weekly Noodle: November 11, 2015

Being rude does not make you right.

Being loud and rude does not make you right.

 Noodle* on this…
You can get through life with bad manners, but it’s easier with good manners
. ~ Lillian Gish

In our tell it like it is, anything goes society, etiquette, also known as good manners, seems quaint, if not downright antiquated. In fact, good manners are becoming so rare that British actor Bill Nighy said, if you have an enthusiasm for what they call ‘good manners,’ sometimes people don’t quite believe you. I’ve had that once or twice before, where they assume you can’t be for real.

What are good manners?
Good manners are about doing the right thing at the right time and the most basic rule of etiquette is being  courteous to everyone, regardless of their position or the situation. Every person is entitled to basic courtesy and respect.

Having good manners means that we:

  • Treat everyone we encounter with courtesy and respect, regardless of how the other person behaves. According to Jackson Brown, Jr. Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people’s bad manners.
  • Listen to others without interrupting.
  • Arrive for meeting or appointments before the scheduled start time.
  • Use proper grammar when speaking and refrain from inappropriate remarks and off-color jokes.
  • Refrain from using  cell phones or electronic tablets when talking or meeting with others.
  • Don’t listen to or spread in gossip.
  • Remember that our actions speak louder than our words. If we do not use good manners, no one will listen to what we may say about their importance.
  • Say please and thank you often.

What are the benefits of good manners?
Like other topics I’ve written about, such as silence and compassion, good manners are a source of power and a vital skill worth developing and using every day. Good manners attract attention and build respect, which in turn can lead to promotions and pay raises at work .  Good manners also support personal relationships, build trust and prompt others to treat us with good manners. In our personal and professional, good manners create a psychological open space where problems can be resolved.

respectYour Weekly Noodle Challenge…

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. ~ Emily Post

Awareness means that we respect the feeling and opinions of others even if we do not agree with them.

In summary: Good Manners = Respect.

How do you show respect for others, even if you don’t agree with them?

Share your ideas with us in the Comments section below.

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

Photo Credits

Your Weekly Noodle: October 21, 2015

We all have stories to tell and they are not just for children

We all have stories to tell and they are not just for children.

Noodle* on this…
Humanity’s legacy of stories and storytelling is the most precious we have. All wisdom is in our stories and songs. A story is how we construct our experiences. ~ Doris Lessing

Stories have the power to move us to action, to inspire us, to teach us and to give us hope. As a writer, I’m not a very good story teller. I am more of a reporter of facts and concepts. But, I know a good story when I read or hear one and my sister Andrea shared the following story with me. It may be true or it may be urban legend; not even Mayor LaGuardia’s biographers know for sure. But, it is a lovely story. So, read and enjoy it.


Mayor LaGuardia talks with children displaced by World War II

Mayor LaGuardia meets children displaced by World War II

In the middle of the Great Recession, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, worked to understand what life was like for all the people living in the city. It was not unusual for him to ride with the fire fighter, go on raids with the police and take field trips with orphans. On a bitterly cold night in January, 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took the bench. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told the Mayor that her daughter’s husband had deserted the family; her daughter was sick and could not work; and her two grandchildren were starving.

However, the store owner, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. “It’s a real bad neighborhood, Your Honor,” the man told the Mayor. “She’s got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson.”

LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said, “I’ve got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. Ten dollars or ten days on jail.” But, even as he pronounced the sentence, he reached into his pocket. He took out a bill and tossed it into his hat, which was sitting on the bench, saying, “Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”

The following day, New Your City newspapers reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered woman who had stolen a loaf a bread to feed her starving grandchildren. Fifty cents of that amount came from the store owner along with money from petty criminals, people with traffic violations and New York City police officers, all of whom gave the Mayor a standing ovation.

Tell us your story.

Tell us your story.

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it. ~ Margaret Atwood

Now, it is your turn. You have a story – one that inspired, moved you to action, or taught you an important lesson. It may be a personal experience or story you read or heard. Share that story with us in the Comments section. If the story is not personal, please include a source citation for the story, so we can give credit where it is due. For example, the source for the Mayor LaGuardia story comes from I’ll share the stories in Your Weekly Noodle.

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

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