#UpbeatAuthors: Laughter

Optimism, it has been said, promotes laughter. Laughter is good for you.

  • Reduces stress response
  • Boosts immunity
  • Increases resilience
  • Combats depression
  • Relieves pain
  • Improves social life
  • Is a mini workout
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves your breathing
  • Is contagious.

Contagious? Yes.

There’s this thing called laughter yoga. It begins as prolonged voluntary laughter, but soon turns into genuine laughter. One person I know has done this and said it’s great. Some small-scale research has indicated that there are actual health benefits to laughter yoga. Unfortunately, it’s a group activity, and I try to avoid those whenever I can.

There are plenty of You Tube videos out there if you’re interested in gathering a group and trying it. Hmm. Maybe on my next writing retreat…

Laptop Keyboards

I recently purchased a new lap top computer because the old one was on the verge of dying. Better safe than sorry. I actually purchased two of them. I returned the first one because it didn’t have enough RAM for its operating system. Go figure. I do like the second one I purchased except for one thing:

The placement of the mouse.

It is off center.  Okay, it’s centered to the “typewriter” portion of the keyboard, but as someone who uses both the letters and the number pad, having the mouse too far to the right is frustrating.

Y-Chromo assured me it was a “learning curve” thing and I would get used to it. Seven months have passed. I have not gotten used to it. I hate it. The position creates all kinds of havoc.

Example: six of the top ten most used letters in the English language are typed with the left hand. The top three letters used in English are left-hand letters on the QWERTY keyboard. Twelve percent of the letters in our alphabet are used 29.12% of the time.  (I used a calculator to do the math.) So my palm hits the mouse more than one fourth of time because I type those three letters! No wonder my cursor never stays where I leave it.

Click and drag? Somehow I’m always on the right side of the mouse.

I am right handed. That means when I use the mouse to navigate my screen, I used my right hand. The left side of the mouse is too far away from my right hand, so I’m always on the right side of the mouse.

When I mentioned how I didn’t like the mouse placement to the clerk at the store where I purchased the computer, he assured me all computer were now designed like this.

I cannot be the only person who finds this design flaw frustrating.

I know of two solutions.

  1. Get an external mouse and plug it in to a USB port (which are on the wrong side of this computer for a mouse). But the point of a lap top is portability. I already have too much stuff to haul around. I’m constantly looking for ways to reduce, not increase.
  2. Teach myself to mouse with my left hand–which I have done. When my “tennis elbow” was so bad, my physical therapist had me move the mouse on my work computer to the left side. I was actually fairly proficient.

Any suggestions?


#UpbeatAuthors: Way Will Open

I once read a book about young romance and how a Quaker community helped the college-aged heroine and hero find themselves. One of the themes throughout the story was a quote: “Have faith and way will open.”

Faith is optimism. There are those who would disagree with me, but we define faith differently. I’m not talking about religious faith (the second and third definitions in the on-line Merriam-Webster Dictionary), but faith as “complete trust and confidence”.

“Have trust and confidence and way will open.”

About a year ago, part of my life was turned on its head. I saw the signs and even acknowledged them, but when the moment came, it was still a shock. I took a deep breath. Then another one. One event led to another unanticipated situation. I kept breathing. “It’s going to work out,” I told myself. When others around me asked, I replied with the same: “Everything is going to work out.”

I had decisions to make. Options to weigh. And through it all I keep reminding myself, “everything is going to work out.”  There were times when staying positive was work; moments when panic threatened to overwhelm me. I’m only human. I refused to give in to the despair.

“Have faith and way will open.”

In the end, everything not only worked out, but my life took a turn for the better. My optimism saved me. Way opened.

Recipe: State Fair Pasta

I love to cook. I’m not such a hot baker, but cooking? I do okay.

Here’s one of my favorite concoctions.

Slice Italian sausage (I prefer sweet, but hot will do just fine) and place in a large frying pan and start cooking.

Take 1 sweet onion and two bell peppers (I’m not a fan of green peppers, so I use yellow and red), and cut them into strips.

Cook the sausage thoroughly. When it is done, DO NOT drain the grease from the pan.

Add the sliced veggies to the frying pan. Mix well.

Turn the heat to medium and COVER THE PAN. This is very important. You do not want the juices from the vegetables to evaporate into the air, but to mingle with the sausage grease to form a sauce.

Cook your favorite pasta. I think spirals work best with this sauce.

Stir the veggies occasionally. Let the veggies cook down until they are about half the size they were when raw.

You will have a juicy mix of sausage, peppers, and onions that smells exactly like a sunny day at the State Fair.

Drain the pasta when it’s done, then place in large bowl. Top with the sausage, peppers, and onions and all the liquid from the frying pan.  Mix well.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.


#Upbeat Authors: Optimism, Take 1

My dad joined the US Army and volunteered for active duty during the Korean Conflict. Instead, he was sent to Germany. He was in the Quartermaster Corps.

The way he tells it, they were always being asked to volunteer. “Who knows how to drive a truck?” Everyone would raise his hand, then be sent to dig ditches. “Who knows how to shovel out a barn?” Of course no one but Dad raised his hand, and Dad was sent off on fun adventures. He learned to volunteer for everything because the great stuff he got to do far outweighed the ditch-digging moments.

His optimism and sense of adventure served him well.