Five Minutes from the Funny Farm: Working from home

Because of the Covid-19 virus and the need to help flatten the curve, maybe you’ve been forced to work-at-home. Congratulations! You’re joining millions of people who’ve been working at home for decades.

Maybe there was a time when, because you worked a “real job”, you called a friend or family member who worked at home and said, “Little Jimmy has a fever and they won’t let him come to daycare. You’re home all day. Can I send him to your house?” or “The furnace repairman is coming between 9 and and 5 pm. Can you go to my house and let him in? You can even hang out there all day. I have HBO.”

Admit it. You’ve always envisioned us sitting around all day in our pajamas, watching Netflix and eating Cheese Doodles.

Well, haha. Jokes on you. Only two of those things are true.

But hey, we work from home folks are nothing if not compassionate, and we’re happy to welcome you to the club! Here are some tips to help you acclimate to your new lifestyle.

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Five Minutes from the Funny Farm: Love Your Neighbor

I had a chance to get my hair done at the salon this past weekend, before the NYS mandate that shut down non-essential businesses went into effect. I muse about the decision whether or not to take the appointment, and how this relates to our responsibility to love our neighbors, in this episode of Five Minutes from the Funny Farm.

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Five Minutes from the Funny Farm: Gnats, Toilet Paper, and Gray Hair

In today’s episode of Five Minutes from the Funny Farm, I relate the story of the gnat that flew up my nose, introduce my experiment to see how long one roll of toilet paper actually lasts, and bitch a little bit more about my gray hair.

 

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Hello! It’s Five Minutes from the Funny Farm!

For a while now I’ve been wanting to create some videos – short funny sketch pieces, or podcast-like segments, or just me rambling about something for a few minutes. You know, take my creative stuff to another level, branch out, play more.

But I’ve been afraid to experiment because 1) I don’t know what to do with video once I record it, and 2) I don’t know if anyone even would be interested.

So the idea has languished in the dusty attic of my creative mind.

Except now we’re in a state of National Pause, my normally jam packed calendar is empty, and I’ve realized that I’ve been letting fear stop me from exploring a creative idea that I think would be a lot of fun.

Joanne, you’re such a creative hypocrite.

And so, much like my idea to create a booth where people could come and ask any questions – an idea that I sat on for two years before, on whim, finally  jumping into with both feet to create a popular Fringe show – I’m jumping into the video arena with nothing but a laptop camera and some tea-fueled optimism. And probably a lot of barking.

Introducing Five Minutes from the Funny Farm – a look at what happens when you lock a humor writer who doesn’t know how to use a video camera in the house with two dogs and a cat during a pandemic. (Fortunately for Darling Husband, he still gets to get out to go to work.)

Stay tuned for periodic videos. Keep your expectations low, people. Very low. That way you won’t be disappointed.

Another dream of lions and tigers and fear, oh my!

I recently had a lovely and very surreal encounter with a lioness at the Seneca Park Zoo.

Some of you may remember the dream I had last week about lions and a tiger; I blogged about it because I felt like it was possibly a message from the muses about a creative project that I might be embarking on.

Last night, in another dream, the beasts returned.

The tiger once again made a pass through a room, this time in an old mansion where a convention was taking place. This time, he made prolonged eye contact with me, and trod over my foot with his giant paw, and hip checked me with his massive body as he passed by.

Then the lions – oh lordy, the lions! They were roaming about the building, and everyone was panicked when they knew they were near, because they were threatening. But as soon as they passed, everyone went back to business as usual, until the next sighting.

But I was on alert. I could see them around corners. I could smell them as they prowled on the floors above and below. I was both looking for them and avoiding them at the same time. Continue reading

A dream of two lions, a tiger, and a visit from the muses

Image by Marcel Langthim from Pixabay

Last night, I dreamed that I was … well, I’m not sure where I was but it was a room in a house I didn’t recognize. There was a door from the back of the house into this room and a door in this room that went out the front of the house. There were people in the room, no one I can specifically recognize, but I seem to remember a maroon couch that I was either standing on or near.

And at one point in this otherwise nondescript dream, a tiger walked in through the back door, silently and in no particular hurry, and walked past me as he made his way through the room and out the front door.  I felt his fur gently brush my skin and felt warmth radiating from his body.

I stood frozen in place as he passed, and when he was gone I said out loud, “A TIGER just walked through the room. Did anyone else see that?” Some people nodded like it was nothing exciting. Some people hadn’t even seen it. For everyone else, it was a non-event.

A bit later – because it’s a dream and I don’t remember what else was happening or how long it took – two lions came into the room. Except they didn’t just walk through. The first one came right up to me, sniffing me the way a dog might sniff a visitor to your house, and then settled herself near my feet as the other lion padded over and also gave me a once over. And then he started licking me. My feet, my legs, my hands. He gnawed softly on my shin and gently, but with intention, butted my side with his enormous head.

As with the tiger, I could feel their fur, could feel the heat from both of the beasts and smell the faint odor of animal, and I was frozen in place by their sheer power as it pressed against the air in the room.

These lions were not necessarily friends. It was clear to me, if not to anyone else, that they were dangerous predators there to investigate me and, if I was found wanting, would have gladly devoured me in a heartbeat.

This time, everyone else in the room was as frozen as I was because, apparently, two lions hanging out are more interesting than one tiger just passing through.

After what felt like an eternity in dream time, the lions both stood, looked me in the eye, and then sauntered out through the front door like the royalty of the jungle that they are.

As they disappeared over the threshold, someone in the room whispered, “That was a fucking LION.”

“No,” I replied aloud. “That was TWO fucking lions.”

And then I woke up.

* * * * *

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Letting go of the known and soaring into the unknown

A message to a friend struggling with a major life change:

Sometimes, when we embrace who we really are – whatever that means – it sets us off on a completely different path than we or anyone we know ever imagined we would embark on.

And because new things are scary, even when we think we’re putting our feet forward, in reality our hands are firmly gripped to the walls of our past, and we content ourselves with hanging perilously to the Cliffs of the Known rather than venturing into new territory.

Even when it’s painful. Even when it’s exhausting. Even when it’s robbing us of the sustenance we need to survive.

Because clinging to the known feels safer than letting go and facing the vast, scary unknown.

What if we fall?

But what if we don’t?

Sometimes, the only way we will let go of the past and see what’s truly meant for our future is if someone stomps on our battered, bloodies hands as they struggle to grasp the rocks crumbling under our fingertips and forces us to let go.

And in that split second, when letting go of the shards of rock seems like madness but we have no choice, and we’re angry that someone has abandoned us and betrayed us, and we see our fingers release and feel the split second of weightlessness before the anticipated plummet, we surprise ourselves by the realization that we’re not falling at all.

In fact, we’re floating.

And while it’s hard to get used to our wings, because we’ve never unfurled them before, and it’s scary to look down, because we don’t knows what perils await us, very soon we realize we’re not just floating, but soaring.

And then we’re seeing the world from new heights and new perspectives. And the landscape we imagined as dangerous is actually lush and green and filled with fresh waterfalls and crystal seas and beautiful things we never saw when our faces were smashed against our past.

Never forget that you have been created for wonderful things, and you are an important link in a chain of small interactions and experiences that make the world go round.

Following your heart and embracing all you are means that everyone benefits.

Depriving yourself of all you are means we all suffer with you.

Sometimes the only way to let go is to have someone rip your fingers from the ledge of who you were and shove you into the sky of who you are meant to be.

Letting go hurts in the moment, and sometimes we leave a limb behind because our grasp is so tight.

But when it’s time to let go, let go.

We all need you to keep moving forward.

We all need you.