Bring More Humor and Laughter Into Your Life

Ballard Wall by Henry | ©2014

— Reblogged from

Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.

Enda Junkins, LMFT, in her book, We Need to Laugh More suggests we begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as you might with working out, and build from there. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in everything you do.

Here are suggestions from We Need to Laugh More on ways to start:

Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds true for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. It will get easier!

Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When in a state of sadness, we have further to travel to get to humor and laughter. Counting blessings cuts down the distance.

When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?” or just join in!

Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily—both at themselves and at life’s absurdities—and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.

Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?” Then listen to the answers and enjoy shared mirth.

.  .  .  .

Laugh with Enda at her website.

PNA Swoosh

PNA Village at Bingo Karaoke!

bingoYou’re invited! PNA Village has a limited number of seats at this month’s event and we’d love to have you join us!

Friday, September 26, 2014
7-10 pm
Greenwood Senior Center (525 N 85th St Seattle WA 98103)

This is a very popular event, so if you would like to participate, please contact ASAP to reserve your seat. First come first served!


  • The cost is $12 PNA Members / $18 General Public
  • Friday, September 26, 7-10 pm at the GSC
  • Doors open at 6:45 pm; the first game begins at 7:30 pm
  • Bingo Karaoke is a 21 and over event – please have ID available
  • Tickets will NOT be sold at the door and are NOT refundable
  • GSC’s Bingo Karaoke is held the last Friday of the month – January through October
  • For any questions about the event itself, please call the GSC at (206) 297-0875

GSC Bingo Karaoke on KOMO News


‘Not your grandma’s bingo:’ Old game finds new life in Seattle. Click here for the video clip and full story.

PNA Swoosh

Losing Hearing, Finding Life

Hearing Loop Launch: Katherine Bouton: Losing Hearing, Finding Life

Hearing Loop Launch: Katherine Bouton: Losing Hearing, Finding Life

Monday, September 15, 2014, 7:30 – 8:45pm at Town Hall Seattle
Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue. $5.

Katherine BoutonIn acknowledgement of the hearing loss community and Town Hall’s commitment to accessibility, this evening will be the official launch of the building’s new hearing loop system, which will enhance the hearing loss community’s experiences at events. Roughly 20 percent of people in the U.S. have some form of hearing loss. Katherine Bouton, author of Shouting Won’t Help (2013) is one of those people. In 2009, Bouton suffered from sudden severe hearing loss after years of gradual decline (which she kept secret from others) and was forced to leave her job of 22 years at The New York Times. During her return appearance to Town Hall, Bouton will share her journey of hearing loss, her experiences, and explain how the loss helped her find a new life. After her presentation, Bouton will appear in conversation with veteran broadcaster Mike James in an onstage interview.

Presented by: Town Hall, Hearing Loss Association of Washington, and University Book Store, as part of the Civics series. Series supported by The Boeing Company, the RealNetworks Foundation, and the True-Brown Foundation. Series media sponsorship provided by The Stranger and KUOW.
Tickets: $5.
When: Monday, September 15, 2014, 7:30 – 8:45pm
Where: Town Hall Seattle, Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue
Doors open: 6:30 p.m.
Learn more: About hearing loops.
Please note: This is a fully hearing-accessible event. We’ll have extra assistive-listening devices, an ASL interpreter, a T-coil loop, and Real-Time Captioning (CART) on hand for Bouton’s talk.


Previous PNA Village posts on this topic:

PNA Swoosh

Save the Date!

Power of Community Fundraising Breakfast flyer

Mark your calendar for the Third Annual Power of Community Fundraising Breakfast to Support Phinney Neighborhood Association’s Senior Programs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
7 – 8:30 a.m.
Greenwood Senior Center
525 N 85th Street, Seattle, WA 98103

Keynote address:
“Tilting at Windmills: Changing Aging in the 21st Century”
presented by Kavan Peterson, co-founder of the pro-aging multi-blog network

Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 10.
Register online here.

· · · ·

There is no cost to attend this event, however a minimum donation of $50 will enable us continue to provide vital services as well as social, physical, and educational activities for senior citizens and our neighbors in the surrounding community.

To register for this event, please visit this link.

If you wish to sponsor the breakfast or participate as a table captain, please contact Amy Besunder, Development Director,, 206-783-2244.

If you aren’t able to attend the breakfast but would still like to contribute, please click here.

PNA Swoosh

Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

02_ALIVE INSIDE_Photo Courtesy of BOND360

“On a whim, New York-based social worker Dan Cohen decided to share the music on his iPod with the residents of the nursing home where he was working, making a remarkable discovery: many Alzheimer’s and dementia-afflicted patients suffering from memory loss awaken when they listen to music from their past. Alive Inside investigates the mysterious ways music reconnects patients with the memories and emotions of their youth, blending personal stories of connection with interviews of medical and musical luminaries, including renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin. But it is the amazing footage of this method in action that earned this film the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.”
– from Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)

View trailer here: Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

August 29, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown
4:45 PM Buy Tickets
6:45 PM Buy Tickets

August 30, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown
1:15 PM Buy Tickets

04_ALIVE INSIDE_Photo Courtesy of BOND360
“The scene in Alive Inside of 94-year-old Henry coming back from the dead may stay with you as long as you live. It is not describable; you must see it. There are at least three scenes of this magnitude in this new, inspiring, and terribly important documentary.” - Jen Graves, The Stranger

PNA Swoosh

Martín’s Journey to the White House

Sky above the Truman Balcony of the White House Sep 29 2009. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

By Dick Gillett

Across the alley from our church, the four members of the Martínez family to whom St. Andrew’s has given shelter for the past twelve months will be moving on by the end of October. Their sponsor, Compass Housing Alliance, has provided excellent logistical and counseling support. The parents, Martín and Natividad, have both been thoroughly immersed in training and English language courses to equip them for the next phase of their lives. Their youngest son, Brandon, 15, will be a sophomore at Roosevelt high this fall and is on the football team. Martín Jr., 20, has just graduated from Everett Community College and begins this fall as a full-time student on scholarship at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. He has also been working full-time this summer for a construction company and is saving up for college expenses as well as putting money into the bare-bones family budget.

Says Deacon Anne Novak, our early liaison with the Martínez family, “They have been wonderful occupants of Brighton House—very self-reliant, and have never asked for a single thing. I’ll be extremely sorry to see them go,” she says. Those of us who have had a small part in offering moral support and encouragement to them are humbled by their determination and resolve despite tremendous personal obstacles.

#Not1MoreBut this story is primarily about young Martín, whose outstanding achievements at Everett, and enrollment at EWU this fall are only part of this young man’s story and his keen sense of responsibility for his family, his fellow Latinos, and the larger community. In a recent extended conversation with him I learned that he helped organize a trip to Washington, D.C. this past June with some of his fellow students. Their purpose: to advocate in front of the White House for two days, for comprehensive immigration reform. On August 8 I interviewed Martín again at length about this trip and about his own future aspirations.

I should note that Martín is a “Dreamer”, the informal name for the granting of legal status to those who came at a young age across the border to the United States, and who have been in school here for at least five years. Two years ago President Obama established this category by executive order under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Initiative (DACA). Martín qualified.

Q. Martín, while you were a student at Everett Community College you helped organize this trip. Who went, and how did you get there?

A. There were eight of us, and we drove in two cars. Together we raised all the money for our transportation expenses, sleeping in our cars en route across the country. We also paid for a pretty shabby apartment, sleeping there on the floor as well as the beds.

Q. Why did you go, and what did you want to accomplish?

A. As young Latinos now living and studying in the United States, we wanted to go in front of the place where the president lives, to create more awareness of the critical need for immigration reform. But I also can’t deny that on the way we enjoyed some sightseeing as we crossed the country for the first time, and I wondered later whether we might have done more than we did.

Q. Say a little about the experience of demonstrating in front of the White House.

A. We were there with our placards for two days, for five hours each day. As we started protesting, several people gave us dirty looks. We listened to verbal abuse—“You’re not supposed to be in this country,” “Go home, wetback”, “You people take our jobs away”, “You don’t pay taxes”, and worse. It felt really bad to actually hear this face to face. But some other people gave us high fives and joined our protesting cause—especially college students. We even had over 80 people protesting with us. That felt really good.

Actions are Illegal Never People

Q. Did any of you visit the offices of Washington’s congressional representatives?

A. Yes, we visited the offices of Rep. Suzan DelBene (Dem., District 1), and Rep. Rick Larsen (Dem., District 2). Both representatives spoke personally with us.

Q. What was their response to your advocacy for immigration reform?

A. Rep. DelBene was very supportive; she understood the issue very well.

“Keep pushing for what you want”, she told us. And she reminded us that not only Latino immigrants needed our support, but also those from countries other than Latin America. However, after keeping us waiting for an hour, Rep. Larsen gave us only ten minutes. He told us our cause was useless, that the immigration situation was never going to change.

Q. In this issue of immigration as our country is currently facing it, are there moral or historical reasons why it’s important to you personally?

A. First, this affects me and my family personally. Secondly, immigration reform is basically a human rights issue. We immigrants are devalued as human beings; we are deprived of our human rights due to the lack of a social security number. Another thing regarding the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino”. It was Europeans who used the term Hispanic to designate us, giving it a colonial connotation. Latino is a better term; we ourselves began to use it in preference to Hispanic.

Q. How can we in the churches respond better to the issue of immigration reform?

A. First, understand the issue! Create awareness. Educate people. Also the churches can support or join community and other organizations that are supporting immigration reform.

Q. Martín, what are your own personal goals as you set off for Eastern Washington University as a full-time student?

A. First, to get my bachelor’s degree. My major will be business management and administration, with a minor in psychology. At Everett I was president of MEChA, a national student group advocating the rights of Latinos. At EWU my classes begin the last week in September. I’ve already contacted the MEChA chapter there, and they’ve asked me to be a leader in their group.

Q. Finally, what would you like to do now to continue furthering the cause of immigrant rights?

A. I have a dream: to organize a large event for immigration reform that actually places the students themselves in the leadership of the event, as opposed to just participating.

Thank you sincerely, Martín! It’s been a special privilege.

Martín & Friends in front of White House June 2014

·  ·  ·  ·

This article by fellow PNA Village Member (The Rev. Canon) Dick Gillett was originally published on the blog of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. To see the original posting, please visit:

PNA Swoosh

Decluttering a Lifetime of Belongings

Wendel and Carolyn Thompson are assisted by Jewel Flick, center, of Let's Move, a downsizing and moving specialist. Credit J.M. Eddins Jr. for The New York Times

Wendel and Carolyn Thompson are assisted by Jewel Flick, center, of Let’s Move, a downsizing and moving specialist. [Credit J.M. Eddins Jr. for The New York Times]

By Elizabeth Olson

The amount of goods a couple can accumulate over 44 years living in the same house can be overwhelming. And that is what Wendel and Carolyn Thompson, of Columbia, Md., have been grappling with since January as they prepare to leave their split level and move to a retirement community this month.

…“One of my recommendations for handling this,” [said Ms. Thompson] “is don’t wait.”

Village members (and volunteers!) may find this article on the opportunities and challenges of downsizing to a smaller home both familiar and helpful. Please visit this permalink for the full article:

(Originally published Aug. 22, 2014 in The New York Times as “Moving to a Smaller Home, and Decluttering a Lifetime of Belongings”.)

PNA Swoosh

Book Review: “Book of Ages”

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin
By Jill Lepore
(Vintage Books paperback edition, 2014)

Review by Marguerite Langlois

Book of Ages cover“While Benny was improving his writing by arguing about the education of girls, Jenny was at home, boiling soap and stitching.” Benny is Benjamin Franklin, and Jenny is his sister Jane, six years younger. They were close throughout their lives. The quotation neatly sums up what it was like grow up as a boy or as a girl in the 1700’s. But Jane would never quite completely go along with those strictures. At one point she confided to him: “I Read as much as I Dare.” (The capitals are hers, reflecting the writing style of the day.)

Jane was married at fifteen. Sometime in her teens, she created for herself what she called her “Book of Ages,” part register of family history and part personal journal. She literally made the book, cutting the paper and binding it herself, again showing that she was not quite like many of the young women of her age.

Her life was bound up with major historical events, including the American Revolution. She was widowed in her fifties, and during the Revolution had to flee Boston and make her life elsewhere. And always, whatever else was happening, she managed to stay in touch with her brother Ben. Their letters, along with her Book of Days, give us a fascinating history of her own life, as well as a personal account of life, culture, and a woman’s role during that period.

Author Jill Lepore has done extraordinarily detailed research, and the books appendices are as interesting in some ways as the book itself: extensive family genealogies, a calendar of the letters, a list of the books in Jane’s personal library, a map of Jane’s Boston, and Lepore’s methods and sources.

You can enjoy the book from several points of view: a woman’s life in the 1700’s, the history of revolutionary America seen from one of its prominent players, a rich description of culture and daily life at the time – and last but not least, a very different telling of history than most of us learned in school.

Find this book!

Seattle Public Library:



PNA Swoosh

New Village Brochures

PNA Village BrochureOur new PNA Village brochures are in and they’re beautiful!

If you would copies to give to friends, family, or neighbors, please call the Village office at 206.789.1217 or email and let us know how many brochures you would like.

Brochures will be available at the PNA Village office (located in the Greenwood Senior Center) and at the PNA Blue Building reception desk anytime.

PNA Village brochure inset

…Please pick up a few and help us spread the word about our vibrant Village community!

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Village at 206. 789.1217.

Thanks for your support!

PNA Swoosh

A Friendly House: First in a Series

Steps cleverly placed in the toe kick of lower kitchen cabinets give sturdy access to cupboards above and let cooks avoid the risk of using a stepstool. A toe-pull built into the step negates the need to bend over. [via]

Steps cleverly placed in the toe kick of lower kitchen cabinets give sturdy access to cupboards above and let cooks avoid the risk of using a stepstool. A toe-pull built into the step negates the need to bend over. [Via]

Are you considering home modifications—major or minor—for your own aging-in-place plans? A Village reader recently passed along a website that may interest you: “A Friendly House” (tagline: “Where Style Meets Safety”) describes itself as a resource for aging in place, Universal Design, barrier-free living, livable communities, and the latest headlines on these topics. It’s an informative and helpful website and has a number of helpful project photo galleries and links. 

This post is the first in a series inspired by “A Friendly House” and follows previous Village posts on home modification by Stuart MacMillan, CSA, CAPS and Andy Goulding, AIA. In this series, we’ll continue exploring practical aging in place issues and opportunities and constraints to barrier-free living in our homes and communities, as well as share ways others have solved accessible design challenges.

Low-pile carpeting recessed into wood floors allows for sophisticated interior design without compromising safety  [via]

Low-pile carpeting recessed into wood floors allows for sophisticated interior design without compromising safety  [Via]

To start, we’ll begin with the concept of “Universal Design”.

As noted on the A Friendly House website, “Universal Design refers to making design choices that enable the use by virtually anyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.” According to the Center for Universal Design at NC State University, the Seven guiding Universal Design principles include:

Principle 1:  Equitable Use
Principle 2:  Flexibility in Use
Principle 3:  Simple and Intuitive
Principle 4:  Perceptible Information
Principle 5:  Tolerance for Error
Principle 6:  Low Physical Effort
Principle 7:  Size and Space for Approach and Use

For a visual display of these principles, see: Pinterest board: The 7 Principles of Universal Design.

In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at the principle of “Equitable Use” and the concept that good design is design that is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

Related Posts:

PNA Swoosh