The Power of Humor

I just couldn’t resist sharing a bit of humor in the face of the present tragic times. Normally, I abhor ad hominem attacks. Sometimes, though, there doesn’t seem to be any other way to confront overwhelming destructive power…

“The Liar Tweets Tonight” by Roy Zimmerman and the ReZisters

A Snowy Birthday – 2019

Carol A. Hand

The super moon brightened the sky
on the night before my birthday
despite increasing cumulus clouds
promising another imminent storm


February 19, 2019


The snowiest February on record
was older than me on my birthday
yet the sight on the morning after
brought this year close to a tie


February 21, 2019


It seems all I’ve done is shovel snow,
grade student papers, and prepare classes
My yak trax are wearing thin with use
and my little car, White Pony,
is surrounded by growing piles of snow


February 23, 2019


Given the weather forecast for this week
we’re likely to set a new record
Ah, my aching back and shoulders
make me hope the meteorologists are wrong…


Yet I am grateful for so many things
The chance to work with colleagues
who genuinely care about students and teaching
The opportunity to work with students
who are eager to learn and think critically
Virtual friends whose creativity, passion, and kindness
bring blessings of beauty, laughter, and new knowledge
A long life that has brought me to an old house
in the northlands where I can marvel
at the beauty of tiny crystals and wonder
how many billions it takes to blanket the earth
for hundreds of square miles under three feet of snow
And the health and strength to shovel
and shovel
and shovel
if spring


PS – If you’re curious to know how my car got the name “White Pony,” here are some links to older posts that tell pieces of the story:

A Faithful Friend

Carol A. Hand

Pinto – March 27, 2018


Ah, little Pinto
a faithful friend
so dawg-on cute
in a cobbed-together
red winter suit
because he’s grown
a tad too tubby


Washing Dishes

Carol A. Hand

Dear Sherri
I doubt that you remember
Billings Montana in August
Air filled with smoke
from the fires burning
just beyond the ridge
But I think of you fondly
almost every time
I stand by the sink
doing dishes
I remember our laughter
in a bar after a long day
when you were among the few
to treat me like a friend
even though I carried the heavy
isolating distinction of keynote speaker
at the BIA human services conference
Others looked at us
our tears streaming as we laughed
while you recounted stories
about your nosy neighbors
who reported you for feeding deer
a nuisance to their sculpted yard
and your creativity and humor
watching their response to your latest prank
peeking with binoculars
through your kitchen window by the sink
to watch them watching you
through their binoculars
to surveil your latest visitors


Paper Maché Sheep – Microsoft WORD Clip Art


Life-sized sheep
you crafted out of paper maché
and placed in your yard
as if they were “grazing”
repeatedly moving them
when you knew the neighbors
weren’t watching
to add to the illusion
The authorities finally grew weary
of your neighbors’ fallacious complaints
and left you alone
to live as you wished
feeding wildlife you loved
I am sorry I lost track of you
after so many jobs and moves
but I will always be grateful to you
for bringing kindness and laughter
into my life
and forever brightening
the mundane task of washing dishes
as it did again this sunny morning
smiling as I remembered

Smiling Sun – Microsoft WORD Clip Art


A Touch of Humor

Carol A. Hand

Do you ever want change something that annoys you? I don’t mean people, you know. I mean something like a moldy, funky bathroom.

Ah, no,” you may tell yourself. “I wouldn’t know where to start.” So you make a few superficial changes and learn how to ignore the things that bother you. The things that you know will ultimately create problems.

Then one day you look closely. Who knows why now, but suddenly you can no longer screen out the dirty yellow daisy wallpaper on the ceiling that is sagging ever lower and peeling off. So you pull it off and discover that the glossy green paint underneath is even worse. It’s harder to ignore and you find yourself with a messy project you didn’t plan to tackle at this moment.

It would be easier to simply gut the whole bathroom and start over, but that’s not an option for many reasons. So you reflect on which steps need to be taken first and begin, learning how things are made in the process of deconstructing them, one by one, each in the proper order. You learn to laugh at your limitations and clumsiness.

I need some kind of tool to pull this glued-on rubber baseboard off,” you think to yourself. “Yeah,” you answer, “like longer, stronger arms.” And you laugh and keep trying until you figure out how to work smarter not harder. You learn patience and tenacity.

You still have other work to do. You’ve lived with this mess since you moved here seven years ago. So chill out, but don’t give up.

Remember things can only be done step by step. Remember to take care of yourself and your other responsibilities as best you can for now. Remember to take pictures next time so you can see where you started not just what you know still needs to be done. Remember to have fun and laugh at yourself as you misplace tools, tip over the paint bucket, put curtains on rods backwards, and spend hours figuring out how to put on fancy bathroom fixtures that your guests can figure out how to deconstruct in an instant.

Remember messes are temporary necessities. Living with the constant mess of books, papers, and now, all the stuff related to remodeling means taking some time just to breathe and escape into fantasy now and then.

But most importantly, remember that nothing lasts forever except  –the legacy of the love, laughter, gratitude, and celebratory joy you breathe into what you do.


I apologize for being so slow replying to comments and visiting your blogs. I do want you to know how deeply I appreciate all of you and the important work you share.

This post describes some of the reasons why I have been absent from the blogosphere. Teaching, spending time with my lovely granddaughter, and of course shoveling snow, have also made it difficult to for me to stay up-to-date blogging.

Before the most recent snowstorm – February 24, 2018

Shoveling in process before breakfast – February 25, 2018

Meanwhile, the signs of spring are evident this morning.

Morning view – February 28, 2018











The snow is gradually melting given warmer days, and come May, the class I am teaching will end. Maybe my repair work will be done by then, too, just in time for yard clean up and gardening. Hopefully, I will even have time and space to return to blogging and editing/ revising my book manuscript. In the interim, I send my best wishes to all of you.

The First November Snow

Carol A. Hand

Sometimes, I just feel an irrepressible urge to be silly. It seems as though we are all so weighed down by troubling events in the world right now. After posting a serious poem this morning, I looked out of my window. And laughed. Delighted. And this silly poem ran through my thoughts.

Should I post it,” I wondered? “Why not,” I replied? “It might lighten another’s day.”

So here it is. Please excuse me if I appear to be a bit irreverent and risque, but too much sorrow is unhealthy.


Oh, please. Tell me it just ain’t so!
As winter winds begin to blow


buffeting the rapidly falling snow
But with my new long-johns on


Here I am wintry world – I’m raring to go


Reflections – Friday, August 5, 2016

Carol A. Hand

The Bergamot (bee balm) bows and blows in the breeze

as a Brobdingnagian (big, big, BIG) bumble bee dines

in spite of its already bulging pollen-clad knees.

Where is my camera!,” the wishful would-be photographer whines…


bee and bergemot

Image: Microsoft Word Clip Art


Fortunately Microsoft clip art provided the perfect substitute above. Following is the best I could do today…


bee on cone flower



Reflections – Sunday, July 17, 2016

Carol A. Hand

Photography Day Five: “Connect.” Many years ago, I discovered a fascinating device. I was among the twelve people who gathered in my Reiki practitioner’s home for a workshop on healing. At one point, she asked us to sit in a circle on the living room floor.

Our Reiki instructor, Carrie, held up a small glass tube and said, “This will demonstrate the power of human connection.

WP Connect 1

(Canon Power Shot A560 camera)

I want you all to join hands with the person sitting next to you, except for you two,” Carrie said pointing at me and the young woman to my right. “I want you each to hold the end of the stick that’s closest to you.” When all the others in the circle joined hands, we touched the opposite ends of the tube. As we did, the circle complete,  the stick lit up and buzzed.

Then Carrie pointed to the young man seated across the circle from us. “Let go of your partner’s hand.” When he did, the stick grew dark and silent. The stream of energy needed to light the tube requires an unbroken connection to glow.

For those who doubt the fact that we all carry energy within us and pass it on to all those whom we touch, this stick proves otherwise.”


(Canon Power Shot A560 camera)

My neighbors and their friends graciously agreed to let me photograph them holding the energy stick. They had never heard of it before and were curious. They learned, as I have throughout the years, connecting with others in celebration can be fun…

The energy stick does work with only one person holding both ends, but it’s a challenge to photograph the results. (I had to click the photo below with my chin.)


(Sony Cyber-shot camera)


Note: For anyone interested, this version of the energy stick was created by Steve Spangler for Be Amazing Toys, Salt Lake City, UT.


Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Vulnerability and Humor

Carol A. Hand

Lately, I have been missing lighthearted laughter. The topics I read and write about are almost all so serious, and the attempts at humor or satire, so dark and degrading. This morning I remembered one of the times when I laughed so hard tears ran from my eyes and my sides felt like they would split open. It was in the most unlikely of places – at a rural health conference held in Las Vegas. In many ways, the entire experience was surreal and somewhat ridiculous. Maybe that’s why I found the story told by a “cowboy poet” so funny at the time.

I remember thinking about the absurdity of holding a conference on rural health in Las Vegas when the agency I was working for as a consultant insisted that I attend. It was an all-expenses paid trip with pay, so how could I refuse. An Ojibwe friend would also be going, so at least I would have company, although we would be flying in from different airports.

The absurdity began when I went to find a taxi to take me from the airport to my hotel. It was almost midnight. Standing there dressed in my traveling clothes – blue jeans, jacket, and sensible walking shoes – looking like I was someone from the rez, a stretch limo driver backed up and asked if I wanted a ride. He assured me that it would be cheaper than a cab because the car was already loaded with at least five other passengers.

I agreed and climbed in as he loaded my luggage. As we neared the city, I was blown away by the lights. I had just left my cabin in the woods. Off-the grid, I only had electricity when the gas-powered generator was running. I was used to reading by light from candles or oil lamps. I wasn’t sure what to think about such a display of privilege and profligacy. By the time the limo pulled up in front of my hotel, the Mirage, I was the sole passenger. The sidewalk was filled with people who stared as I exited. I found myself amused. “Try though you might, you won’t recognize me as someone who’s famous.”


Photo: “Las Vegas (Nevada, USA), The Strip — 2012 — 18” by © Dietmar Rabich, (Wikipedia Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons

I was momentarily disoriented as I entered into the huge, brightly-lit crowded lobby before I noticed the long lines of travelers waiting in line to register. I joined at the end of one line and settled in to wait patiently for my turn as I took in the sights. I know I always pick the slowest line, so I’ve learned to adapt and chill out.

Suddenly I noticed a disturbance at the check-in desk. It was my friend, arguing with staff behind the counter. She was obviously distraught, not an uncommon situation for her. She was one of those people who always encountered difficulties – missed flights or lost luggage. Her response was always the same irate frustration. I decided to see how I might help.

The agency she was representing had apparently failed to make her hotel reservation and all the rooms were booked. I offered to share my room with her, so the situation was easily resolved. Not ideal to spend too much time with someone who is unhappy, but I was here to work anyway.

I attended the obligatory meetings, planning sessions, and workshops. But I wasn’t sure about attending the conference lunch. The featured entertainment was “The Cowboy Poet.” The irony didn’t escape me. It was challenging enough to keep balanced when I had to deal with my disgruntled friend. Still, I was hungry and the lunch was already paid for, so we decided to go. I had my doubts as I watched the tall, thin cowboy struggle toward the stage in his high-heeled pointed-toe cowboy boots and skin-tight jeans. His huge cowboy hat and the thickly-waxed handle-bar mustache curled over his cheeks didn’t put me at ease, either. But then, he shared his poetry and I was in awe. Deeply touching stories of loneliness and profound insights and stories that made me laugh so hard I almost fell out of my chair. I looked across the table, and saw my friend was in a similar state.

I’m sorry to say I don’t remember the “cowboy’s” name, but I remember one of the stories he told. Today when I found the story on YouTube, it didn’t seem as funny. It’s still mildly amusing when I think of the context – two Ojibwe women from different rural reservations in Vegas listening to a cowboy poet.

Here’s a link if you’re interested, but viewer discretion is advised. Cowboy Poetry (Scott Mackintosh “The Bra” by Bill Hirshi.)

Despite culture, what made it funny was the cowboy’s ability to laugh at himself. I think about the things that still make me laugh. They’re times when my vulnerability as a human were exposed in embarrassing ways – a loud smelly fart as I was speaking to a closed room of snooty peers in an elite Catholic women’s college, or speaking in from of an audience wearing a crocheted vest that got stuck on the knobs of the flip chart behind me and started unraveling as I walked.

So as I begin this new year, I wanted to remember the importance of laughter. Even dealing with troubling times and topics, I need to remember to keep things in perspective. Let me celebrate life with my usual style and grace, as the words of this New Year’s greeting advise.



Photo: Recycled Paper Greetings (Gary Larson, 1983, The Far Side, FarWorks, Inc.)

I send you all my best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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