Laughter is contagious, and unlike a cold or the chicken pox, it is good to share.

It transcends barriers of religion, language and sex.

It can mend hearts, build bridges and improves your body.

Filled with joy, tragedies and absurdities, life is an easier journey with humor.

This is a collection of where I am laughing at life.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Error causes big laugh

A woman walked into a local bakery to order a graduation cake.

It was to proudly display her daughter's photo.

Before leaving, she asked that a cap, as in mortarboard, be drawn on the photo.

Obviously, from the photograph of the cake, the bakery employee needs to make contact with a Q-tip or two.

Best part of the story is that the mistake resulted in a massive amount of laughter - not a massive lawsuit.

Better memories all around.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Humor Helps a Healthy Lifestyle

Gulping for air like a goldfish out of its bowl, I looked at the bike’s odometer certain I had covered miles.

Unbelievably, it registered one-half mile.

My calves feel like lead and my thighs had rubbed together so fast, I was certain fire would erupt.

Sighing, I began pedaling again – slowly.

A cheery “on your left” warned of an approaching cyclist.

My oxygen-deprived lungs could barely muster “hello” to a woman, easily in her 70’s, cruising past on a recumbent bicycle.

That was embarrassing. It got worse when her small dog, tethered to the bike, sneered as its four-inch legs blurred by.

I had to laugh. If a much older woman, and her little dog too, could pass me – I had no place to go but up.

To win the weight loss battle, nourish your sense of humor as much as your body.

As you thin down, some experiences require the ability to laugh.

“I farted my way through a yoga class,” announced my friend Mags, three weeks into her mission to lose 35 pounds.

Her increased consumption of vegetables combined with some positions had literally backfired on her. The more Mags tried to contain her internal gases, the greater the noise as they escaped her body.

Laughing through her embarrassment, she explained her new diet to fellow class members. Understanding smiles replaced shocked expressions.

When next she involuntarily tooted, someone yelled, “Who knew cauliflower could be so deadly?”

After losing 17 pounds, another friend’s loose underwear headed south on a crowded Manhattan sidewalk. Smiling proudly, she walked out of them and never looked back.

As you battle the bulge and encounter odd, disheartening or even embarrassing situations – remember to laugh.

Not only will you feel better, but also 10-15 minutes spent laughing uses up to 45 calories.

Author: LJ Bottjer
LJ Bottjer is a citizen of the world, whose journey began in Manhattan. Now living in Northern California, her garden produces healthy food almost year-round and she enjoys biking, yoga and hiking.

This article appears on a members' only website,

Friday, March 8, 2013

Making it as a Cowgirl

My childish enthusiastic shouts of “giddyap,” always gained the same response.

An exasperated blast of sour and nicotine-tinged breath followed with the sullen instruction to, “pipe down, kid.”
Being a Bronx Zoo pony ride attendant, limited to squiring children around a muck littered oval circle was probably a boring occupation.

However, why could they not join in sage-scented scenarios my fertile imagination had concocted? 

Freed from the concrete existence of upper Manhattan, I rode the open range under a never-ending blue sky, shiny spurs sparkling in the sun and adventure waiting around every butte.

Decades later, my long-forgotten cowgirl yearnings were renewed when asked to join the annual 1860s era wagon train trek over the Sierra Nevada. Every June it honors the pioneers of old by journeying from South Lake Tahoe to Placerville – near the site of California’s gold discovery.

The night before departing, excitement turned into terror as my lack of horse sense surfaced.

 “Bring one of those hanging pine-scented air fresheners,” suggested the love of my life, unfortunately also a city child. “Horses smell.”

Ride along by clicking here.

Yippee-Ki-Ya! Horseback Riding in Wine Country

Apprehension had clouded my sleep the night before.

It had nothing to do with the lovely facilities of the Murphys Suites, where friendly staff, a comfortable bed and a cookie jar full of Oreos made me feel right at home.

Instead my restlessness came from the knowledge that despite years of living in different parts of the world - I was still at heart a city child. I am more at home scrambling aboard the M10 bus along Manhattan's West Side than climbing atop a horse.

And yet here I was turning up a dirt road in Vallecito, midway between Angel's Camp and Murphys, to go horseback riding.

Somehow years of joyfully screaming "giddy-yap" while astride a plodding pony in a circled ring at the Bronx Zoo paled immensely when I saw the size of the California horses being lead out of the sun dappled fields.

Click here to read on.

Yodel-Ay-Ee-Ohhhh on the Goat Hike

We were an intrepid band - like Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.

On second thought maybe we were more like Malibu Barbie meets Earth Mother and everything in between.

Oh, let's just say we were a colorful bunch all dedicated to the adventure of hiking with goats.

Tramp on by clicking here.