Hospital Clowning: May the Fourth Be With You

Friday, May 4th 2018

rebel side

“Jedi-in-Training” Dr. Be Bopper with “Obi Wan Gonzo” and the Rebel Fighters


Another great day with Dr. Gonzo, my Jedi Master for the day.   Even though;

1)   NOT A GIRL!

abby gabby


First elevator ride and we’ve captured the interest of a sweet small child and mother.  They are going up to see a baby sister.  “Oh wow are you a BIG sister?” I ask stupidly.  “BROTHER!” says the mother.  “He’s a BOY.  Look at his hair.  Girls don’t wear their hair like that!

Never mind that I am female and wearing my hair in the exact same style at that very moment; two puffy ponytail  buns.  I have to learn better how to use gender neutral pronouns and terminology.  Hopefully the next two year old will know what I mean when I say “Sibling” instead of brother or sister.  Grr.



child-dentist-chair-cute-cartoon-boy-visit-sitting-dental-scared-expression-58232370Usually in the Dental Clinic kids are actively being treated in chairs as we float through, and I wonder whose idea it is to have clowns even go there at all.  But today a nurse asks us to please go in to a child who was having a tough time.  The child has clearly been crying and the mood is glum.  Some silly Star Wars antics and magic seem to relax his whole body before we leave.  At lunch Dr. Gonzo encounters the family in the cafeteria and they say everything turned around after we left and thank him profusely.



We have a few special requests today but most notably for me is running into the Star Wars Empire cosplayers.  My goodness they are so authentic.  I am playing the Darth Vader Theme Song on kazoo when Darth Vader himself appears and interrupts with his trademark voice and breathing “Khiiih-Khoooh… YOU’RE. PLAYING. MY. SONG.” 



Later in the Emergency Department we find out he’s come through, held out his hand over a young patient and said, “THE FORCE IS STRONG IN THIS ONE.”  This child agrees to come to the Dark Side.  Vader says, “GOOD.  Khiiih-Khoooh… WE HAVE COOKIES.

dark side

The Dark Side has cookies.


Posted in art, childhood, comedy, forgiveness, health, Hospital Clowning, Laughter League, learning, making art, mental health, music, patience, Performing Life, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Why Mindfulness Is a Superpower


Why Mindfulness Is a Superpower: An Animation  [2:43]:


Narrated by Dan Harris.

Posted in activism, art, education, faith, fight, forgiveness, health, learning, love, mental health, Mindfulness, patience | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mindfulness in a School Show

Wednesday, May 2nd 2018

mindful practice.jpg

I lead my audience of 6-12 year olds through an impromptu Mindfulness Exercise today.  After having praised some of them on their self-regulation, one of them raised a hand and asked, “What’s self-regulation?”  Such a great question.

I told them it’s the ability to choose your actions instead of just going with whatever your first impulse is.

I mentioned having asked a five year old in the previous show why they own an ipad, and how I’d told them to be careful because it can “melt your brain.”

Another child raised their hand and asked, “You mean if you watch TV it can melt your brain?”  I said of course everyone has some screen time on TV and computers, but here’s what you can do to build your Higher Brain (prefrontal cortex or operating system) instead.

I lead them through some brief Mindful Breathing and listening and the whole room changed.  The feedback I got from the teacher in charge was “I loved the Mindfulness!  And at least 90% of them did it!”

The other teacher, whose idea of handling them before the show included banging on the tables with abrasive yelling and threats, said to me after; “You really have control!”

Anyway, lucky I got away with it because it was a Catholic School and I know threatened some practitioners of religions can be, and I’m not certified or anything.  Yet.


Posted in art, childhood, comedy, education, faith, fight, forgiveness, health, learning, love, making art, mental health, patience, Performing Life, school, Secret Juggler, spirituality, work | Leave a comment

Hospital Clowning: My First May First

Tuesday, May 1st 2018 – All Clowns’ Birthdays


May First is considered the Official Birthday of All Clowns.  It is also a term used by circus folk to expose the inexperience and mistakes of the newest clowns to join the circus.  So it is only fitting that I am paired today with one of our team’s most senior (tho eternally young) members.  And that supportive as he is, he still blatantly tallies the number of drops I make while juggling throughout the day.  Three.  (To his zero.)

Such an uneven day for me at the hospital today.  My partner is amazing and always ON.  Sometimes I feel fantastic and sometimes I feel completely lost like I have no idea and I’m just faking it.  I know it’s par for the course so no complaints.  The journey continues.


1)  BURP FOR THEM  burp

In Pre-Op this morning for one patient I start sharing my amazing burping ability,  to the dismay and disgust of Dr. Gon’ Golfin‘.  He is absolutely adamant that I not do that at the hospital. So I do it a few more times to get it out before giving it up forever.  Afterward he takes me aside to let me know we don’t need to guess the gender of the patient, as I had called a “she” a “he.”  I was as surprised to learn that I had messed up the pronoun as I was to learn Gon’ Golfin doesn’t mind the burping at ALL.  He just enjoys playing the strait man; convincingly well.



dancing-boy-9173799Also in Pre-Op was a charismatic four year old enthusiastic little boy who loves every second of us.  We pull out all the stops in our music and antics for him and I wonder if he won’t  get exhausted from all his fervent dancing and wiggling.  “YOU GUYS ARE MAKING ME FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!” he exclaims.

A friend recently asked me how we know we are having an impact on our patients.  I told her something like; we are reading the patients all the time no matter what, that’s our job.  But apparently sometimes you they just TELL you.


3)  COSTUME CONTEST  Yes No tickbox with green YES tick

We enter the room of a reputedly quiet, almost sullen-seeming 14 year-old teenager.  As usual we have no plan and little notion of how it’s going to go.  The patient and their mom seem to perk up a bit just at the sight of us in the doorway.  I tell them we are having a costume contest and collecting votes for whose is best.   I am glad as ever to have found a hook, especially because I garner TWO votes for me and a gratuitous “NOT YOU” for Gon’ Golfin’.  So I am the WINNER.


4)   !@#$%^&*

Heading around a corner we pass a child who gives a little hop of enthusiasm as we pass by.   Playing in the moment I give a reciprocal hop and ask if that’s how we’re traveling down the hall now.  Gon’ Golfin’ whispers in my ear that the patient’s leg is injured and that’s why they’re walking that way.   I whisper a string of expletives back to him and myself, mortified at my error.  @!$%&!!


5)  JOKES DU JOUR    ha ha

CAT-CR, Dialysis and Aphoresis are all on a floor where patients come regularly to receive transfusions, so we see them a lot.  Some of them have been coming for their entire lifetimes and are not even children anymore.   Here are jokes I collected from some of them today:

Q:  Why is the ocean so friendly?  /   A:  Because it waves.

Q:  What’s the difference between a cow and a banana?   /   A:  A banana is yellow.

Q:  Why do ducks have feathers?  /   A:  To cover their butt quack.

Q:  What is a tornado’s favorite game?  /   A:  Twister.

Q:  What falls down in winter but never gets hurt?  /  A: Snow.

Q:  Why do seagulls fly over the sea?  /  A: Because if they flew over the bay they’d be bagels.

Q:  Why did Tigger look in the toilet? /   A: To find poo.



bad jokesThat’s right.  Dr. Be Bopper steals  collects  steals jokes and I’m not even ashamed.  Good thing too because one “frequent flier” insists I tell a joke back.  So I pull out some of our team’s old ones that are so tired they should be dragged out behind the barn:

Q:  What’s brown and sticky?   /   A:  A stick.

Q:  What’s brown and stickier?   /   A:  A stick covered in poo.

Q:  What’s red and bad for your teeth? /   A: A brick.

Q:  What’s red and goes “dingle dangle?” /   A: A red dingle dangle.

Q:  What’s blue and goes “dingle dangle?” /   A: A blue dingle dangle.

Q:  What’s purple and goes “dingle dangle?” /   A:  Nothing; sorry they don’t come in purple.

But at least I don’t choke.  Really need to beef up my jokes though.  Any suggestions?

By all means, comment below.  Please!

#HospitalClown   #MayDay   #FirstOfMay  


Posted in art, comedy, health, Hospital Clowning, Laughter League, learning, love, making art, mental health, music, Performing Life, ukeoke, ukulele, Uncategorized, work | 1 Comment

Do We Have Any Pizza Left Mom?

Monday, April 30th 2018


AT RISE:  Mom & kids are walking to the bus stop before school the day before Boy turns ten.

Boy:  Hey Mom?

Mom:  Yeah babe?

Boy:  Do we have any pizza left?

Mom:  Well yeah (there are three boxes on the kitchen counter leftover from the birthday party), but it’s two days old now.

Boy:  Well can I just tell you my idea?

Mom:  Sure hon of course.

Boy:  My idea was that we could heat it up, and then drive around and hand it out to homeless people and stuff.

Mom:  Oh man that was  I was thinking for that hour I had at home between gigs yesterday!  But regrettably at this point we’ve pretty much missed our window to do that.

Boy:  You had an hour yesterday?  I don’t remember that.

Mom:  Well yeah.  When I got back you were at the park.  So I let the bunnies out, edited some photos of your party, loaned (our neighbor) Semmie my bike and showed  him how to blow up the tires.  Then you and I practiced improvised engineering to get your badminton birdie out of the drain, remember?

Boy:  Yeah!

Mom:  And then I made Shrinky-Dinks with ClaraJane.  It was one of the most favorite hours of my life!  I loved it.

Boy:  I loved it too.

Mom:  But great idea though. We should definitely do it some other time.

Boy:  Yeah.

Mom:  Such a bummer we let that food go to waste.  Hup, here’s your bus.

Boy:  Bye Mom.

Mom:  Bye babe, love you!

[Hugs, kisses all round.  Kids get on yellow school bus and it pulls away.]




Posted in childhood, domestic life, education, faith, family, food, forgiveness, health, learning, love, mental health, money, parenthood, Performing Life, Secret Juggler, social justice, The Progressive Movement, work-life balance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Things Daddy Style

Sunday, April 29th 2018

dead bunny skull.jpg

AT RISE:  It is the day after the Boy’s Improv Comedy Birthday Workshop Party, and the Oberhauser four are playing “5 Things” around breafkast.

GAVIN:  Daddy!  Five types of BUNNIES!

ALL:  [Laughing.  Perhaps glancing over at the actual live Netherland Dwarf and Lionhead rabbits sitting right there in the living room dollhouse.]


MOM:  Oh boy.   [Glancing over at the actual live Netherland Dwarf and Lionhead rabbits sitting right there in the living room dollhouse.]

DADDY:  Häschen Pfeffer!  (Peppered Rabbit.)


DADDY:  Fricaseed!

DADDY:  Stewed!
DADDY:  Confit!
DADDY:  Sausage!
GAVIN, MAMMA, CLARAJANE:  [Clap] Five Things!  Fivethings-fivethings-fivethings.  Five THINGS!
DADDY:  [Cackling, quite pleased with  himself.  A-hem.]



Posted in animals, childhood, comedy, domestic life, family, food, forgiveness, marriage, Performing Life | 1 Comment

Extra Long

Saturday, April 28th 2018

Two Stop Signs

AT RISE:   The Oberhauser four are driving back from the birthday party.

ClaraJane:  Oh Dada, you have to stop extra long because there’s two stop signs!



Posted in childhood, comedy, domestic life, family, health, learning, love, parenthood, travel | 1 Comment