The past year has seen major changes in my neighborhood. Homes have been sold or rented. People have moved away. New families have moved in. One socially minded newcomer together with a longtime resident organized a meet-and-greet block party recently. Everyone brought a chair and a dish to pass around. It was an opportunity to renew old acquaintances and to make new ones. It's funny how you can live on the same street with people and never see them — especially when your illness prevents you from spending as much time outside as you'd like to. Most importantly for me, it was an opportunity to laugh. And laugh I did. Three hours of nonstop talking and laughing is not something I do regularly, and it's tiring for me. I came home exhausted. But the effects of the laughter were well worth the effort it took to prepare for the event and drag my chair the distance of four houses away. Lately, I've been using all of my energy to fight pain. There's been little left over for exercising. I've barely had the strength to walk our new little dog up and down the street (and it's a short street!). An opportunity to laugh was really a gift. You see, laughter has many of the same benefits that exercise does. So much research has been carried out on the subject that it now has a field of study of its own: "