Bright Idea

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.” – Buddha

It’s hard to say what exactly makes an idea come alive. Some people are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon for lacklustre ideas, while other great ideas forever line the parade route. Some trends become traditions, others disappear from memory. Some annoying fads, like leg warmers, just  keep reappearing, Why?

Social network theorists have noted that some ideas stick because an expert (or a celebrity) promotes it, and we are stupid prone to believe everything they say. Does anyone remember “the gold is there”? I do because I worked exclusively on the ensuing lawsuits for 5 years. Bre-X Minerals announced their massive find. Experts asserted from core sample tests that this was the real deal. It was not. Investors lost billions, lawsuits were filed, and to this day, the former VP of the company enjoys his breakfast on a Cayman Island beach. Though a poor college student and single Mom, news articles touting this amazing find caught my eye and I considered investing my piddley savings in stock (though I had no clue what a stock was) in the hopes of growing that nest egg sizably. I didn’t invest in stock, but I sadly I did invest in Suzanne Somer’s Thighmaster®…


Photo courtesy of

If you weren’t influenced with Gwenyth Paltrow’s juice cleanses, it could be for one of two reasons:

1) you are not cool part of the network of influencers. Who promotes an idea is less important than the network of individuals promoting an idea. When it catches on and spreads, even within your own circle of friends, it is because of the relationship or connections you have within that sphere. So if you don’t really relate to Gwenyth Paltrow, you are less likely to pay the slightest attention to her ramblings, but when your BFF starts raving, you are more likely to listen.

2) you are more likely to follow your heart. Our emotions play a big part in the choices that we make. Who we relate to and how we relate to them, whether their reputation precedes them or based on own experiences, will impact how likely we are to be influenced by them. When embracing an idea, our personal goals and self-perceptions can play a part (Atkins bandwagon – anyone?) too. And, all too often, our desire for pleasure trumps our common sense. We can become excited by an idea and start to endorse it, before we’ve fully investigated it. Sure, I could eat bacon for breakfast every day but should I? Some “experts” claim it’s a healthier fat than chemically-laced vegetable-based products, while other “experts” claim bacon is carcinogenic and causes cancer.  Which experts are right? I don’t care…I don’t have time in the morning to cook bacon, or enough cash in my wallet to buy some on a Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich!

What sparked all this research? P.B.S. We’ve been watching the Great British Baking Show every Monday on the P.B.S. television station and I have developed a greater interest in baking, which if you’ve been following my blog, you will know is not one of my strong points! Baking disasters (cooking too) abound in my homestead, complete with ugly cries and burnt offerings. I have had 2 successes this month baking bread from scratch, and 1 disaster baking square cupcakes (for a Minecraft® themed party). Non-stick baking pans are a lie! I’d work out my frustration with my thighmaster® but I sold it at a yard sale, using my powers of influence as an expert on an unsuspecting buyer.

Bottom line: Be careful what ideas you have and you hold – for they can influence those around your for good or for evil.

Happy Weekend!


The Power of Being Influenced –

We Are More Influenced When We Follow Our Hearts –

Boy, O Boy!

One of my favourite bloggers, Coach Daddy, recently had a guest blogger, Tiffany (Sounds Like Life to Me), who wrote about raising a teenage daughter. I laughed through most of her post because I could sense her frustration (while still finding the humour in it). And then I sighed a little… I have 2 boys! They are not only unique individuals, they are also 16 years apart, which means the “mean, lean teen” stage will have been in 2 completely different decades. Big Guy hit “teendom” in the early 2000’s, while Little Guy has literally been counting down the days to double digits! I survived those years with the first kid, but I’m not overly optimistic about the second. Time will tell!

Before I begin, I should make this disclaimer – both of my guys are amazing, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They have, at times, graciously filled my longing for a daughter by:

– participating in tea parties (yes, there were cookies);

-watching some of the “girly-er” Disney movies with me; and,

– enduring endless huggies, snuggies and smooches.

Girls are notoriously stereotyped as “Drama Queens”, and boys are sullen and disengaged. Right or wrong, thinking back, most of the sullen “attitude” from Big Guy related to only 2 areas:

  1. His Room

I was never a big stickler when it came to keeping his room clean. I rarely made him make his bed because honestly, I rarely make mine! It doesn’t seem fair to impose regulations that I’m not willing to keep. If I could drop off his clean clothes on the bed without impaling myself on Lego blocks and miniature plastic soldiers, I was pretty happy. From time to time I’d request that he sort through piles as, like his Grandfather, he liked to keep everything because he “might need it some day”.

– BUT –

Just before Little Guy was born, we renovated our basement and set Big Guy up in his own “pad” – part bedroom/part work space/part video game space. But the older he got, the worse that room became. Suddenly garbage couldn’t make it into the can – literally centimeters away. Stinky socks and moldering t-shirts littered the floor, along with hunks of cardboard and scraps of paper so twisted and mangled that no content would ever be decipherable again. And let’s not forgot the odd assortment of sticks, rocks, beer bottle lids, and assorted “parts” that he’d scoop up on his walk home from school every day (he still hasn’t lost that little boy desire to pick up useful garbage stuff along the way).  He was forbidden to have dishes in his room because I would never have found them again. I seriously considered making a “survival” video entry for a contest with Survivorman.

Every now and then, fearing for my life yet armed with plastic bags and bug spray, I would pick through what I dared. Anything I thought he might honestly need was piled on his bed for him to deal with before he could sleep there. At least once, I caught him sleeping on his futon instead.

Sadly, this overwhelming neglect to the general tidiness of his “home” has never left him.


  1. Homework

Homework does cause brain damage…at least in mothers! I spent Grades 6-12 working full time to get him through school (you should have seen the looks on teachers’ faces when I showed up for meetings with my packed 4” binder!). Yes, he had some learning issues and the schools were not always as supportive as they could have been.

– BUT –

IF he had used his agenda to organize his scattered brain by actually writing down his homework, and then checking it before he left the building to see that he had it, well…it would have helped! Handing in his homework was another problem. Not losing his homework, still another problem. Arguing less about the validity of the homework would have saved time (and brain cells), not to mention the time wasted looking for things like pencils…that were literally. Right. There.

The questions, the phone calls, the notes were usually met with eye rolls and unintelligible grunts, but on the night he handed me his high school diploma (he skipped graduation much to my dismay), I was “like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” (Ps. 126:1b-2a) and I slept deeply.

There were never issues with curfews, friends or activities. He wasn’t interested in clothes. He liked girls, but was too shy to let them know it. Emotionally, we both had a lot going on in our lives, so in many ways, I think we banded together to “survive” rather than turning our backs on each other. And we did survive!

Today, Little Guy is officially double-digits, and is heading into “teendom”. Boy, O boy! Am I in trouble!   I’m not sure I have the strength to do it all again. Picking up after himself, homework, and wearing winter clothing have already become issues. There have been eye rolls and inaudible grunts. And there have already been meltdowns and tears (and they weren’t all mine)!

Lord, help me to see the light at the end of the tunnel…and may it not be from the opening of a cemetery plot. Amen!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

This week’s challenge was to take a photo of a “trio”. I chose to play around with 3 different arrangements using my wedding ring and my grandmother’s wedding rings. My grandfather died when I was only 3 – my earliest memory is his wake at the farm house. My grandmother was only 62. She never remarried and she wore her wedding ring for the rest of her life. It’s been almost a year since she passed away and I miss her.

“Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.” – Sam Levenson

To see more Trio photos, click here. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Victory


“In war there is no substitute for victory.” – Douglas MacArthur


DSC_0794 (800x539)

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, he who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat”. – Theodore Roosevelt

To see more photos for “Victory”, click here.

“What’s for Dinner?”

It seems many of my  “cooking projects” end up just like my home reno projects – they end up creating more work and by the time it’s over, I’m too tired to enjoy the final product.

This weekend, Hubby fixed the clogged bathroom sink, but he also discovered a disintegrating pipe and a cracked sink, which has been leaking underneath. Small project just grew…

Today I bought groceries to make lasagna sauce from scratch to make a meal for a friend and her family. I also bought the ingredients to try a new chicken recipe. Do you smell disaster?

1. I searched the store for a can of cannellini beans. I don’t know what they are, and after scanning the aisles and identifying over 2 dozen different types of beans, I never found cannellini beans. So I bought a can of white kidney beans. It wasn’t until I got home and read the recipe again that I realized the beans were to be added to the side salad, so eaten raw. I don’t think cold, raw kidney beans taste very good, so now I have beans to make chili (new project #1).

2. I had thawed chicken breasts, not cutlets. The breasts were skinless but bone in, but I thought I could cut the meat off the bones to make my own cutlets. The knife was not the sharpest in the drawer – and I’m talking about me! This old bird had a hard time separating the flesh from the bone of the old birds! There was plenty of meat still on the bones, so I decided to boil them and use the broth to make soup (new project #2).

3. The panko crust didn’t want to stick to the chicken, which was cut too thick. I cut the second batch thinner, then covered them and used the can of kidney beans to pound them too (hey – a new use for project #1?)

I was so focused on the chicken though, that my pot of bones boiled dry, setting off the smoke detector. I opened the doors and dragged a chair to deactivate the smoke detector. Just as I was climbing down from the chair, I heard a voice asking, “What’s for dinner?” My neighbour was out front raking leaves in the dark. I replied, “Burnt offerings”.

By the time,  the cutlets were black rather than golden brown (3), the broth could not be salvaged (2), and I was ready to throw the beans (1).

And I still have to make the lasagna sauce…

Happy Monday (or what is left of it)!