350 degrees fahrenheit.

This is the oven red line* for most women cooks of my generation.  We seldom, if ever, cook anything above 350 degrees, except maybe to use the broil setting.

Men are out on the barbeque, flames towering 6 feet over their head, and they are having a glorious time.  We sit in front of the oven and wait.

A rebel cook confided to me she dared to try 425 degrees to cook some cornish hens, on the recommendation of a chef (chefs are allowed to cook at high temps).  Awesome secret revealed!  Hens crisp and brown on outside, tender and moist inside!  Now she frequents the no zone of 425 and up – even to 500!  Go girl!

Despite the fact most ovens can heat up to 500 degrees, we are seldom comfortable in that zone.  Perhaps it is the 451 fear, where paper spontaneously bursts into flames (though this ‘fact’ is not quite true).  Or we are just, so, well, timid.  You know, “It’s okay, I can wait an hour for dinner to cook”, while kids are screaming, husband is grumbling and cat meowing, loudly.  Oh sure, I can waste the only 3 hours I have left at the end of the day preparing food.  Where is that box of cookies?  Fast, delicious and instant!

A microwave does not solve the problem.  Red line is usually a minute.  Then you keep resetting.  3 times, 6 times . . .

This is a harmless, somewhat interesting and useless observation.

But this is MY blog.

*A red line appears on some types of gauges (e.g. tachometer) that indicates a limit you should not surpass too often, even though you can, as it may result in damage to the device and/or you.

Wastelands Part Two

The biggest conspiracy in the world has to do with self control, and the worst offender is the New Age Movement.

They take the concept of being in control of your life, that is, getting your dreams, and reverse the order of achieving this, so you feel like you are moving towards your dreams, when in fact you are as still and as comatose as a rock.  New Agers say the way to get what you want is to believe first (wish, hope, pray), then you will have what you want (money, time, talent), which enables you to do (pursue your dreams).  Nope.  Doesn’t happen that way!  It is DO and believe, but always DO first.  And after you’ve done a lot of doing you may have what you need (your dream come true and all its perks).  It gets easier to believe the more you do.  And of course you get closer to having the more you do.

God is not going to write that novel for you, no matter how much you believe.  Getting up at 4 a.m. and writing will get your novel.  All the blood, sweat and tears of writing, rewriting and getting it published and marketed is on YOU.  Ditto for that university degree, that new job, that vacation, losing weight, whatever you dream of.  The believing part comes in where you trust yourself to be disciplined to work and leaning on divine help when you are not.  That you will succeed.  That you can do this.  The good news is some supernatural assistance will come your way once you start to take wholehearted action.

Divine help comes in the form of giving you the strength of perseverance, day in and out.  To get you up at 4 a.m., to stop you craving sweets, to prevent you from overspending, to give you energy to clean the house.  All the things you cannot do because willpower is a fickle god.  It comes and goes and is so moody!  You need God to get you past and through your weaknesses.  He will also give you the right information you need, insights, wisdom and inspiration that you can’t get yourself, and get this – He will give you favor!

I used to be so caught up in the believe, have and do movement that I wasted decades of my life, when I could have been making stuff!  I could have been having enormous fun creating!  Because I am now an ex-New Ager I harp on taking action as much as I can, so that others don’t fall into these traps.

The only persons getting rich from the New Age are the people promoting it.  All get rich quick schemes prey on your presumed laziness (but you will find when you take action this belief in innate laziness is not true!), and your belief in lack (don’t have enough money, time, talent, whatever).  If anyone says you can get your dreams with little effort “Buy my plan today for the low price of $500”, run, don’t walk away!  The self publishing industry is rife with this sort of thing.  Forget this – just write!

There is only one way to get anything you deem worthwhile, make the effort.  Roll up your sleeves and get working.  Every single day.  And watch!  Whatever you are creating will evolve, and before you know it, you’ll have something others don’t have – your university degree, your novel, your masterpiece, your laundry done!  As a bonus, you will lose your frustrations, depression, anxiety and anger.  Just from DOING!

I started taking action for an end result and discovered I do because I love what I do!  It is the process I enjoy. The finished products are just proof of my action, a bonus for hard work. I am not a success in the worlds eyes. I’m not a best selling writer or artist, except to myself – I’m the only one who buys them!  But I have something others only dream of, and more. Things have changed within me since I now do instead of dream, things I could never have imagined.

So I encourage you to get up, put away your magic potions and chants, stow away the candles and magic wand, roll up your sleeves and DO your dreams.  Time is running out!

Wastelands Part One

What is worse than a non-smoker?

An ex-smoker.

I am one, 17 years now!

Ex-smokers are those who have no tolerance for smokers, including e-smokers (the worst kind yet!).  I can’t stand the sight of butts strewn across the landscape (by the way – a source of extremely toxic chemicals into our environment), nor someone lighting up (especially in defiance of smoke free zones), or a person sitting next to me on the bus reeking of smoke, or the oblivious smoker walking ahead of me, I following into their second hand fumes.  UGH.  I hate everything about smoking, diametrically opposed to how much I once loved smoking.

Smoking is a wasteland in which you can be lost a very long time.  It messes with your mind, plays with your emotions.  Till death do us part.

Two thing happened to save me from myself.

One day, my smoking buddy, a fellow employee, came into my office and said she wasn’t feeling very well, and was off to the Doctor that afternoon.

She never came back.

She had throat cancer and died 6 months later.

When she told me her plight I immediately threw out my package of cigarettes.

The second thing that saved me, was I had just started dating a runner.  He seized the opportunity and set me on a training program to run a 10K.  It was not an instant cure, but I found out very quickly you cannot run and smoke without catching a glimpse of the grim reaper while you hack out your lungs.  Since this is how he quit smoking, he knew how to keep me motivated, including some trickery.  I was after all, in my 40’s and stubborn and not easy to teach new things to.

My beginnings on the treadmill were pathetic; I couldn’t even run 5 seconds at less than 4 mph and then I’d have to walk 20 minutes to catch my breath.

Day after day I kept at, until one day I was keeping pace with a man on the treadmill beside me and ran 30 minutes non stop.  Not convinced I could run a 10K however, my friend (clever man)  joined me for an outdoor run in which he had carefully mapped out a 10K length and I ran in my ignorance (hence the trickery part).

I learned so many valuable lessons from this experience, but the main one was action.  Roll up your sleeves and do it action.

I wish I could say end of story, from that point on I took action on everything.  No, sadly that came much later.  Later when there was no one to help me.  I never went back to smoking, but I failed myself in other ways.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to change things, I just forgot how.  I got lost in New Age crap that serves to make you comatose, stops you from taking any action other that wishing, hoping and lighting candles instead of cigarettes.

So now you will come to my next blog; what is worse than an non New Ager?  An ex-New Ager – and how I am being continually reformed from that wasteland.

Sorry, I Can’t Read This Stuff Anymore. . .

I was given yet another book on the perils of pesticides and decided I can’t read this stuff anymore.

I have become saturated with news of all the harmful things we are doing to our environment and ourselves and it is overwhelming.  I get it already.  We need less reports and more action.

If you spend all your time researching bad things through the media; watching documentaries, listening to commentaries, reading books, you are slowly going to lose your mind.

I once knew a man who could no longer sleep because he got in the habit of watching the late news and took all that stuff to bed with him.  Such negativity can kill you – it almost killed him.

I go in the grocery store and my heart gets extremely heavy when I observe the rows and rows of chemically laden foodstuff and products we put on and in our bodies and into our environment.  I near collapse at the realization this is repeated hundreds of thousands of times over in all the stores in all the cities of the world.


I can’t handle all this.

Here is what I do know.  Pick one or two things you can DO something about and do it.  Be aware of other things, okay, but take ACTION on something.  Choose your battles.

Action does not have to be grand.  My elderly Mother was overwhelmed by all the charities vying for her support, until she took this advice.  She selected 2 charities and donated to them exclusively each month, and let go of all the others.  You cannot solve all the worlds problems.  Choose what matters most to you and take action.

If we each do a little, a lot gets done.

There are countless ways of taking action other than monetary to alleviate suffering.  Even just being nice once in a while.  A smile.  A compliment.  Holding a door.  Listening.

Or you can be more proactive; stop buying chemically laden products and supporting these industries that destroy your body and environment.  Read the labels.  I remember when flour was flour and cocoa, cocoa – not any more!

Action (oh how I hate to use this next word) trumps everything.

Doing a little will lighten your heart and the woes of the world. There are millions of us on this planet.  Imagine what could be accomplished if each one of us did something about one thing of our choosing, in any small way, all the time.  All the way from a favour to changing government policy.  Stop absorbing bad news and do something.

By the way – there is an equal, if not more amount of good news in this world, and a hefty dose of that each day will help you to take action to get rid of the bad.