Gong Shows, Ice Cream, and Peace. Maybe.

I woke up ready for some big internal changes today.

It probably started coming to a head yesterday when I realised I’m not as nice as I thought I was. I’ve been deluding myself. A lot of holes have appeared in my inner cheese since I was that sweet and wonderful original child-self, so I must be totally Swiss inside by now. No wonder I can’t bring myself to become a Canadian citizen…

Anyway, so I told the children this morning what kind of mood I am in, and that this was a great chance for them to tell me how they wish I behaved differently, and they said that I become too frustrated when they’re not understanding me. I examined myself and found some really good excuses for it, but it is true, and I need to change that as soon as I can. Even if my ADHD family’s behaviour makes my daily life one long gong show, I can, and must, “find my inner peace and let it guide me gently through the day.” That’s a quotation from The Family Virtues Guide. We were supposed to be working our way through the whole book, but we never got past the first lesson, Peace. Which happened three years ago. The quotation is still stuffed under the bottom edge of a picture in the dining room, getting a little more bubbled and grimy with every gong show of a meal together.

I did ask my Adam what he would have his Eve change the most, and he said something silly, like, “Give me more ice cream.” He is never short on ice cream. In fact he came home just tonight with a tub the size of his whole torso because it was going cheap at Sobey’s. Again.


So either he thinks I’m perfect or he doesn’t care.

(Odd day.)


Elderberries and Dandelions

The weather was gorgeous in the late morning today. My son and I finished weeding the square foot bed used last year for the Mini Midget melons, then I planted our bare root stock of 10 elderberries there. I planted 9 in that bed, and the last one I planted where one of the raspberries kicked the bucket two or three years ago.

Then I took a picture of what is happening by our front door – tulips! 🙂

And do you see the small dandelion in the picture – not the obvious one at the front, but the smaller one over to the right? Well, it exists no more. Because I ate it! Someone said have ‘em young, so I picked the littlest one I could find, just opened. What did it taste like? Green, but strong. Really strong.

Yes, today I ate my first ever dandelion! I ate the flower. Soon I will try a leaf, and then a larger dandelion root.

Someone also reminded me of the dandelion “coffee” you can make from ground dandelion roots. I have a dehydrator, and I will try grinding both roasted and unroasted dehydrated roots one day this season. My Adam likes his hot cuppa in the morning. So one day this summer he’s going to get a big surprise. Hopefully it will be pleasant 🙂

I Had a Juicy Time

I’ve been playing with the juicer from Value Village that my husband for some reason came home with a few months ago. And now I have a thing for carrot juice.

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In one picture you can see, juiced:

1 head of kale

1/4 cucumber

2 apples, Granny Smith (I’m going to be one of them one day!)

In another picture you can see:

5 carrots

2 lemons

2 limes (2 lemons and 2 limes filled one tray: 1/4 lime, 1/3 lemon per cube)

1/2 watermelon

In another picture you can see:

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch mint (spread very thinly across the tray)

1 tbsp ginger root

4 brussel sprouts

6 tomatoes

a whole head of celery

The mint produced very little juice, but just a little suck off a finger dipped into it knocked my head off. That stuff is powerful.

Anyway, yum. And I’ll do more juicing when I’ve worked out how to manage the cost of all the fresh foods.

Getting Organized in the Google Era

Do you remember this one? https://thequestforeve.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/angry-with-myself/

Yes, I was upset. Upset enough to nearly not read “Getting Organized in the Google Era,” by a MAN (Douglas C. Merrill) when it turned up at the library. But for some reason I did, and then it ended up answering this question, “Would Eve embrace or reject all this digi business, I wonder?”, from this blog entry, “https://thequestforeve.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/thank-you-notebook-3-0/

I think Eve would embrace digital things, but I think she would have a very tight focus for them (very tight compared with the broad net that the internet is, and the huge variety of fish it catches). I think she would plant her suede-clad thighs very firmly below the pipe, her eyes searching for what she really needed, then delicately dip, and dip, here and there, catching only as much as she needed. Then she would move away to other things.

I think the internet is a pipe of overall quite filthy water, but you can find pure water if you look really, really carefully, and with spiritual eyes even living water.

I think byutv.org is fabulous. I think using the internet for family history research is fabulous. I think the Church website is fabulous. I think taking wholesome classes and webinars via the internet is fabulous. I think keeping connected with your wholesome family and friends and “tribe” is fabulous.

I also think “Getting Organized in the Google Era” is very worth reading in a world where the options for access to the pipe are constantly changing. And because Douglas C. Merrill is dyslexic, he knows how to keep it simple. So I learnt lots and lots and made myself lots of things to do and to research after reading this book (and making 31 pages of notes), but I learnt this most of all :

Use your emails as a database, to hold information in your email provider’s cloud “for ever.” Even send yourself emails on purpose with important information in them. All you  need to do is to tag them generously (gmail.com understands about that) and you will find retrieval very easy, and close to instant. The capacity for storage there is enormous.

Glad I read it.

Oh, and the book also led me to discovering “Things” at http://culturedcode.com/, which is project management software in the Getting Things Done model: today/next/someday/scheduled, projects/separate to-do’s, areas of responsibility. I couldn’t get on with the GTD model on paper because I was constantly “letting myself down,” preferring, when it came down to it, to respond to the day as things arose. But “Things” is infinitely sortable, because it’s digital, so having all your ideas in this software is just great for planning – even if, like me, you feel stressed at setting to-do’s. I find I don’t have to go that far. My ideas of things to do will wait in the software, either as separate things or part of a larger project. And if nothing else, I’m seeing that the things that seemed so vital and urgent two years ago, that I would have jumped straight into if I’d had the chance, now don’t seem important at all and, though I punished myself for not Getting Them Done at the time, I’m glad I didn’t rush at them now, so – Why not be consciously more like the tortoise and less like that hare? and stop wasting time haring off down rabbit trails that are off the travel plan? And I am, at last, learning to see “Things” as a digital idea holder par excellence rather than a silent reproach, which has been a problem for me for years…


I think the digital world excels at information management, and being organisationally-challenged, yes, I need its help.

And I think the internet is a fabulous thing, if you can be like my vision of Eve and stand strong against the thundering power of the water, and selectively dip, and dip… and then walk away till next time.

Not Drowning

I can swim and sometimes do, but I don’t really like water. It scares me because it’s amoral. It is a slave to all other forces, helplessly reacting to whatever forces are acting upon it, and rushing to obey them, regardless of the consequences. I know I shouldn’t hold water accountable for being what it was created to be, and especially when it keeps me alive when I drink it every day, but too much water also takes lives, and, well… The most terrifying dream I ever experienced was of me totally alone in an endless sea, terrifyingly disorientated by the view looking the same whichever way I turned, and me with only my head above the water, and then up rose a wave right in front of me, rising to colossal size, making right for me.

I told an alternative health practitioner about my dream once. She looked up at me and said, “In dreams, water represents your emotions.” It wasn’t hard to make the connection that my unconscious was showing me I was feeling completely alone, and mortally afraid of drowning in my own emotions – because of their power and their size.

This is all to show how it was deeply significant to me when I read a piece today by Stephen Palmer that uses water to express the unconscious and the subconscious, and I am enraptured by his idea of a rescue being provided by a boat that has a place to go and a person to steer it…

Tiny Boat on a Fathomless Ocean

Sent Monday, February 6, 2012

You are a tiny boat hurled by waves, swirled by winds on a fathomless ocean. There are monsters in the deep, circling ominously. Spasmodic swells threaten to capsize you. At times you drift drowsily through doldrums. You panic when you lose your bearings in thick fog.

The ocean is your subconscious mind, the boat your conscious mind. According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, ninety-five percent of our thoughts, emotions, and learning occur without our conscious awareness. Most cognitive neuroscientists concur. NeuroFocus founder Dr. A.K. Pradeep estimates it at 99.999 percent.

Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions, concludes from years of empirical research that human beings are far more irrational than rational. Furthermore, we are unconscious of our irrationality. David Eagleman, neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, writes:

“…consciousness is the smallest player in the operations of the brain. Our brains run mostly on autopilot, and the conscious mind has little access to the giant and mysterious factory that runs below it.”

Dr. Richard Grant of the University of Texas explains that our relationship with our subconscious mind is the same as that with water: We can periodically and briefly swim underneath the surface and discover a hidden fantasy world shimmering with dazzling colors and sensational creatures. But if we spend too much time below, we’ll either drown or be devoured by the monsters in the deep.

Like most people, you can toss helplessly on the ocean of subconsciousness — enslaved by unexamined and deeply embedded beliefs, a puppet on the strings of unconscious reaction. Or you can harness the power of the ocean to your advantage.

There’s one way to survive on the ocean and sail unwaveringly to destinations of your choosing: Use vision to create a fixed, immovable point that acts as your North Star. Then use the rudder and sails of conscious choice to navigate to your fixed point, no matter how colossal the waves and furious the winds.

Take refreshing dips in the ocean through playful imagination. Fish for fresh ideas through introspective meditation. Be fiercely vigilant about the thoughts you entertain in your conscious mind and the habits you create. Indulging in unworthy and negative thoughts and addictive behaviors are like flinging blood in the water — the sharks will streak to your boat and tear you to pieces.

Life Manifestos are sweet water and fresh food to thirsty and hungry sailors. A cool breeze on a stiflingly hot day on the ocean. They give your conscious mind the nourishment you need to stay powerful to man the rudder and adjust the sails. They give you the strength you need to fight the swarming monsters of temptation, depression, and negative-self-talk. They give you the refreshment you need to stay energized through the doldrums. They gleam through night clouds to keep you ever focused on your North Star.

You are a tiny boat on a wild ocean. But you have the rudders and sails of conscious choice. Are you using them?

This idea of Stephen Palmer’s to navigate your way out of drowning would explain why I have become so goal-oriented, and even if I don’t achieve most of my goals, I still have to have them. And though it’s bothered me for years why I keep planning and setting goals that I don’t follow or attain, because it’s irrational of me to continue with that habit – in the light of the water analogy for the mind, that behaviour, though irrational, still serves its purpose.

I’m liking the idea of irrationality more and more 🙂

However, I could set more rational goals. On Sunday we had a lesson by our Relief Society President that focussed on the difference between the tortoise and the hare, and how being the tortoise is better. This is a lesson I am still struggling, and hoping, to learn, so it spoke directly to me. Then she had someone read a quotation from President Gordon B. Hinckley, and I loved it so much I asked for the paper afterwards. He gave this advice to the women of the Church:

“Rise to the great potential within you. I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass.”

Thank you Stephen Palmer, Sister McKenzie, and President Hinckley.

Angry – With Myself

I am almost never angry. But how on EARTH did I get the idea that I could run my home as if it is a manor house that has a faithful cook, housekeeper, gardener and governess when there is just one aging servant in this establishment (me)?

All by myself I am trying to maintain

beautiful gardens

a family fed on often raw, always prepared-from-scratch, home-grown foods (in Alberta no less!)

beautiful, tasteful, clean, tidy rooms

hand-sewn soft furnishings

regular social gatherings

low outgoings

an attractive family history record

an always up-to-date 3-day evacuation kit

stylishly groomed and well-mannered family members with a passion for learning, and for something more particular, that they will develop and joyfully use to serve mankind

while I am the

full-time teacher (unpaid)

in-house doctor

dog handler


technical expert


creator of non-toxic body products


bread baker

spiritual guide and counsellor


mata hari


interior decorator

while pursuing my personal talents and interests of



ongoing learning




not forgetting the need to also serve mankind outside my home through

being a good neighbour

visiting teaching

church callings

missionary work

family history research

vigilant citizenship

and temple work?

I mean, where do I get off even trying?!


I can only think that twenty-first century woman has inherited something impossible to pull off: a historically-unprecedented plethora of riches with the labour of only one person to maintain them. In my case, it is literally only me. The only occasional assistance with any of these I enjoy is a fry-up made by my husband because that’s what he likes to eat.

It can’t be done. In the beginning Adam and Eve created everything they owned by scratch, or traded one thing for another, and there was a balance and a check in that which kept the amount of stuff down and the objects simple, therefore simple to maintain. But in the craziness of modern economics (and through trading with China) we drown in stuff that we haven’t got the human resources to maintain.

Something’s gotta give here. No – a lot’s gotta give. And seeing as I can’t increase the amount of labour put into our home by hiring other people, then I can only think that I’ll have to reduce the demands – throw out a lot of physical stuff (which isn’t emotionally hard to do any more) along with a lot of ambitions (which really, really is). Some of those categories I see on the right of this “Add New Post” page, like “The Provident Indoor Garden” and “The Provident Healer,” will have to be relegated from strong threads in my mental tapestry to occasional playful highlights – in this lifetime, anyway.

If I were Eve, having my hands full with immediate survival demands, I suppose I’d have to wait until some of my daughters fell in love with, for example, stylised herb gardening, and thought to make up a pot for me, before I could enjoy that. And actually, that would be a real joy, to receive such a gift that somebody else has laboured over on my behalf that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience.

Now I wish I had many daughters, to each fall in love with one of the things that I can’t keep up with.

I can tell there will be a lot more for me to say about this in the coming month, because January has now turned into Decluttering month with an ENORMOUS capital D.

Watch this space!

I Forgot!


I forgot!

I am supposed to be writing my Mother-in-Law Insanity Log (temporary title) this month!

That would be because I’m not feeling well and have committed to enough things already.

But if I can do it I will, because I really will enjoy this one.