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What can I eat?

Growing up, I am sure that most kids have said this at one time or another. When I was growing up, I ate what my Mom made for me, or whatever I could come up with. I didn’t think much about how it was grown, processed or handled.

Now that I am an adult, I think a lot about what is safe for my family to eat, and what will actually nourish them, not just fill them up.

The human body is amazingly resilient, and will struggle along with whatever fuel you give it. What could you accomplish if you fed your body well?

I came across an interesting article that you might find interesting too! It is somewhere to start from if you are concerned about the food you eat.


I hope you gather some useful information from it!



Bullying has received a fair bit of attention in the recent past. I think bullying is tragic, but not just the child being bullied needs help. We need to be a kinder, gentler people, and take into consideration that the bully-er and he bully-ee both need assistance in sorting this out. Evidence seems to point in the direction that kids who bully have low self-esteem and need to put others down, either verbally or by physically intimidating or harming their victims, to help feel superior or in control of their world. They have probably experienced bullying themselves, or watched a parent or authority figure bully others. It will take a concentrated effort to stop this behaviour and replace it with healthy habits.

As we are more and more involved through social media, I would like to draw your attention to a few situations that are bullying. Let me know what you think. I see posts all the time that want support for a cause. In the wording, however, it will say something like, “I know who is willing to post this”, or “75% of you are too scared to do this”, “I already know which of my friends will support this”, “Anyone willing to post this for an hour?” and it goes on and on. And pictures of kids being ‘disciplined’ by parents who are publicly embarrassing them to get them to comply with something? I think that is bullying too. They won’t be sharing anything important with them for long.

I got through my youth relatively unscathed by bullying. There were a few incidents, when I was in elementary school, but I survived. When I was in grade eight, however, two of my friends and I used to tease a boy in our class. He had just moved to Fort Macleod from Flin Flon, which we so creatively changed to Flip Flop. We made him the object of all our jokes. We tortured him, verbally. Nice, I know, but it is true. When finally he had endured all he was going to take, he had an outburst in class, and our teacher asked him what was going on. He said that we were being mean to him, but as he was ratting us out, and rightfully so, I batted my eyes at him and silently plead for clemency, he then recanted what he had said about me, and stammered, “Well, Charlene, maybe not so much…” And I was let off the hook easier than my two partners in crime. I will have you all know, that for penance for my shameful behaviour in this instance, I have not ONCE cried, cajoled or tried to talk my way out of a speeding ticket. Truthfully. I figured it was the least I could do.

I hope we didn’t permanently scar the guy, but who knows? You never know how your words are going to affect someone. I try to speak positively and be a good influence now.

I know which of my friends are going to band with me and say ‘No’ to bullying, now and forever. Sorry, couldn’t resist.   :)




Lots of things in life I do by ‘feel’. I may have some scientific evidence, I may not, but my conclusions that I come to are always given the ‘feel’ test. I know it sounds rather whackadoo, but that’s what I go by!

My Mom got a microwave a thousand years ago. It was the newest in kitchen appliances, then, and she welcomed it into her kitchen with open arms. It was a huge monstrosity, and took up 1/3 of our center shelf behind the bi-fold doors. It turned out to be a handy thing in her world. My Aunt Twila, who lived up the hill from us, didn’t have a microwave. Uncle Walter, her husband, hated leftovers. My Mom and Aunt Twila devised a covert operation where Aunt Twila would bring a plate of leftovers down, nuke it, and take it back to feed to Uncle Walter. Quite the nefarious duo, those sisters!!

As a kid, I wasn’t nervous about using the microwave at all. It totally had its use, and we used it quite a bit. Then I saw an experiment where a fellow used a light tube and ran it around the ‘sealed door’ of the microwave, and it would light up! Something was oozing out of there! That got me thinking about things.

There are studies about what microwaves do and do not do. I am not going to refer to any of them at all. This is all by ‘feel’ and experience.

Years ago, I got the impression that using the microwave to sterilize dish cloths would be a good idea. I tried it, and I liked how it worked. You just rinse your dish cloth, squeeze it out a bit, and put it into the microwave for at least a minute. Do make sure it is wet, as one of my daughters has started a pair of socks on fire using the microwave to warm them. :)  My family typically accepts my weird ideas with a ‘there she goes again’ type of attitude, or they smile at me weakly, wishing I would keep my thoughts to myself, but this idea is proven. One day, The Center for Disease Control said that using your microwave to sterilize dish cloths was an effective way to reduce the spread of germs and greeblies in your kitchen!! For real! (I am sure they use the word greeblies all the time)  Oh the joy!! haha

In ‘Uncle Buck’, a show starring John Candy, Uncle Buck uses the microwave to wash clothes. The washing machine goes on the blink and so he uses the microwave. So It has to be true! In real life it actually does kill germs.

As the microwave is so good at killing germs, I think that we should re-think the laundry room. It hasn’t had any major breakthroughs for years. We have gone to high efficiency washers, but really, that’s just beating our clothes on a fancier rock.

I think the perfect laundry room would have a lot of upgrades. The first thing that dirty clothes would have happen to them would be a vacuum process. Suck out the dirt before we make mud soup of it in the washing machine. Then, a spray system would dampen the clothes, and they would be microwaved. Dirt gone, germs gone. Another rinse, and they would be good to go, right?  There, now you have it. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be like my idea to have built-in vacuums in vehicles. I talked about that almost a decade ago, and when it actually came true, 3 of my kids sent me the announcement. Sad, sad, day. You can’t wait forever!

I think that microwaves are far better suited for cleaning things, and not for cooking things. Any of you royal smart people that want to tell me why microwaves shouldn’t be used for food, go ahead. This is your chance. I am with you 100% and I really don’t know why. :)




California Christmas

When I was 12, (I think, I might have been a different age, but this is all hearsay, so it doesn’t really matter anyway.) my Mom and Dad took our family to California for Christmas. My Mom had received surgery for breast cancer that year, and my Dad was very grateful that she was still on the earth, so we went for a celebration tour. That’s just my take on the situation. If you got the chance to speak with my parents, they might tell you a completely different story.

So for the break from school in December, we all loaded into our Minnie Winnie Winnebago and southward we did go!

Our California trip was a real adventure for me, and for my two brothers, Richard and Terry too. I remember this trip as being the actual time I really made friends with my brother Terry. Up to this point, I loved him, for sure, but I wouldn’t have considered him much of a friend. :) We did the regular tourist attraction things, like Disneyland and Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm, and Sea World.

As I am the oldest in our family, I was given a bit more free rein than I knew quite what to do with at Sea World. I got lost. I was surrounded by hundreds of people, and not a familiar face in the crowd. I felt completely panicked and that I would never be reunited with my family. It felt like I was alone for hours. I’m sure I wasn’t, because when my Mom came out of a building and spotted me, she was as calm as a summer’s day. (Unless you grew up in Fort Macleod, calm days there are rare) I had written all sorts of scary scenarios in my brain about what was going to happen to me. This was the first time I can remember that I started to grasp that worrying doesn’t help much. I had a maternal grandmother who was a champion worrier, so this was an ‘Aha’ moment for me.

My Dad, driving the Minnie Winnie on the way down, would pull over periodically to let other cars pass us. I thought this was really considerate of him. I think about what he did, when I am travelling behind a tourist to this day. Some people are definitely more considerate than others! At one of the rest stops, there was a tree that was dropping some kind of tear drop shaped, hard shelled seed pod or something onto the pavement. I collected up a bunch of them, determined that I was going to make a necklace or two out of them when I got back to Canada. I didn’t ever find out what they were. My curiosity gene hadn’t kicked in yet, I suppose. I have tried to use google lately to figure out what they were, and haven’t been successful yet!

One of the clearer memories I have is going to see the Shari Lewis and Lambchop performances. I enjoyed it a lot. She was really good at her craft.

We stopped in a Ghost Town that was really fascinating. It wasn’t all commercialized yet, and had lots of buildings to check out.

When we were home in Canada, every Christmas Eve, my Mom would arrange a family get together of all her brothers and sisters and their families. We would have a talent show and sing Christmas carols and enjoy being together. (This is another thing that might be recorded differently, depending on who you talk to.) My Mom was the musical matriarch of the family. If there was to be a get together, she typically arranged for there to be some sort of musical production. She was pretty good at getting people to cooperate with her, too. Kind of bossy. :) But she kept us getting together for years and years. Eventually, there were just too many people to fit into anyone’s home, so the get together was switched to a Boxing Day celebration, at the Church. I know you are thinking this is a bunny trail, but I have a reason for telling you about it that is pertinent for this story. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to California, all except Christmas Eve. I remember I had gone into the public washroom at the campground to get ready for the night. I was feeling really blue and homesick for my cousins and my aunts and uncles and all the craziness of being with that huge group of family members. I turned and looked at the door, just as my Mom came in. She could tell I wasn’t feeling too chipper, and wrapped me in her arms and we just cried and cried together. Girls are so weird sometimes. But it was exactly what I needed.

Sometimes we don’t know what we appreciate about something until it’s gone.





Let Me Help…

There are lots of things I don’t know for sure about life, but today I am going to share some more things that I do know.

As sewing has gone the way of the dinosaur for many humans, things that used to be commonplace for everyone are now not that familiar. One of these things are tailor tacks. When you buy a new dress coat or suit or jacket, you may find large thread Xs in a few places on your new item. These are just for helping your jacket hang nicely and hold together until you purchase it. When you take it out of the store, you are supposed to take out those threads. They are not decorative, they are supposed to be removed. The same goes with labels with the designer’s name on the cuff of your suit. It’s supposed to come off too. Really, trust me on this one. When you buy a new suit, often the pockets are sewn shut as well. If you would like to be able to use the pockets on your jacket,  just open those up! They are sewn shut so that nothing gapes while it is on display. Trust me. I won’t lead you wrong on this one.

How do I know these amazing tidbits of information, you ask? I actually took a school sewing class from Mrs. Maxine Bodgener. She was a stickler for details, as I suppose any good sewing teacher should be. Mrs. Bodgener had her class favourites, and I was not one of them. I was on the edge of being found ‘worthy’ by Mrs. Bodgener. Sometimes she approved of me and my projects, other times my aptitude for talking and socializing made her lose patience for me and I was off her ‘list’ again. She seemed to have a pre-determined idea of who was going to have a clue about sewing and be able to achieve competency, and didn’t like it when her students upset the way she thought it was all going to turn out. In our first project we were assigned to make an apron. She was trying to get us to figure out how to make a pointed end on the apron tails by sewing one seam. I was stumped, and I remember I folded it so that the tail was half the width it was supposed to be. The one that figured it out first was Denise Healy. That surprised Mrs. Bodgener a lot.

Mrs. Bodgener was a talented seamstress, and I just found out something about her that put a smile on my face. I grew up in Fort Macleod, Alberta. Fort Macleod is home to The Fort – Museum of the North West Mounted Police. In 1972, the Fort started doing a mini ‘musical ride’. For this to occur, obviously a lot of work was required. Mrs. Bodgener and Ruth Chalmers made all the replica uniforms that were used in the ride. An 1878 NWMP uniform that was on display at the Fort, was used as the pattern. That is a huge amount of sewing.The riders that completed that first re-enactment were Don Price, Neil Balkham, John Jacobsen, Dexter Knoblick, Larry Lauder, Darryl McKenna, Demehl Olsen and Monty Wesley. It made me smile because I know some of these men. Who were mere lads in 1972.  True story, you can read about it in the Macleod Gazette. Or just google Maxine Bodgener, and the same info will appear. Just like magic. I wonder if the uniforms that are used in the ride today are the same replicas that Mrs. Bodgener made way back in ’72?

So just like an episode of Seinfeld, once again, my post has ended far from where it started. But if you have any wonders about those little thread Xs on your suit, cut them off, trust me, I was trained by a professional. :)

Just for ANOTHER tangent, I was doing a few crossword puzzles today, and some of the clues were terribly out of date, so I better stop referring to Seinfeld all the time. And maybe things that happened in 1972 as well.


New Year – New You!!

Welcome to 2014! I have been on ‘holiday’s from blogging. But my adoring public is clamouring for more… :)

New years are typically time for reflection and goal setting. I think that the ‘New Year’ gets an unfair reputation. Kind of like Mondays. Every new goal or diet or exercise routine always starts on a Monday. Why not Tuesday?  What’s wrong with Friday? What difference does it make? But whenever we start something new, we always hang it on a Monday. Poor Monday…

It’s a lot of pressure! On the first day of the week, on the new year. I don’t know how they have managed to survive this long under all the stress and strain. I think it is time for the rest of the year to buck up and shoulder a little responsibility along with the ‘New Year’ and let people know that they are fully invited to make goals that start in February and beyond.

So if you are holding fast to your New Year’s Resolutions, I commend you! If not remember that there are 12 months in a year, and 7 days in a week, all willing to let you start the creation of the ‘new you’ on any one of them.

May your dreams be achieved, your lives be blessed, and always remember and never forget, there is always Tuesday.

Love yer guts.


What We Can Do About GMOs

Last night I attended a forum on ‘Genetically Engineered Foods and Human Health’, by Dr. Thierry Vrain, a retired soil biologist and genetic engineer, and Dr. Shiv Chopra, a former Health Canada scientist and DVM.

The first topic addressed was, ‘What are GMOs?’ A Genetically Modified Organism is anything that has been changed in a lab to have characteristics that are not physically possible in nature. GMOs are created in two ways. They use bacteria to ‘talk’ to the plant they wish to engineer. The plant and the bacteria talk back and forth, and as the bacteria comes into the plant, it activates a T1 plasmid, this plasmid is replicated again and again into the plant cells and nucleus, inserting the bacterial sequences into the plant cells. Then the plant makes a new bacterial sugar that does not exist in nature. Scientists can take out the plasmid and replace it with the genes they want to use in the plant. Marker genes are placed next to the replacement genes to make a gene construct. So now these are in the plant cells. Antibiotics are used to kill the natural cells so the antibiotic resistant cells are all that is left. The second way is to use a gene gun, an antibiotic resistant gene is physically shot into the nucleus of the plant. The genes will migrate into the cells by this process. So then you just kill the original cells by antibiotic and keep the modified cells. When you forcibly introduce a new gene sequence into a gene construct, there is always collateral damage. The genome is not at all what we thought it would be. 5% have the expected behaviours, and 95% are very sophisticated and unknown. Many new proteins are formed, truncated, mutated, and many are non-functional, but obviously still within the plant cells. The Biotech Industry only report the proteins they are looking for, and ignore unknown and new proteins. Expert toxicolgists predicted that engineered foods would contain rogue proteins that would be toxic, cause allergies, nutritional deficiencies and other diseases. This has all come to pass.

GMOs were thought to be the solution for world hunger, for diet deficiencies in places in the world, and for pesticide and herbicide over use (they really thought that GMOs were going to reduce their use) All these turned out to be false. The main reason that GMO crops are used in the world, is that the control of weeds is easier if you use a crop that is resistant to what it is being sprayed with. This is the description of ‘Roundup Ready’ crops. They resist the chemical, so weeds can be taken care of without worrying about killing the plant you wish to harvest. Research has shown that Roundup Ready crops actually have a 5-10% lower yield when compared to non-modified crops, so they trade the ease of weed control for less yield. The use of Roundup has increased by 600 million pounds since 1996. The problem with this is, that any negative genetic pressure will make things evolve and change, so now we have 40 Roundup resistant weeds in 100 million acres in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. So now they want to use 2-4D. There are already 2-4D resistant corn, soy and cotton. So much for reducing chemical use.

There are issues with GMO crops also that are extremely difficult to deal with as we live in a world where the wind blows, people move around, things are shipped and transported. Consider gene flow, GMO pollen flies around and contaminates your crop. If you save your seed, Monsanto will sue you because part of your crop is now genetically modified. The parts of the world that have banned GMOs will now refuse to buy your crop. There have been markets lost to North American producers because of GMO crops.

The world is a small place when we think of the effects this technology is having. Antibiotic resistant genes were found in every river in Szechwan province in China. We don’t test for those things in North America because we don’t want to know.

Substantial equivalence was also talked about. That is where you go to the patent office with your new corn variety, and you demonstrate that it is new and unique. Then when you are awarded your patent, you go to the regulatory agency and say that it is just corn, just ordinary corn, and you are allowed to sell it without any testing.

Hopefully people are starting to understand what we are in for. Dr. Chopra referred to what is happening as the gene devolution. He says we arer going backwards, not forwards. He explained that it was the destruction of nature and the destruction of everything. When bacteria gene transfer occurs, it whittles the species. These things don’t occur in nature, regardless of what companies are trying to tell you. They will say that these things have been going on for centuries, but we are being lied to. If you want to know more of his story and what happened to him personally because of this, you can read his book, ‘Corrupt to the Core’.

I could go on and on about this, but really, we just need to ‘vote’ with our grocery money, and keep away from processed foods and eat real, whole food that has not been engineered in any way.

I hope this has helped some of you. There are tons of resources available online, one you will find helpful is earthopensource.org



Now, lest my family get all queasy and uncomfortable about the topic of today’s post, I will assure them that this is a family blog, and they can keep reading!

Passion is an interesting thing. When you are passionate about something, you can focus on it and the time just flies. You are nourished instead of drained when you are doing that which you are passionate about. It’s like when they tell you to ‘do something you love for a job and you’ll never have to work another day in your life’. It feeds you.

I like associating with people who are passionate. They tend to talk about ideas and things that are possible. They are excited to be alive, and look forward to being part of many good things before they leave this world. I think they have the intention of making the world a better place, and that makes me happy.

I have a friend that I think exemplifies passion. She is a great Mom and a conscientious human being. She is teaching her little family to be loving and accepting and giving. She is careful about the things she feeds them, the way she disciplines them, and the way they shop. She oozes love and service. I have never had anyone who knows her ever say an unkind word about her. She is interested in how people got to where they are in life. She has traveled enough to help her realize that Canada is an amazing place to raise a family. She has a good sense about her and is a ton of fun. This year for Christmas, she and her family are working on raising money for a cause she really believes in, and I want to share her info with you so you can decide if you would like to contribute.

This is from her Facebook post:

Hello friends!
Every year, except for last year, we’ve raised money to help make life a little easier in Africa. 3 communities who had to walk more then 30 mins to find water now have access to a community well. This offers clean water, something all of us have in our homes. This makes my heart smile! Last year, we donated privately because I felt I was “bothering” everybody and some replies were really offending. I didn’t want to put myself out there again. However, through a friend, I’ve learned that many parents in these poor countries have had to relinquish their children to orphanages because they truly have nothing left. In most cases, some children have already died of starvation or malaria because they have no shelter, no food and no clean water. The parents are also dying for the same reasons, so they bring their remaining children to an orphanage that realistically doesn’t have much more to offer. This is so tragic!!! AND PREVENTABLE, so the least I can do is put myself out there! My goal is to raise $4000 to support families, to keep them together, to educate them and to protect them. Check out the link for more info and please share, the money will be directed to Kouloun, Mali as it is donated so time is not wasted and you will receive a tax receipt. SOS Children’s Villages has created a direct link, it couldn’t be easier. :-) I hope this finds you well. Mike, Kya, Kenzie, Gemma and I wish you a very happy holiday surrounded with love and laughter! XOX

“Click here for Link”

As a man thinketh…

These are the “I AM” statements that I used with my class of young women (12-18) at Church. I promise if you say these every day, with feeling and emotion and conviction, that you will be better. I promise.


I am smart           I am generous        I am kind


I am brave          I am sincere               I am reverent


I am amazing         I am funny                 I am wealthy


I am wise               I am creative           I am sensitive


I am beautiful       I am athletic               I am enough


I am graceful           I am interesting


I am honest        I am fun                   I am virtuous


I am clean     I am diligent          I am reliable


I am lovely        I am good                       I am true


I am considerate    I am agile          I am dependable


I am musical     I am supportive            I am busy


I am curious                 I am artistic           I am awesome


I am confident        I am prayerful       I am obedient


I am righteous             I am earnest   I am strong


I am healthy       I am literate            I am hopeful


I am important      I am loving        I am Gentle


I am thankful     I am grateful         I am sweet


I am tender                    I am constructive                             I am bright


I am Powerful                   I AM BOLD


I am fortunate       I am punctual     I am positive


I am compassionate         I am dedicated              I am quality


I am helpful         I am patient        I am eager


I am expressive        I am inquisitive                      I am determined


I am Active        I am concerned              I am aware


In life, there appears to be two kinds of people, those who can change, and those that can’t. I am a Mom, and so thankfully, I am in the category of people who can change.

I like to observe people. It’s one of my favourite things! I have observed that there are people that regardless of need, necessity, convenience, obviousness or manners, could not change a toilet paper roll if their lives depended on it! It’s not that difficult! You just take the cardboard tube off the little sproingy thing, slip on the new roll, squeeze the end of the sproingy thing back into the holder, and bada boom, bada bing, you are finished! Non-changers will take the new roll and balance it on the empty cardboard tube, they will set it on the back of the toilet tank, put it on the floor, the counter, but never risk the challenge of actually putting that roll where it belongs!

Being in the ‘changer’ category, I try to encourage others to “come over to my side”, but they resist! Maybe if there was a course, offering a certificate of competency after its completion they might be inspired to learn. Maybe that would help those souls who are so resistant to change the incentive to break out of their habits and change that roll!

I am pretty determined to change the world, and if this can be a little accomplishment tidbit in bettering the world, how awesome would that be?

So, I offer to you, the general population of the world, (I know that is optimistic to assume that this blog is reaching most of the world, but this is my blog!) A twelve step program to get you from the non-changer position to a full-fledged, competent and able changer!!

  1. Admit that you have a problem
  2. Acknowledge that you want to change
  3. Search your soul and take an inventory of how this is holding you back
  4. Realize that you may not be able to do this on your own
  5. Be willing to seek help and support
  6. Actually seek the help and support you need
  7. Accept setbacks as temporary
  8. Visualize being successful in changing that roll
  9. Feel the excitement and sense of accomplishment that being a roll-changer will give you
  10. Think positively about your new talents
  11. Be consistent and proactive
  12. Help others in their journey to become roll-changers too


Once you have successfully completed the 12 Step Program, please go ahead and fill out your certificate:



Certificate of Completion


This certificate acknowledges the graduation from the

12 step program to “Certified Roll Changer”


Dated this ____ day of _____

Certified by: Charlene Burdett

 There! That should help. I feel so much better already. I hope you do too!! Spread the word. Change is good.