Time for a spring makeover

Girl with hair cut


It’s another crisp, cold wintry morning. A blanket of snow covers our yard and the ice is reforming on the lake. Dave is in the final throes of his annual sap boil off. Spring feels like it is weeks away.

One way to usher in spring early is to give something in your life a spring makeover.

Yesterday, Clare and I went to get new haircuts for spring. Clare had been growing her hair with the goal of donating it for cancer. I was planning to join her. While I had to defer my pixie cut because my hair was still too short, my beautiful girl cut off her golden locks and is now rockin’ a new look for spring.

I also refreshed my blog this week. I hope you like the new look. I was going for something sunny, bright and inspirational.

It’s still easy to follow my blog and share my posts. Just click on the three dots in the upper right hand corner, and enter your email. Social sharing icons appear at the end of each post. If you read something you like, share the happy.

Thanks for continuing on with me on this journey to make the world a happier place, one happy act at a time.

Girl with long hair

Girl with long hair


Enjoy a sick day

Dog on couch
My faithful companion on sick days

Last week, I came down with a nasty cold Clare gave me. I ended up taking two days off work, uncharacteristic for me.

This may sound crazy, but I actually enjoy sick days. Sick days are the only days of the year that I give myself complete, unfettered permission to do absolutely nothing. No chores, no laundry. No dishes. No phone calls. No social media. No emails. Nothing, except rest.

This particular virus left me weak and sleepy, but hungry, so I still cooked. I slept. I read in bed (unheard of!). On day four, I worked a little, listened to podcasts, but mainly slept and rested. I didn’t even watch TV.

Murphy and Bella were by my side the entire time, although I did have to fight them for the couches.

This week’s #HappyAct is to enjoy a sick day. Take one day and give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing.

Ed. note: Clare and I are still dragging and have been debating this question: would you rather be very ill one day, but then recover quickly, or have a long, drawn out, but milder illness? I said the latter–she says the former. What do you say?

Have a Happy Do Over Day

I watched a movie about time travel last week called About Time, a charming British indie film that was warm, thought-provoking, and witty.

In the movie, the father and son have a special gift: the ability to travel to places and times they have been before.

There is a critical scene in the movie, where the father tells the son the secret to happiness is to live each day twice: the first time normally with all the tensions and worries of every day life, and the second time doing the exact same things but noticing how sweet life is.

The film shows an ordinary day for the son. His morning is stressful, juggling making breakfast and lunches for his children, then fighting the morning commute downtown to his job as a lawyer, and endless meetings that seem pointless and bring little joy into his life.

The next scene is the son living the same day over. This time, he sees how beautiful his children are, and cherishes the precious moments with them over the breakfast table. On his morning commute, he looks out the window at the sunshine and marvels at the gift of another day. He sees the humour in the office shenanigans and celebrates success in court.

This week’s #HappyAct is to pretend we are time travellers. Choose an ordinary day this week, and relive it doing the exact same things you do every day, but this time, noticing how sweet life is. I’m going to try it and see what happens. Leave a comment and share your experience.

Scour a book sale

Books on table

There’s one sale we watch for every year: the Kingston Seniors’ Association annual book sale. It was yesterday, so we hopped in the car and headed down to see what printed treasures we could find.

I love books, and while I see why people like eReaders for times like when you’re travelling, to me, there’s still nothing like the feel of the printed page in hand.

Here were some of the books I scored yesterday:

  • Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson
  • A Good Year by Peter Mayle. If you’ve never read any of Mayle’s books about living in Provence, you’re missing out on a real treat
  • Flags of our Fathers—the New York Times bestselling book by James Bradley about the six United States Marines made famous by Joe Rosenthal’s photograph and statue in Washington D.C. of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, also made into a major motion picture
  • A lighthearted read by Judy Blume called Summer Sisters—perfect for the dock this summer
  • The Wonder, a story about a mystery in an Irish village over a century ago written by the same author of The Room, Emma Donoghue
  • Catching Fire—the second in the Hunger Games trilogy—I read the first one and have seen all the movies, but haven’t read the other books
  • Nelson Mandela’s biography, Long Walk to Freedom

I also picked up a Pride and Prejudice retelling, a novel based in Paris for Grace , a Vince Flynn book for Dave, some sheet music and more.

A bagful of books was only $20.

This week’s #HappyAct is to scour a book sale in your area and see what printed treasures you can find.

Conquer the Savage question

HQ trivia screen

On Friday, my most awesome co-worker Jess invited us to a secret meeting at 3 p.m. The meeting was to play HQ Trivia.

HQ Trivia is a live trivia game that broadcasts each night at 9 p.m. and on weekdays at 3 p.m. You play along on your phone and the prize money is split between all the winners. The prize tonight, Sunday, February 18this an epic $25,000, their biggest prize ever.

I played twice on Friday and was hooked immediately.

There were six of us playing at 3…along with 668,000 other people. You read that right. Six hundred and sixty-eight thousand people! At 9 p.m., there was Clare and I….and just under a million other people playing.

Both times, we killed it on the first three or four questions, but here’s the skinny—they make the first questions really easy to hook you in. After each round, the questions get harder and harder. Just when you think you’ve got this, the host lays it on you–the Savage Question–the question that knocks out hundreds of thousands of people.

Not only is HQ Trivia fun and addictive, it’s a social and technological marvel. It boggled my mind to think I was online with hundreds of thousands of other people at the same time doing the same thing and watching the elimination numbers each round: from 998,000, to 924,000 to 762,000 to 682,000 then down to 324,000 (after the Savage Question) until the final round when only a handful of players claim victory to split the $2,500 jackpot.

This week’s #HappyAct is to download the HQ Trivia app and play along tonight. And whatever you do, don’t call our house at 9 p.m. We won’t answer the phone.

Epic fails and lessons in writing from the school of hard knocks

Mark Zuckerberg

This week, on the 14th anniversary of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg shared a posted about his failures. He wrote, “Over the years I’ve made almost every mistake you can imagine. I’ve made dozens of technical errors and bad deals. I’ve trusted the wrong people and I’ve put talented people in the wrong roles. I’ve missed important trends and I’ve been slow to others. I’ve launched product after product that failed.”

There are many days when I feel like an epic failure as a writer (or mother, or wife for that matter). The other day I read something I wrote a year ago. It was crap.

Writing for someone else’s voice is probably one of the hardest things for a writer to do. I need to do this a lot in my work. Here are some of my epic failures in writing over the course of my career.

  • Assuming someone’s spoken voice is the same as their written voice. I worked with one leader who was personable, funny and engaging in person, but whose written prose was formal and stilted.
  • Creating a narrative that wasn’t the narrative of the person giving the presentation. I prepared a presentation once for a leader and weaved a theme through it that I thought would resonate with the audience, using references to popular culture. It fell flat because it was my narrative, not their narrative.
  • Not using enough stories in my writing and not digging harder to find stories. Everyone has a story.
  • Slipping into corporate puffery. If something I’ve written sounds like a company wrote it, not a person, I’ve failed at my job, and I have.
  • Being too wordy.
  • Not being able to convince people to use clear language; people will often default to language they are used to or think others want to hear.

Yes, I have failed miserably time and time again. But there is one thing that makes me happy. I’m in good company.


Ten inventions that would make the world a happier place

Jetsons comic of the family of the future

The other day I read about a new invention: a tiny implant for your brain that injects medicine. Modern technology has led to advances in communications, medicine, and business. And yet, there are still so many basic necessities of life we still struggle with.

Here are ten yet-to-be inventions I’d like to see in 2018:

  1. A dryer that automatically sorts your socks
  2. A zip-up bathing suit top so you don’t have to wriggle out of your wet clingly suit like Houdini trying to escape from a straightjacket
  3. A teapot that doesn’t spill when you pour it
  4. A massage jacket that gives you a soothing massage when you wear it
  5. A device that could magically remove moles so no one would ever have to worry about skin cancer again…while you’re at it, a cure for cancer, Alzheimers and diabetes please
  6. A jet pack like the Jetsons so you never have to be stuck in traffic or drive your kids anywhere ever again
  7. A blender that doesn’t spout hot liquid like lava from a volcano
  8. A toilet paper roll that automatically refills itself
  9. A duvet cover that has zippers or buttons at both ends so when your husband tosses and turns and all the duvet winds up on your side of the bed and he blames you, it’s easy to fix
  10. A robot that will go around the house and pick up all the mitts, scarves, hats, markers, dishes and clothes that your kids have just left even though you tidied the house twenty minutes ago

Maybe for Mother’s Day, I’ll get my robot. In the meantime, if some smart inventor out there can work on numbers one to nine, that would make me happy.