Friday, 29 December 2017


It's not what they take away from you that counts.
 It's what you do with what you have left.
 - Hubert Humphrey

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Slow down

Slow down, breathe deeply, smile. 
It's a beautiful world. 
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, 
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. 
~ Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, 22 December 2017


It is possible at any age to discover 
a lifelong desire you never knew you had.
 - Robert Brault

Wednesday, 20 December 2017


The human spirit is stronger
 than anything that can happen to it. 
- C.C. Scott

Monday, 18 December 2017


When we learn to say a deep, passionate yes 
to the things that really matter,
 then peace begins to settle onto our lives
 like golden sunlight sifting to a forest floor. 
- Thomas Kinkade

Friday, 15 December 2017

December 15, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Years ago, we acquired a second-hand 4,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a castle in Scotland.

    For years it sat on a shelf in the basement, and my Dad was always going to put it together, but we didn’t have a table or board big enough as the box said the puzzle was 57 x 38 inches.

   Then Dad passed away in 2003, and still the puzzle sat on the shelf. 

   Numerous other (smaller) puzzles were completed over the years, yet that 4,000 piece one never moved.

   Finally I decided it was time to do something with it.  On January 13th of this year, my niece and I took it off the shelf.  After measuring every possible surface, we started putting the puzzle together right on the floor in a corner of the living room.

   In the beginning, I had a bit of assistance from my sister and niece, but I completed the bulk of the puzzle myself.  All in all, it took me just over two and half months, but with my health challenges this year, that was actually stretched over ten months, and the final piece was put in on November 12th (photo, below).

   Many people stopping at our house would comment on the progress (or lack thereof) and say that they couldn’t do something like that because they didn’t have the patience.

   Yet, it isn’t really “patience” per se that is required.  Like any task in this world, it is love and enjoyment of the task that keeps a person going, and whether you are a “journey” or a “destination” person.  I really enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles so the task was not daunting - in the sense of impossible - as I knew I WOULD finish it, and it is the challenge of the puzzle, not the completed puzzle that I get the most enjoyment from.

   The puzzle has now been taken apart and boxed up again so it can be passed onto someone else for them to enjoy.

    This is also a good time of year to remember that the Christmas season is a journey to enjoy, not a destination to reach and check off a list.  We wonder why life is going by so fast, could it be because we rush through our holidays and milestones in order to reach the next one?


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Wednesday, 13 December 2017


Life's problems wouldn't be called “hurdles”
 if there weren't a way to get over them.
 - Author Unknown

Monday, 11 December 2017

Let Go

Some times you have to let go to see
 if there was anything worth holding onto. 
- Author Unknown

Friday, 8 December 2017


Abandon the assumption that something is wrong
 if people are suffering...
A person's suffering or struggle doesn't make them broken...
just because you can't fix what you see...
doesn't mean you are broken.
 - Barbara De Angelis

Wednesday, 6 December 2017


The first ripple of love has to arise in your own heart. 
If it has not risen for yourself,
 it cannot rise for anybody else, 
because everybody else is farther away from you. 
It's like throwing a stone in the silent lake – 
the first ripples will arise around the stone and then
 they will go on spreading to the further shores. 
- Osho

Friday, 1 December 2017

December 1, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Sigh, it seems there are some misconceptions and rumours floating around about me that I  need to clarify.

   First, I have not quit the newspaper.  Which should be obvious as I am still the contact person, and I still write a blurb for this spot every issue. 

   That said, I have had to make changes in how I go about putting the paper together, and, the biggest change of all, is that I have had to get help with the twice-monthly deliveries as I am just not able to handle the physical effort on my own.  Even though I have had help, I have been along on every trip, in the car, giving directions.

   Unfortunately it doesn’t look like this situation will be changing any time soon, and, as I can’t always find someone available to spend the day with me, I can’t guarantee that I’ll always be able to get the print issues out to the communities in a timely manner.  The paper will be available online for sure.

   Second, I AM getting better, but “getting better” does not mean that I am cured, totally healthy, or that life is now back to normal.  FAR FROM IT!  All “getting better: means at this point in my life is that I am not loudly knocking on death’s door any more.  Thank goodness!  I still need loads of rest, I still need help doing things, and I am not supposed to have any stress - though I still haven’t figured out how to get around that one as just having a chronic illness is stressful enough, besides the stresses that result from not being able to do what you want, or need to do each day.

   I was told that I have been like a gas tank that is so empty and dry there aren’t even any fumes in there.  When I rest, and manage to get replenished, I act like I have a full tank, when in reality I may only have a few drops of gas, which are quickly used up.  Until I can get my tank filled up again, I am going to be limited as to what I can do on my own.

   Third, just because I am smiling doesn’t mean that everything is sunshine and roses in my life, because it is NOT!  I smile, because I am at heart basically a very happy person, and because smiling is the one thing I can do that doesn’t stress me out, or exhaust me within 10 or 15 minutes.  While there may be a smile on my face, the tears are a mere blink away and can fall at any time - and they do fall.

   My life changed in the past 5 years, and nothing is the same.


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Wednesday, 29 November 2017


Discomfort isn't always a sign 
that we're doing something wrong. 
If we're not uncomfortable, 
we're usually not growing.
 - Barbara De Angelis

Monday, 27 November 2017


It is only when we silence the blaring sounds
 of our daily existence that we can finally hear 
the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, 
as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.
 - KT Jong

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


Just because one door is closed 
doesn't mean all doors are closed. 
- Barbara De Angelis

Monday, 20 November 2017


Gratitude makes sense of our past, 
brings peace for today, 
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
 - Melody Beatie

Friday, 17 November 2017

November 17, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   When my sister and I were younger, our house was hit by lightning one night.  The lightning hit our TV aerial and travelled along the wiring, into the outlet cover was blown across the room, but the most freaky part of the whole thing was that the lightning went  horizontally into our metal TV stand just above all the LPs storied on the bottom shelf before it changed direction sharply and went straight up into the TV. 

   As a consequence of getting zapped, our colour TV became a black & white TV, except if we watched black and white movies - which always appeared in bright vivid colour.  Other than the quirk of the coloured vs black and white, and the odd loud snap and crackle when you least expected it (and the house was totally silent otherwise), the TV was fine so we didn’t get a new one, until it finally did bite the dust.

   After literally YEARS of watching the TV, and knowing that if we saw black and white it was really in colour, and visa versa, you’d think we wouldn’t have been surprised when we were able to watch shows and movies the way they were meant to be. 

   The first time we popped in the old John Wayne classic “Angel and the Badman” (VHS) to watch on our brand new TV we were sure that the TV, or the VCR, or both, were broken as the movie we were viewing was definitely black and white, and not in colour as it had always been every other time we viewed it. (It has since been updated in colour and newer releases on DVD are almost all in colour).

   We even scrutinized the video case in sheer disbelief to discover that the version we had was in fact a black and white movie.  As we sat there watching the movie we could remember the colour of each and every outfit and item of scenery, as well as the vivid blue of the sky! 

   Even though we had known in our minds that what we had been viewing before had been altered as it was being seen on a (for all intents and purposes broken) TV, that had been our “reality” for so long that when we saw it through a new lens (TV), it took a while to adjust.


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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Monday, 13 November 2017


There's a benefit to being na├»ve about the norms of the world –
 deciding from scratch what seems like the right thing to do, 
instead of just doing what others do.
 - Derek Sivers

Friday, 10 November 2017

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, 
not from persistently promoting what's not working.
 - Derek Sivers

Monday, 6 November 2017


If you're not making mistakes,
 then you're not making decisions.
 - Catherine Cook

Friday, 3 November 2017

November 3, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   As we make the transition to the season of winter, many of us just don’t feel the urge to move or exercise.   No need to feel guilty as this is a part of the natural cycle we go through, as do most mammals in our northern region, as our bodies slow down to conserve energy during the cold winter months of hibernation.

   Since humans don’t hibernate we need to maintain some level of activity, even in winter , in order to stay healthy.

   But, how much activity do we really need?  Articles, websites, books, and newcasts abound with various recommendations ranging from a mere 5 minute walk daily to an hour of intense activity daily.

   I recently read where NASA discovered - almost by accident - the condition that causes the greatest ageing and illness on our bodies is weightlessness (i.e. zero gravity), and the closest earthly equivalent to weightlessness is sitting or standing because gravity isn’t working on our bodies, other than to keep us earth-bound.

   Therefore, the best “exercise” is one that moves our bodies through gravity - not so much horizontally, but vertically, such as jumping and climbing.  Now, before you get too winded just thinking about that, the easiest way to move our bodies through gravity is to stand up from a sitting position and sit back down.  Doing that a minimum of 32 times during each day will do more for our overall health than most exercise.


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Wednesday, 1 November 2017


Do you really want to look back on your life
 and see how wonderful it could have been 
had you not been afraid to live it? 
- Caroline Myss

Monday, 30 October 2017


Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination, 
never limit others because of your own limited imagination.
 - Mae Jemison

Friday, 27 October 2017


The opposite of courage in our society
 is not cowardice, it is conformity.
 - Rollo May

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


If we gain something, it was there from the beginning. 
If we lose anything, it is hidden nearby.
 - Ryokan Taigu

Monday, 23 October 2017


There are many of us who are willing to do great things...
but few of us are willing to do little things.
 - Dwight L. Moody

Friday, 20 October 2017

October 20, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   How would you describe the course of your daily life?

   Some (myself included at times) would say it is a roller-coaster with dramatic ups and sometimes even more dramatic lows, with twists and turns, and unexpected moments that turn you completely upside down, but the biggest feature is that there is no speed control as you barrel along gong faster and faster.

   Others may describe their lives as a spiral which turns around and around, but you have no idea if you are going up or down, or both directions at the same time.

   Another favourite description is the hamster wheel, where you feel like you are running as fast as you can but you’re just spinning the wheel and going nowhere fast.

   And, we’re all familiar with the “so many steps forward, so many steps back” version - another one I’ve used often - which can either have slow forward motion or backward motion depending on which side of the equation has the larger number of steps.

   This summer I heard that it is healthier to live our lives as a lemniscate (aka sideways figure 8 or the infinity sign ).  It is the natural motion that bees, as well as other insects and animals, follow. 

   The lemniscate is a balanced symbol - there are no extremes, left and right are equal, one side isn’t longer than the other, the distance to the top and bottom are the same as from the middle to the outer sides, and while it appears that one is going over the same territory in a never-ending (infinite) loop, each time is different as a greater degree of balance, calmness and clarity are obtained.

   Walking in the lemniscate pattern provides a great meditation for mental, emotional and physical relaxation.  It is a pattern that just comes naturally to young children, so why do we forget it as adults?  

   Drawing a lemniscate with your finger over your heart, or around your eyes (circle each eye and cross at the bridge of your nose) is healing,  calming, and it relieves stress as it brings balance to the body and brain.


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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Friday, 13 October 2017


You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions...
The problem is you just don't see them.
 - Jay Abraham

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


Faith is willingness to take action
 on that which you can't see. 
- Author unknown

Monday, 9 October 2017


Make today so awesome, yesterday gets jealous.
 - Good Housekeeping magazine (September 2017)

Friday, 6 October 2017

October 6, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   How well are you able to handle change in your life?  Okay, now be TOTALLY honest - how well are you able to handle change in your life?  If we are honest, most of us resist change of any nature with every fibre of our being.

   We are entering a time when things are going to change for some communities.  Elections are on Monday, October 16, and the results will mean that changes are on the horizon.  Maybe the changes won’t be big, or overly dramatic, but there will be changes nonetheless, and the more we are able to accept them, whatever they are, the better.

   Incidentally, I can tell you some people can’t seem to handle that after ALMOST 16 YEARS, I updated my picture that goes beside my words.  If you can’t handle a small change that doesn’t affect you personally, how can you handle changes that do?  And quite truthfully, I have changed (aged) in those years, and I’m not 28 any more. ;)


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Wednesday, 4 October 2017


Magic happens/every moment/
you release fear/and trust the flow 
Your best self/will trust yourself/
to play the notes/you do not know 
- James McCrae

Friday, 29 September 2017


Your job is to protect your candle and keep the flame alive. 
It does not matter how many people 
see your candle or how big the light grows.
 The only thing that matters is that your flame always burns. 
The people who will benefit from your light will find you. 
You may wish you had a bigger candle, or you will be tempted
 to abandon your candle so you can bask in the light of another's. But, when you allow your truth to shine, everything you need
 is already within the flame of the candle you were given.
 - James McCrae

Wednesday, 27 September 2017


When a light beam shines on a surface, 
it shines without judgment or hesitation.
 If an object is placed on the floor and blocks the light's path,
 the light does not resist or resent the object. 
It continues to shine without judgment or hesitation 
on whatever it encounters with equal dedication. 
The light beam's nature is to shine. 
It does not concern itself with what it shines upon.
 - James McCrae

Monday, 25 September 2017


The planet doesn't need more “successful” people...
It needs people to live well in their places. 
- David Orr

Friday, 22 September 2017


All of the animals except for man 
know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it.
 - Samuel Butler

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Don't Fit

If you feel as if you don't fit into this world,
 it's because you're here to create a better one. 
- Author Unknown

Monday, 18 September 2017


Don't worry if a door doesn't open for you. 
It's not your door. 
- Colette Baron-Reid

Friday, 15 September 2017

September 15, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   It seems whenever elections of any nature, or level of government, come up, suddenly there are serious personality clashes that didn’t seem to exist before, and opponents do all they can to discredit the others running against them.

   So, it should be no surprise that we are seeing a number of politicians getting into trouble of some form or another, with the most recent being Strathmore MLA Derek Fildebrandt.  What makes his situation a bit more “severe” is that he was part of the Alberta Tax Payer’s Federation prior to being elected and is accused of activities similar to those he used to criticise other politicians of doing.  Some of his constituents feel betrayed and have adopted a “how the mighty have fallen” attitude.

   I don’t know Derek personally, nor do I know all the ins and outs of the situation, but rather than a case of the mighty falling, to me, it is just another example of how easy it is to criticize from the OUTSIDE when you don’t know exactly what’s going on INSIDE, for him and us.

   To some degree, we are all guilty of this.  We think we can run the government, or our local community organizations, much better than those who are currently doing the job.  We think we have the answers to fix our family’s, friends’ and neighbours’ lives, solving all their problems, whether we’ve been asked for our advice or not.

   While, it is true that an outside perspective can give valuable insight and clarity, and provide answers that those in the situation are too close to see, more often than not, those outside are missing vital information that only those on the inside are privy to, information that makes a significant difference to the situation at hand.

   Nomination Day for municipal elections is just around the corner, and if you are called to run, I strongly encourage you to do so.  However, it is very important that we have individuals running for our municipal councils who are willing to do the best for our communities, not individuals who think they can come from the outside and “fix” whatever they think needs fixed.  What we see from the outside is merely the tip of the iceberg of what is happening.


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Wednesday, 13 September 2017


It does not matter which way you choose. 
All that matters is that you start. 
Once you start, the doors crack open, slowly at first, 
and before long the mystery is revealed. 
Don't worry about getting lost. 
If your work is good, you are guaranteed to get lost. 
Give yourself space to wander. 
Wandering leads to wondering, 
and wondering leads to revelation. 
- James McCrae

Monday, 11 September 2017

Friday, 8 September 2017


If you're in hell, you might as well relax
 because relaxing will as least decrease your suffering. 
- Judith Orloff

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


You cannot seek water from the one who drained your seas, 
and you cannot build a home for your worth 
inside another being. The medicine is when you
 return to yourself, where you will remember
 your strength, reclaim your own rhythm,
 and write your new song.
 - Victoria Erickson

Monday, 4 September 2017


Limitations live only in our minds. 
But if we use our imaginations, 
our possibilities become limitless.
 - Jamie Paolinetti

Friday, 1 September 2017

September 1, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Last week we experienced a solar eclipse.  For some locations in the United States, it was a total eclipse, here in Central Alberta the sun was only partially covered, yet at the peak of the eclipse, there was a noticeable dimming of the sunlight.

   While we are now “enlightened” enough as a society to realize that an eclipse is not a catastrophic event that means the world is about to suddenly come to an end, I noticed, leading up to the actual eclipse, lots of comments and concern expressed about the various “shadow” events occurring around our world in the past few weeks.

   One thing that the solar eclipse showed us, is that while the moon may have covered the sun for a moment in time, it had no effect on the sun at all.  The sun continued to shine brightly that day and didn’t dim or hide itself.  The moon, nor clouds for that matter, can really prevent the sun from shining.  Any dimming or hiding of the sun is only from our PERSPECTIVE, it doesn’t in any way reflect reality.  No matter how dark the day, or even how dark the night, the sun continues to shine ceaselessly, and manages to appear yet again in our sky.

   And, it may appear, from our limited perspectives, that the “shadows” are getting bigger and bigger in our world, however, we can’t let that discourage us, or cause us to become so fearful that we stop bringing love, kindness, and compassion to all those we encounter on a daily basis.  The shadows only dim us if we choose to let them.  What is going on around us should not prevent us from bringing our best selves, and best efforts, forward.  If anything, it should encourage us to shine even MORE brightly.    

   I was reminded last week, and shared in conversation with others...the brighter the light shining, the bigger the shadows, so all the shadows are showing us is proof that we ARE shining brighter and brighter as we each bring more light to our corner of the world.

   And it is the light that holds the true power, not the shadow.


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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Monday, 28 August 2017


Running from a problem is like running from a mirror
 because we don't like the unhappy face in the reflection. 
We can run to a different mirror but will continue to see 
the same face until we stop running and choose to smile. 
The mirror changes when we do.
 - James McCrae

Friday, 25 August 2017


From the outside, the answer is simple: 
just shut up and do it...
Questions are funny because the answer
 appears difficult to anyone who has them 
and appears easy to anyone who does not. 
- Mark Manson

Wednesday, 23 August 2017


If someone is better than you at something, 
then it is likely because she has failed at it more than you have.
 If someone is worse than you,
 it's likely because he hasn't been through all 
of the painful learning experiences you have...
We can be truly successful only at something 
we are willing to fail at. 
If we're unwilling to fail,
 then we're unwilling to succeed. 
- Mark Manson

Monday, 21 August 2017


For any change to happen in your life,
 you must be wrong about something.
 - Mark Manson

Friday, 18 August 2017

August 18, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   I once had a friend express that she was glad to know I got angry after I’d totally erupted in a public venue.  I, on the other hand, was surprised that she would even consider that I DIDN’T get angry, because I most certainly do, and I definitely express it, though not always publicly, yet just often enough to get me into trouble.

   As well, I found some of the reactions to my recent makeover to be in that same category.  One person actually said they were surprised to see me wearing a dress?!?!  Now, THAT should NOT have been a surprise to anyone who knows me in the slightest!

   So, why these reactions?  It seems to be a case of people only seeing me, or interacting with me, in a particular setting or circumstance.  Or, else they just aren’t paying attention.

   Just because you, in particular, have never seen me angry, doesn’t automatically mean I don’t get angry.  Just because you, in particular, haven’t seen me wearing a specific item of clothing, doesn’t automatically mean that I don’t.  And, more important, just because you, in particular, have seen me act or dress in a certain way, doesn’t automatically mean I ONLY act or dress that way.

  While we humans are multi-faceted, our interactions with the people around aren’t always.  We tend to make assumptions about what we think we know about others, and then it is so easy, and very tempting, to look at them as equivalent to cardboard cut-outs - in a static state, never changing. We often do this with people we have limited contact with, but we can even do this with close family members.

   But, life doesn’t work that way.  We have many sides and aspects to our personalities that may, or may not, be expressed depending on the situations we find ourselves in.  As well, we are always changing - even if we don’t think we are - and we bring those cumulating changes into each and every interaction we have with the people around us.  

   As much as we think we know the various people in our lives, we may not know them as well as we think we do.


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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Monday, 14 August 2017

You versus

If it feels like it's you versus the world, 
chances are it's really just you versus yourself.
 - Mark Manson

Friday, 11 August 2017


Life is essentially an endless series of problems...
The solution to one problem
 is merely the creation of the next one...
hope for a life full of good problems.
 - Mark Manson

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


[Move] lightly despite your heavy burdens,
 [rest] easier with your greatest fears,
 [laugh] at your tears as you cry them. 
- Mark Manson

Monday, 7 August 2017


Chaos is not a bad thing. 
Chaos stirs things up like wind...
it helps things move along. 
- Colette Baron-Reid

Friday, 4 August 2017

August 4, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   What side are you on?  Are you sure?  Do you even know?

   There as been a lot, and I mean a LOT of media coverage of late surrounding Omar Khadr, who, let me remind you, is a Canadian citizen who, as a minor, ended up in a war situation and survived.  Truly, that is his ONLY crime - he survived the war.

   Now, no matter what your personal feelings are about him and his situation, I would also like to remind you that there was a war going on, and Omar was fighting for the wrong side...or was he?

   That is where things get tricky, and we don’t like to admit that life isn’t as black and white as we portray it, because that REALLY shakes up our sense of right and wrong.

   A war means there are two (at least) sides fighting each other.  So who is the enemy?  We say it was the other side.  But….

   Not so fast.  The Canadians, Americans, and British were not fighting on home soil, so they were foreigners.  We were interlopers in a conflict that was already in progress.  Plus, how many local civilians did our armies end up killing, even by accident, because it was a war situation? 

   Hmmmm, that almost sounds like it could be a definition of an enemy, doesn’t it?  Because it doesn’t matter what side the soldiers are fighting for, or what justifications are used (fighting to impose our values on others doesn’t mean our values are right, or are even wanted by others), to a local civilian, the soldiers are the enemy if they endanger the civilian’s life, the lives of family and neighbours, home, and livelihood.

   In a war situation, which is horrific beyond belief, there are too many casualties, and untold destruction, caused by both sides.  Soldiers on all sides are merely doing their job, and fighting as they are trained to do.  One side is no more completely innocent than the other side is completely guilty.

   So, either EVERY single soldier, of every rank, on BOTH sides is punished because they are ALL guilty of fighting, or...none are. 

   Because, at the end of the day, there are no winners in a war.


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Wednesday, 2 August 2017


Attempt things you are not sure you can accomplish: 
if you are certain you can do a thing,
 this means that there is little to no point in actually doing it. 
The reason you're sure you can do it is
 that you or someone else has already done it...
It is much more exciting, thus creatively energizing
 if you are attempting something where you are 
uncertain of its outcome, where you don't know
 if it will work or not.
 - Alan Moore

Monday, 31 July 2017

Friday, 28 July 2017

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


We can achieve a degree of importance
 by expressing ourselves in the medium
 which best suits our particular talents. 
- Lajos Egri

Monday, 24 July 2017


I always tell the truth. 
Then I don't have to remember what I said.
 - Author Unknown