Being nice.  It should be easy, an unconscious reaction to people and places.  I don’t mean being polite – I mean being a nice person, a good, look-for-the-best member of society.

I’m not nice.

I’m friendly, quick to put myself on the line to make new friends.  I can small talk and chat and smile along with conversation.  But I’m also the first to jump at mean-spirited gossip.  I’m the first to gibe, and barb and tease.  The first to be snotty and catty.  And the first to cry when someone is mean to me back.

My niceness has been called into question quite a lot lately.  By those who are closest to me.  And it really hurts.  The truth hurts.  I’m not a very nice person.

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What is Canadian Internet?

I decided that for a month I will use only “Canadian internet” And so, my year of Canadianness reaches its crescendo this month with all-Canuck Internet use.

What do we mean when we say “the Canadian Internet”? It’s a good question. Do we mean websites that are hosted in Canada? Probably not, because many Canadian companies, media organizations, and blogs host their so-called ‘Canadian content’ on computers that are physically in the United States or elsewhere. Rather stupidly, when I set up this site, I added it to my existing set of sites hosted by the good Americans at Laughing Squid.

Others have pointed out that I shouldn’t use Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or dozens of other sites because they’re American. This seems overly reductive. The computers that host these sites, and the sites and services themselves are the infrastructure of the web. I don’t require that Canadian music be recorded through Canadian soundboards and played on Canadian speakers (if I did, it would have been a quiet year), so I don’t think I should ban myself from these services. Continue reading

My Beef with Dora

I have something I need to say.  This really bothers me, and I’m just not sure there’s a solution.  It’s been weighing on me for a while, and I need to get it off my chest.

Dora and Swiper really bother me.

Wait, that’s not earth-shattering news?  Dora’s ear-splitting voice is pretty obnoxious for a lot of people out there.  If you’re like me, you’ll do pretty much anything to get out of watching Dora – including tuning in to Strawberry Shortcake instead. *Shudder*

Dora’s voice and the stupidity of the plot are annoying, it’s true.  But is an aspect of the show that is almost sinister: the lack of true role models.

Let’s start with Swiper.  Why is it that we have to tell Swiper not to swipe three times before he’ll listen?  And when he doesn’t listen, why aren’t there any repercussions for his actions?  I struggle with this, as Laura is a typical little kid – who often doesn’t listen to what she’s told.

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No Apologies

I took Laura to Panera for dinner on Monday, because I thought she might like to use the free WiFi for a little Diego fix.  I was all pumped up on “AWESOME MOM” vibes as we hauled our gear to a booth and set up shop.  “Laura is so going to love me for this!  Yay, Diego for making me look awesome!”

And then Laura proceeded to not care a lick for her lover boy, preferring instead to push a gazillion buttons and open and shut the screen over and over.  The more I tried to get her to stop banging on the precious laptop, the harder she banged, and the more frustrated I became.

At that point, I was starting to get all worried and self-conscious of the staring eyes of the other diners.  I imagined them scorning my parenting, “Why can’t she get that little brat to stop yelling and banging?”  In my embarrassed frustration, I whisked the laptop away from the exuberant tot and started trying to collect myself.

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Am I Wrong?

Laura is a small child.  She’s in the 20th percentile for height and weight – and has been since she was six months old.  She’s perfectly healthy.  Perfectly!  She just happens to be smaller than 80% of children her age on average.  Averages have highs and lows on both ends, which is how we come to create averages.  So just being a little smaller on average does not make Laura unhealthy in any way.

So it really bothers me when family obsessively discusses Laura’s small build.  Last time I checked, having a healthy, active and lean child was a good thing.  So why does everyone want to Laura to plump up?

I have had body image issues almost my whole life.  I didn’t recognize my skewed feelings about my body until college when I was 104 pounds soaking wet.  When I realized it then, I felt all the memories of self-disgust woosh in and slap me in the face.

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Hurricane Proofing

I’ve seen my share of hurricanes in my day. At age 3, Hurricane Elena hovered over my family’s then-home in Tampa, FL, for days while my parents were away on a vacation. My grandmother set up our Hurricane Headquarters in the central bathroom. It was at the center of the house with no windows, and made a perfect fort for a three-year-old with her seven-year-old brother. We had a sleeping bag in the tub, apple juice under the counter, and played hour upon hour of “pirate.” It was the best week of my toddler life.

Fast-forward six years to Hurricane Bob in 1991. My mom was due with baby #4 at the beginning of September, so she cut short our annual stay at the summer home on the Cape. My grandmother (the same as above) didn’t think it was fair for me to go home two whole weeks early, so she convinced my mom to let me stay on the Cape with her and my great-grandmother (who owned the house). I was psyched! A whole two weeks with the grammys! It was going to be awesome.

I was even more excited when I heard Hurricane Bob was barreling towards us. My mom swore she’d never leave me with my grandmother again (but she did). I had a sweet set-up in the corner of the kitchen, snuggled in a sleeping bag surrounded by cookies and some new books. And I had a perfect view of the old oak tree as it crashed down onto the house. No injuries, but we were without power for the remainder of that vacation. We had a gas stove and food in the freezer that needed cooking. I stayed up with the Grammies, talking by candlelight of their childhoods. I’ll never have another week like that in my life. Hundreds of games of cards and priceless memories.

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Summer of Classics: Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe.  What a book!  I have read some dense stuff in my time (Tolstoy, Dickens, all of the Bronte’s, Seuss), and nothing comes close to Ivanhoe.

The back of my copy (because we all scour the back for details, right?) claims that the author, Sir Walter Scott, is “the father of the historical novel.”  He had to have earned that “sir” somehow!  But truly, this really did read like something ground-breaking.  As if no other novel had existed before Ivanhoe.

It was published in 1819 (long, long ago), and takes place during the Crusades (long, long, LONG ago).  So the book is written in a very Old English form (thou dost!) from a very Georgian Era standpoint.  Which means I sometimes had difficulty digesting the actual language.

My difficulty in actually reading the book did not detract from my enjoyment of the plot.  Ivanhoe is another action-adventure book on my Summer of Classics book list.  But this one was so chivalrous.  Which makes sense, since the main characters are knights in shining armor rescuing damsels in distress.  Many characters are in disguise.  All of them are memorable.  Hi there, Friar Tuck!  Why hello, Robin Hood!

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What diet use these supermodels

There are many supermodel diets out there to try, and we have compiled the best ones into this article. Supermodels tend to be linked with bad press concerning crash dieting and anorexia.

However, there are some sensible diets out there used by many models in order to keep them looking great for the catwalk in a healthy and rational way. These are the ones we will present here.

So rest assured you won’t get an eating disorder from trying these. You won’t make yourself ill or gain more weight when you come back off the diet. These tips are more to do with healthy lifestyles.


Halle Berry is known to be on the ‘little and often’ diet. This consists of swapping the ingestion of three large meals each day for five or six small ones.

This is scientifically proven to raise metabolism and insulin levels which control appetite in a healthy yet effective way.

Eating regularly reduces your levels of hunger, this means that you are not craving food like you would on some diets. You burn food faster and fat too and you can eat a wide variety of food.


Naomi Campbell is rumored to stick to a slightly higher protein intake than the recommended daily allowance. This helps you to feel full after eating. However it is not a good idea to eat a lot of protein as in large amounts you will gain weight – you need to get the right balance.

She no longer consumes alcohol or drugs due to the bad effects it has on her image, body, and weight.


Some celebrities that allegedly to stick to supermodel diet tips are the likes of Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez, and Reese Witherspoon. Each is known for their cardio workout and/or weight resistance regimes which leave them both in great shape and physically fit.