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Health and humanism

There are a lot of labels out there on which I could hang my belief system, but let's call it humanism. Who can argue with a human being, being a humanist? Richard Dawkins has ruined atheist for some of us, skeptic feels like an anti-something rather than a...

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Hiatus

Today's the last day to bid on items in the TV, eh? charity auction in support of Kids Help Phone, a free, anonymous and confidential phone and on-line professional counselling service for youth. The auction of television memorabilia and experiences ends today at 6 pm...

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Shop til you drop? Is dropping … good?

'Tis the season we're asked incessantly "are you done your Christmas shopping yet?" My unintentionally sanctimonious answer is I'm not doing Christmas shopping this year. I'm somewhat opting out of a holiday I've never particularly loved and love less now, but I'm...

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You posts your vacations and you takes your chance

When I was in grade seven, seven people died in Chicago from taking Tylenol that had been laced with potassium cyanide somewhere along the distribution chain. My not-well-loved social studies teacher used the incident as the starting point of a discussion about our...

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Everything’s better with robots

"I'd never get a tattoo. There's nothing I'd want on my body forever -- I'd change my mind after a week. Plus, I don't like pain." I've said that at least a few times in my life, and it was absolutely true. Until it wasn't. Yes, I got a tattoo today. I didn't exactly...

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Beyond a poppy

When I was growing up, I believed Remembrance Day was about the World Wars, about remembering history so as not to repeat it. Vietnam was the recent past, and Korea was in there somewhere. But school focused on the "big ones," and many of us had grandparents who...

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Coffee, TV or Me

Two unrelated features in the news have been swirling around in my brain like, say, a cup of hot coffee. That somehow entered my brain. Never mind. 1. The New York Times is running a fascinating series looking back at stories in the news and how they were reported --...

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Yoga for the klutzy skeptic

One of the items on my not-a-bucket-list (which I've since realized everyone else on the Internet calls a life list, but that seems a little too on-the-nose) was finding a place to practice yoga that didn't "namaste or Lululemon me to eyerolling death." I seem to have...

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Dreaming big and little with Airbnb

My favourite was the treehouse on Whidbey Island. Not just a tiny house in a tree, it had a giant tree growing through the middle of its one octagon-ish room, a bachelor apartment in the sky. My wish list on Airbnb is full of unusual micro dwellings, partly for the...

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Postcard story: Help

The rambling old house was the prettiest house she’d ever lived in, of all the houses of all the relatives who had taken her in. It was right on the Bow River, no fence or anything; the long back yard just suddenly dropped off to become rushing water. “Don’t you ever...

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Miss Taken: I am woman hear me … self-deprecate?

For one of our first outings together, my Little Sister proposed swimming. Outside Me said "sure" and Googled the nearest swimming pools. Inside Me said "argh!" and wondered if a burkini would be overkill. Of course I have body image issues -- how sad is it that I...

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“Before that I don’t die”?

My email today contained one of those random nostalgic gifts our social media-connected world sometimes brings. My high school French teacher was going through poems she'd kept and found one of mine from grade 11, so she passed it back to me with some kind words. I'm...

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Not a bucket list

  A year ago today I lost the most important person in the world to me. I wasn't sure if I'd want to mark the anniversary, because every day is marked. Every day I think of him. I find comfort in nurturing the parts of me that were also part of him. In the wise words...

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Quotable Lonely Planet’s Iceland

Some of my favourite bits of my favourite brand of guidebook for my favourite 22-days-away holiday destination: "Immense glaciers and wiggling fjords, unspoiled wilderness areas ripe for exploration, a clean and icy sea where humpback whales surface, roll and dive...

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Why Iceland’s cool

The countdown is on: 46 days until my long-delayed vacation to Iceland. And 46 more days of fielding the question "Why Iceland?" It's become a popular destination -- my flight sold out though I'm travelling in shoulder season -- but I guess I shouldn't be surprised by...

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Interview with author/actor Quinn Cummings

This weekend I got to interview Quinn Cummings; the archive of our talk is below. I first "met" Quinn via Twitter where she expanded my vocabulary and exposed herself as a fellow cat magnet and admitter of awkward acts. She also happens to be an Oscar-nominated...

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Be kind, refined

David Foster Wallace's This is Water gave the broad perspective of living a life of empathy and compassion, and the Cleveland Clinic -- who do some amazing things in healthcare communications -- puts it in action in a hospital setting with this powerful video ... the...

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Yay! Science!

I don't like a lot of clutter on my fridge but I do have a few magnets I love. Bonus: one holds tickets to the next event I'm attending, and one covers a mysterious dent in the stainless steel that was either caused by a visitor's bike or Foster my fat cat trying to...

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Video: Happiness is meaningless

How's that for an optimistic title? What Daniel Kahneman actually says in his TED talk is "Happiness is not a useful word anymore.” Kahneman is considered the founder of behavioral economics (that's the same field as the guy I often refer to as my braincrush, Dan...

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The secret handshake

  If you read my last post, you'll know that I struggle to express ideas precisely and am frequently frustrated knowing that my listeners are hearing something different, because I'm not good at that precision, because they're bringing their own experiences and...

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