The Quick Brown Fiox

Three free contests, for past loves, short fiction collections, and essays about effective leadership

Spruce Mountain Press Past Loves free contest: Nearly everyone has memories of a former sweetheart. Write your true story of an earlier love, in no more than 700 words. Tell us about someone whose memory brings a smile or a tear, or both. 700 words maximum. 
Deadline September 17. Guidelines here.

The Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award for a collection of short stories.
Eligibility: Any writer who has not previously published a volume of prose fiction is eligible to enter the competition.
The manuscript must be a collection of short stories in English of at least 150 word-processed, double-spaced pages. We do not accept e-mail submissions. Mail only. The manuscript may include a cover page, contents page, etc., but these are not required. The author's name can be on every page but this is not required. Stories previously published in periodicals are eligible for inclusion. This is a free contest. There is no reading fee.
Articles of Faith by Elizabeth Oness,
a former award winner
Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press's standard contract.
Deadline: September 30. Guidelines here.

WOLFoundation runs an annual competition looking for the best non-technical, English language writing on any themes related to political/social/environmental issues. The theme for the 2014 competition is "Leadership: What are the characteristics of effective leadership for the 21st Century?" 
You can submit essays or short stories, factual commentary or fiction – whichever way and whichever writing style you choose to communicate your ideas. Just make it compelling.
The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $1,500. A further $500 will be awarded to the second placed entry.
Shortlisted entries may be published as a book of collected essays.
Deadline: September 30. Guidelines here.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Oakville, Orillia, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Toronto, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond. 

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 12:04 pm


Photo-mystère 121

Qui est cette jolie cavalière?

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 11:53 pm

Other Food - Daily Devotions

Who do we fear?

Shiphrah & Puah - Artist unknown
Shiphrah & Puah - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 1:1-22

"The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live." Exodus 1:17

These Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, were doing a brave, maybe even foolhardy thing by saving the lives of newborn boys in the face of Pharaoh's command. But then, as we see the God they feared in action, we realize they were doing a very sensible thing (remarkable about their respect for God: they spared these babies even before God showed His power in the plagues of Egypt and the miracles of the desert).

I think about their stand and I see a lesson in it for me, perhaps for all of us. As our society drifts ever farther from Christian principles, I can imagine scenarios where we might need to take similar stands against our society's laws and social pressures.

For example, a few weeks ago a same-sex couple made local news when they broadcast the fact that the extended family of the baby they were set to adopt withdrew their consent for the baby's adoption because the family didn't want it to be raised by a same-sex couple. Though the family was legally allowed to do this, their actions were labelled homophobic. One of the rejected partners mused about solving such situations with legislation.

The family's stand made me ask myself, what would I have done? It's a valid question, for I believe it will be just a matter of time before the rights of Canadians (and other western, supposedly freedom-of-religion cultures) to express religious convictions in ways that go against the grain of culture, will be illegal.

I submit the answer to how we would react will always be based on who we fear more—God, who has expressed His attitude toward homosexuality and a myriad other things in His word, or the society in which we live?

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me live my life for Your eyes, respecting and lining up my life with what You approve more than what society approves. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Posted on 22 August 2014 | 5:00 am

Anglican Samizdat

Richard Dawkins thinks it is immoral to allow Down’s syndrome babies to be born

From here: Richard Dawkins, the atheist writer, has claimed it is “immoral” to allow unborn babies with Down’s syndrome to live. Having finally noticed about himself what others have known for years, he went on to say: “Apparently I’m a … Continue reading

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Posted on 20 August 2014 | 9:50 pm


Better to Continue with Walking or Nordic Walking

My flu is already getting better. I have been thinking to walk or Nordic walk tomorrow if I have time. The hunting season is starting tomorrow in Finland and my husband is going to hunt ducks so I'm alone with the kids whole day so probably I still have to wait a day.



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Posted on 19 August 2014 | 2:18 pm

After the Kids leave

Travelling Scotland by train

Dear Karen, In 2011, Lars and I went to Scotland for the first time.  We decided to spend a few days seeing the countryside by train, so I booked us passage on the Royal Scotsman, which is run by Simplon Orient Express. It was very luxurious.  It was also pretty boozy.  If you didn’t have […]

The post Travelling Scotland by train appeared first on After the Kids Leave.

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 12:12 am

Buzz Feed

17 Reasons Nick Miller From "New Girl" Would Be The Best Best Friend

Yes, it is perfectly fine to watch TV all day.

He makes great innuendoes.

He makes great innuendoes.

Fox / Via

He's honest with himself.

He's honest with himself.

Fox / Via

He isn't overly complicated.

He isn't overly complicated.

Fox / Via

He's the master of pep talks.

He's the master of pep talks.

Fox / Via

View Entire List ›

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 4:01 pm

How to survive life in the suburbs

The Dark Side Of Cottage Country: WW

No Dumping?  The people are not listening.  PS.  the dump was very, very smelly.  My SassySis and I did not enjoy that particular odour! I hope you enjoyed this “almost” Wordless Wednesday!  Please leave a comment below and feel free to link up your Wordless Wednesday’s in the linky below.

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Posted on 19 August 2014 | 9:46 pm

Progressive Bloggers

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Summer reading: Command and Control

From the blurb:

“Written with the vibrancy of a first-rate thriller, Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than fifty years.  It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policymakers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can’t be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked (Read more…)

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Posted on 22 August 2014 | 6:00 am

Bird Droppings

Still wondering who the bad guys are?

      If you're having trouble telling the good guys from the bad guys in the complicated world of global conflict and geo-politics, here's a hint: the people who saw other people's heads off with a combat knife and upload the videos on YouTube are the bad guys. 
     For the better part of a dozen years, there's been a widely-shared consensus that gray areas in western (i.e. American) foreign policy and military and intelligence tactics preclude the simplistic notion of white hats and black hats - a sentiment that gains credibility when the supposed good guys invade sovereign countries under false pretenses, torture suspects for information and violate their own citizens' right to privacy.  But the butchers representing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are shining horrible light on the fundamentals of the post-9/11 struggle.  
     The videotaped beheading this week of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by the forces of the ISIS was only the latest shocking reminder of what Islamic jihad - or Holy War - stands for. The ISIS agenda, which they themselves faithfully document in gory detail on social media, is one of unapologetic and unremitting slaughter and destruction, and they pursue it fanatically - to the point where they've been disowned by Al-Qaeda.  Think about that. The people who flew commercial airliners loaded with passengers and aviation fuel into office towers teeming with unsuspecting people starting their work day are unsettled and alienated by the extremism of ISIS.
     If any good can come of the cruel, calculated murder of James Foley, it's that the moral equivalency crowd should finally understand that no matter how misleading or suspect American military and intelligence policy might be, it's being conducted on a war footing and is predicated on securing and protecting western interests and values from something far more insidious and evil.  
     Even if you're still not clear whose side you're on, it's abundantly clear who's on your side.

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 6:52 pm

Trashys World

There are some quality candidates…

… vying for Liberal Party nominations. My political junkiness kicks into high gear usually about 12-18 months ahead of a projected election date. I love elections. And I love the processes and machinations leading up to them. Although it has been an unbelievable (literally and figuratively… which you’ll understand if you know me personally) summer, I have […]

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Posted on 7 August 2014 | 1:10 pm

The Galloping Beaver

A great artist . . .

MEL BLANC: The Man of a Thousand Voices is a delightful look at the man, the times he worked in — and all those wonderful critters. Enjoy. A great antidote for the depression of Harper Hell . . .

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Posted on 17 August 2014 | 12:03 pm

Michael Geist

How Canada Shaped the Copyright Rules in the EU Trade Deal

In late December 2009, Wikileaks, the website that publishes secret government information, posted a copy of the draft intellectual property chapter of the Canada - European Trade Agreement (CETA). The CETA deal was still years from completion, but the leaked document revealed that the European Union envisioned using the agreement to mandate a massive overhaul of Canadian law.

The leak generated concern among many copyright watchers, but when a German television station leaked the final text of the agreement last week, it contained rules that largely reflect a "made-in-Canada" approach. Why the near-complete reversal in approach on one of the most contentious aspects of a 500 page treaty?

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the starting point for copyright in CETA as reflected in 2009 leaked document was typical of European demands in its trade agreements. It wanted Canada to extend the term of copyright to life of the author plus 70 years (Canada is currently at the international standard of life plus 50 years), adopt tough new rules for Internet provider liability, create criminal sanctions for some copyright infringement, implement new rights for broadcasters and visual artists, introduce strict digital lock rules with minimal exceptions, and beef up enforcement powers. In other words, it was looking for Canada to mirror its approach on copyright.

The post How Canada Shaped the Copyright Rules in the EU Trade Deal appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 9:33 am

Montreal Simon

Julian Fantino and the Continuing Con War on Canadian Veterans

I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of Julian Fantino running away from the wife of a wounded veteran who just wanted to speak to him.

And how Jenifer Migneault finally threw up her arms in frustration and despair and shouted at the retreating minister:

"We are NOTHING to you."

It was so powerful, it stunned me like a concussion grenade.

And how right she was.

For what else is anybody supposed to conclude from this disgusting situation? 
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Posted on 20 August 2014 | 3:08 am

Ghost of a Flea

Douglas Adams' Last TV Interview

This is the entire raw tape, shot May 2001 in San Francisco....

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Posted on 20 August 2014 | 9:48 am

The Disaffected Lib

Harper's War on Charities is a War on All of Us

Never underestimate the scope and impact of the Harper regime's war to gag our charities. Oxford student and 2013 Rhodes Scholar, Joanne Cave writes in today's Times Colonist that the use of the CRA cudgel to silence charities by Harper & just the tip of the iceberg.

The recent Canada Revenue Agency crackdown on everyone from Pen Canada to Oxfam — noting, quite appallingly, that “preventing poverty” isn’t an appropriate charitable aim after all — has Canada’s charitable sector wondering: When is enough, enough?

And if you think the issues facing charities aren’t relevant to your life, think again — your local museum, soccer club, Alzheimer’s day program and national park preservation committee are likely registered charities.

The fear-mongering culture created by such frequent political audits is, unfortunately, only the tip of the iceberg in how Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has approached its relationship with the charitable sector. Prior to the 2010 G8 Summit, at which maternal health was a critical part of the agenda, federal funding for 11 Canadian women’s organizations was cut due to their pro-choice advocacy. Similar restraints have been placed on organizations in immigrant settlement services, environment and climate change advocacy and anti-poverty.

While compliance with the CRA’s 10 per cent threshold for advocacy activities is important to prevent abuses to the system, such an audit culture drains the resources of small organizations and paralyzes their participation in the political process. I donate to charities, as do many other Canadians, because I want them to take a stand on issues I believe in.

Federal funding, when it is available, is often short-lived for Canadian charities. Under Harper’s government, charities can increasingly get only project-based funding rather than ongoing, and decidedly less sexy, core organizational funding that enables long-term sustainability. By refusing to fund charitable organizations long-term, we assume that services such as food banks, counselling services, support groups and assisted recreation programs are not integral to the fabric of our society. 

This creates what is often described as a “shadow state” in social policy — when government downloads the provision of services to charitable organizations as arm’s-length partners and uses policies, such as CRA’s political audit crackdown, to limit their independence and constrain their ideological stances. It paralyzes innovation, muzzles healthy political discourse and disrespects the fundamental role of charities in supporting our country’s most disadvantaged communities.

The women’s sector — with which I am most familiar — is still reeling from policy and funding changes imposed several years ago. These changes included the elimination of a $1-million independent research fund on women’s issues, the restriction of all advocacy and legal reform activities for grant recipients (e.g. a women’s shelter advocating on issues pertaining to violence against women) and the removal of the word “equality” from the funding program’s goals.

The CRA’s expanding audit culture is leading charities in a similar direction, but creates a confusing paradox: If charities can’t advocate on the issues that mandate their existence in the first place (a preventive approach) and can’t expect long-term government funding (a reactive approach), where will change come from?

This kind of audit culture actively prevents the civic participation our democracy relies upon, silences the organizations we care about most and forces our thriving charitable sector to become unfairly apolitical. If this frustrates you, donate to charities whose advocacy activities you believe in as a sign of solidarity and support.

Charities, you’re not alone. 

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Posted on 19 August 2014 | 3:07 pm

De Smog Blog

Advertising Watchdog Says Peabody Energy 'Clean Coal' Advert Was Misleading

CLEAN COAL, it's the two-word catch phrase the coal industry has used for years as it tries to convince the world its climate changing energy source has a future.

While the term “clean coal” is rightly met with ridicule and derision by many, up until this week it has been allowed to stand — at least in the world of advertising.

But now the UK’s advertising authorities have told Peabody Energy that it can no longer freely dangle its “clean coal” mythology in front of consumers without explaining itself.

The advert, devised by global PR agency Burson-Marsteller, claimed that Peabody was using “today’s clean coal technologies” to “improve emissions”.

In an adjudication, the Advertising Standards Authority said:

Notwithstanding the fact that “clean coal” had a meaning within the energy sector, we considered that without further information, and particularly when followed by another reference to “clean, modern energy”, consumers were likely to interpret the word ”clean” as an absolute claim meaning that “clean coal” processes did not produce CO2 or other emissions. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.

The ASA said that the complainant, environment group WWF, had argued the term “clean coal” was misleading and that it “implied that the advertiser's impact on the environment was less damaging than was actually the case”.

Peabody Energy's 'misleading' advert

Tony Long, director of WWF European Policy Office, said: “Companies trading and selling polluting energies have a responsibility to be open and honest about their activities and products. The last thing they should be doing is trying to claim spurious environmental benefits from coal consumption. This merely damages the already tarnished reputation

of a struggling sector.”

WWF said Peabody, the world’s biggest privately-owned coal company,  should “take the ASA ruling seriously” and the group said it would be monitoring media for other examples of misleading adverts.

The advert was part of Peabody Energy’s “Advanced Energy for Life” campaign that aims to take a moral high ground by claiming coal is a key to ending “energy poverty” in developing countries. The advert showed images of children in poverty-stricken circumstances.

WWF had also challenged a claim in the advert that “energy poverty is the world's number one human and environmental crisis”, but ASA rejected these complaints, saying:

We understood that, in this regard, Peabody Energy considered that they were working towards a solution to energy poverty which, although differing from WWF's understanding of best practice, would nonetheless provide sources of energy to those populations that did not currently have reliable access. Although we appreciated that the use of coal-based energy to do this may be contentious, we did not consider that the ad was misleading by implying that Peabody Energy was attempting to find a solution to global energy poverty or by omitting information about the potential negative effects of coal-powered energy production.

A statement from Peabody said it “applauded” the ASA for standing by its claims to want to use coal to end “energy poverty”.

Peabody has now added a footnote in small print to the advert. Bloomberg reported Peabody was “confident” this tweak would satisfy the advertising watchdogs.

The “Advanced Energy for Life” campaign has a website targeting China, the US and Australia and was developed by Burson-Marsteller, one of the biggest PR firms in the world.

Burson-Marsteller has worked with the tobacco industry, aided governments with questionable human rights records and helped Union Carbide spin the aftermath of its infamous Bhopal poisonous gas explosion that killed thousands and injured many more.

The claim that coal burning should not be restricted because it can help lift poor nations from poverty has been an increasingly popular line from coal bosses across the world. Climate science deniers at the last major United Nations climate negotiations in Warsaw claimed coal was the “moral choice”

The argument is also a favourite of Danish poilitical scientist Bjorn Lomborg, as outlined here on my Planet Oz blog for The Guardian.

Earlier this week, Australia’s public broadcaster the ABC screened an episode of its investigative current affairs program Four Corners looking at the impact of coal on the Great Barrier Reef. In the program, the country’s environment minister Greg Hunt equated stopping massive coal export projects to “condemning people to poverty”. 

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 5:00 pm


2014 NBA Draft Profile: Dante Exum

While others tried to showcase skills and become a recognizable face to those that cover the league for the media, Exum's agent chose to keep his client a mystery, eliminating the opportunity for scouts to see how he compared to the rest of the rookie class. The mystique strategy appeared to be nothing more than an attempt to get drafted very high based on stats earned in an environment considered inferior to the D-League.

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Posted on 20 August 2014 | 11:13 pm

North by East West

Absolutely Free Announce Debut Album, Share Free MP3

Toronto’s Absolutely Free have announced that they will release their self-titled debut on Arts & Crafts on October 14. To celebrate, they’ve shared a free stream of the first single ‘Beneath the Air’; The eight track effort finds the band honing and expanding their sound, incorporating new analog electronics, African polyrhythms, psychedelia, and hints of Bollywood
read more

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Posted on 7 August 2014 | 8:36 pm

Canadian Living

9 great Canadian day trips

Escape the city's hustle and bustle for a day with these nine great day trips across Canada.

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 12:00 am

Pro Woman Pro Life

“Pro-Choicers Are Doing Our Work for Us”

Ben Wetzel over at BreakPoint uses two articles published in the last few weeks to demonstrate how “pro-choicers are doing our work for us.” One article is the Janet Harris piece that I wrote about a few days ago. I’ll excerpt the following from Wetzel where he discusses a piece from Esquire (some of it […]

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Posted on 20 August 2014 | 11:57 am


Term limits on Alberta MLAs? 'I think Jim Prentice is trying to lose…'

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Posted on 22 August 2014 | 1:46 am

Rolling Around in My Head

Bullies, Bigots and Buffoons, Oh My

 (Photo Description: Gretchen Josephson, poet, sits looking off to the right, listening hard to what's being said.)

"Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have a choice." That's what Richard Dawkins, a geneticist who is also billed, by Wikipedia as a both an ethologist and an evolutionary biologist said in answer to a question. When asked by a pregnant woman about the the possibility her foetus had Down Syndrome, he responded quickly and, somewhat brutally telling her to abort it. He later, when the predicted flood-gates of protest opened, gave a half apology. In that apology he said:

"If your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down's baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child's own welfare."
Photo Description: Raymond Hu, wearing a suit and glasses.

He wonderful man that he is worries about the child's welfare. He states later that we have a duty to reduce. He wants to reduce suffering. SUFFERING. Anyone read that survey that showed 99 percent of people with Down Syndrome when interviewed, say that they are happy? But their voices would be discounted wouldn't they. They might have the lived experience of having Down Syndrome - but poor dears, the experience is wasted on them, they wouldn't understand. A person with an intellectual disability is always assumed to be incompetent when they disagree with authority.

Photo Description: Grainy photo of Sandra Jensen, she is smiling, wearing glasses and the sun is shining on her.

Firstly, let's remember that people with disabilities are a wide a varied group, there are poetspaintersactorsactivistsmusicians and, yes, even politicians. The ideas of who people with disabilities are come from stereotypes when we limited who people with Down Syndrome could be. Remember, always remember, that this is the first generation of people with Down Syndrome who have grown up without being in the shadow of large institutions. The first to experience schooling.The first to experiencing live in the mainstream. Oh, there were brave parents who kept their kids home and fought the good fight to get us where we are now - but it is this generation that is benefiting from that fight.

Photo Description: Edward Barbanell, wearing a shirt and tie and smiling at the camera.

The one think that Dawkins said that I can totally agree with is that we need to make choices that reduce human suffering. Well, I would ask him, how can he make a callous suggestion that people with disabilities are born to immoral parents, (for an atheist that comes awful close to the idea that people with disabilities were born as punishment to sinful parents) and not realize that HE is inflicting suffering.

Photo Description: Emmanuel Joseph Bishop wearing a tux and playing the violin.

It is attitudes and language like his that cause hurt and pain and anger. People in positions of power think that they have a right to bully and to bigotry and to loathsome buffoonery.  It is prejudice that hurts Mr. Dawkins. It is opinion based on ignorance that hurts Mr. Dawkins. It's the wilful propagation of attitudes that lead to social violence and societal exclusion that hurts, Mr. Dawkins. This comes from someone who wants to reduce suffering!

Photo Description: Stephen Green, after winning his election, looking at the camera satisfied.

There is a simple solution to this. Sit down, meet some folks with Down Syndrome, speak to their families and until you do this, simply, shut up.

In the simple act of shutting up you will increase the happiness of those of us with disabilities and decrease the amount of ignorant and hurtful twaddle that gets spewed about a people who when asked, not by you of course, if they are happy, say yes. When asked if they are suffering say no.

Let's all reduce suffering by reducing prejudice and ignorance and arrogance.

There's a challenge, hey, Mr. Dawkins.

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Posted on 22 August 2014 | 7:54 am

A Canadian Foodie

Semberski Salas Restaurant in Bijeljina, Bosnia

Superb Traditional Celebration Meal at Semberski Salas! And on the last day, let there be rest. And a celebration! Waking up last Thursday morning to a cozy clean organized home was such a blessing that we welcomed the opportunity to take Petar out for a delicious traditional dinner. Where to go? Many of the beautiful […]

** Remember to join %% to create your own online recipe box and then click SAVE on my recipe below to add it! I use my online recipe box ALL the time! **

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 9:29 am

Dean Somerset

How to Not Overwhelm a Strength Training Program

I can remember back when I was in university and taking an advanced program design course. The final project was putting together a 4 month program for a recreational rower who was also an accountant, trying to balance their workouts around income tax season and working 60-70 hours a week in some spurts. It was…… Read More

The post How to Not Overwhelm a Strength Training Program appeared first on

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Posted on 21 August 2014 | 11:26 am

Knit Nut

Favourite Field Trip

Last weekend we drove out to Smith Falls to visit the Parrot Partner bird sanctuary in their groovy new digs. Since our last visit, they’ve become a registered charity and they’ve moved out of Judy’s house, which had been taken over by all the parrots she had rescued. You know how it goes. One [...]

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Posted on 16 August 2014 | 3:25 pm