Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry, Merry

Hey all,

Here is a wacky Christmas 'card' from Quinn and Lyla.
Sorry about the colour or lack thereof.

Consider this your Christmas card...(you know it's better!!)

Have fun, celebrate, reflect and rejoice - its Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Stay tuned...
presented by
Quinn and Lyla
Coming soon!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


News Headlines for Thursday, December 13th, 2007
At my work, I take a few minutes to read the paper or the online version of it. If anyone knows me-bit of a news junkie, more so the international news. I know there may be more to the stories than simply going by what the headline suggests...however, I was shaking my head over a few of these...

Some headlines that got me this morning were:

Sharing??? It's OK to do crack, just don't share the pipe? What?

Why is this even making the news, I'd be embarrassed if I was the editor of the Globe and Mail and this was taking up space in my paper.

Again, why is this taking up space on the home page? I guess it is a statistic, a sad reality. Holidays, pressure, strain on marriages. This morning I was listening to the radio and they were talking about finding 'the perfect gift' and if you don't find the perfect gift, you found a crappy gift and your recipient may have to put on a 'This is great, Thank You', when they don't really mean it. The announcers were serious about this, I felt like phoning in and ranting about this 'perfect gift' phrase everyone throws around at Christmas. If you can't find the 'perfect' gift, don't buy a gift and don't stress about buying a gift. That's my logic. Last year I didn't do gifts for my siblings because I didn't know what to get anyone, I was at a loss. Instead I bought some chickens for some kids in another country. This year is a little different, ideas are just popping into my head and I'm going with it (might still buy some chickens too).

I actually read this story yesterday, but it's still on the website. This dutch diplomat who lives in Hong Kong, he and his wife adopt this girl b/c they could not have kids of their own. Well, they find out later they could and had 2 of their own. So now they told the agency this girl just isn't working for their family so they hand her back and now they (social services) need to find a new family for this girl. She can't go back to Korea, because she doesn't know Korean, only Mandarin and English. 7 years old and your family gets pulled out from under you. Probably for the best then, I'm sure Someone has other, grander plans for her life...

I love how the government, defence dept. or the UN can put time lines on support. Even if they keep the base 'til 2015, they've talked about the troops pulling out before then. It might be good to have a 2 year plan going in, gives them guidelines for budgets, planning projects, etc. But there is no real way to know what could happen between now and 2015, they don't know what the Taliban has up their sleeve. Whether or not I'm for war, I feel that Afghanistan is one place Canada should be. I prefer the peacekeeping roles over 'war', but feel that Bin Laden needs to be caught and prosecuted, therefore some necessary measures have to be taken. Although I take comfort in this quote from the same story...
"Mr. Bernier emphasized that the Conservatives don't believe that Canada "should simply abandon the Afghans in 2009.""
Sounds great...Now they're talking sense as long as they stick with it and don't change their mind when it comes to election time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Everything outside my physical life is designed to cause my death. - Oswald Chambers

This morning I read a devotional from My Utmost for His Highest and it talked about fighting. How we fight to stay alive (physical), how we fight spiritually, how we fight morally and how we fight mentally.
I was thinking of the physical and how the elements of this world could take you out, but they don't because we fight them. i.e. snowstorm/cold - if we are in the midst of the cold, we will not live, so we fight to stay warm. the roads, we fight to stay on them. We fight to see in blinding white snow. Hunger can kill you - for most of us it is not a fight to stay fed, for a lot in this world it is. It is a fight to stay healthy and strong. We fight to stay warm and fed.

Morally - now here's a big one. Fighting to be moral. I think Moral and Spiritual fight can be intertwined. Don't a lot of my morals come from spiritual standards? (I think Oswald Chambers would agree, however he did list them seperately.) Moral strength = virtue. If I want to be virtuous, the morals that I believe need to be kept. If my morals go against another's lack of moral (or we differ in morals), I fight to reinforce the moral law rather than letting it go. As O. Chambers said, "moral law does not happen by accident, moral virtue is acquired."

Spiritual - Seems obvious...Eph. 6:12...fighting principalities, not people. In my mind I look at some very evil wars that have gone on and are going on. Situations like Cambodia's genocide, Rwanda and others. For the mind to be in such a state where killing another or killing thousands carries no guilt - how is this merely the human mind? Is that not evil, pure evil spiritual warfare? Principalities of the darkness winning the battle in one's mind. So we fight - that the Spirit - God's spirit, would win and rule in us over the spiritual darkness.

Mental - to be strong and active mentally...I'm thinking this means to engage your mind continuously, renew it, think. Read the paper, read a book, read the Word, think, don't waste the capacity that has been given to you - to think.

Sometimes Christianity is thought to be boring, dull, la de da life. Lately I've been thinking that it isn't and if it is portrayed that way, we are portraying it incorrectly. Jesus life wasn't a walk in the Christian park. He had to fight: physically (for his life), mentally (challenged continuously by naysayers), spiritually (battles with Satan), morally (what he stood for and exemplified). His life was not to be seen by us as a mere example of how to live, examples can be seen in you and me, Jesus wasn't an example, He was IT, He is God in human form who sacrificed his life so that we might live.
Sacrificed, sacrificed, sacrificed - not a passive word.
Then shouldn't we: think, meet the opposition, keep the morals and live strong?
Not being passive
Not letting go of our beliefs
Not being complacent

Then more is required of me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Post Illness - Pre Panic

I am slowly feeling better, still tired at times and the last few nights - going to bed early is not an option but a requirement. I'm really blessed in the people I have around me for support. Lots have been praying for me that I get better (awesome), Quinn has been here looking after me (lots and lots), my Dr. runs tests and my Uncle Raj, the pharmacist, gives me a 9-step recovery/vitamin list. Amazazing!

Can't see why I wouldn't recover with that kind of support!

One week until I write my scheduled exam. Having lost a week of studying time, I don't know how well prepared I will be to write. There is no chance to reschedule, I will have to write. If I don't pass, I can re-write for a price. I'll do what I can and try not to worry about the outcome.

Even the crazy days, I'm thankful. Thanks.

...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Tiffany has been bugging me about the little to no blogging I've been doing and she insists I don't need specific topics to blog about, just life in here goes.

Early Sat. morning (9am is early for Quinn)

I'll start with the last weekend. It was an absolutely glorious Saturday morning, my beau and I were on our way to Pembina Valley, Manitoba. It was a delightful fall drive through southern Manitoba, the sun was shining, the car was moving wrecklessly down the road due to Quinn's driving. (kidding) It was however an amazing day for a drive. We or I (Quinn may be directionally challenged at times) managed to navigate our way down to Pembina Valley Bible Camp. My cousin, her husband and their daughter were staying there for the weekend with some friends. We arrived shortly after lunch and one awesome pizza later, we spent a few hours at the camp, playing with Zandria (1 yr old), bugging Venessa and listening to Jeremy's dry sense of humour. i.e. What is brown and sticky? A brown stick (Quinn guessed poo, but no)

Jeremy (or Roughrider bleh fan) feeding Zandria. And the only picture I could snap of Venessa.
Later that afternoon, we left the camp and made our way to the most, shall we say, interesting little town in central Manitoba - Portage la Prairie. Enter the home of Tiffany and Steven Verwey, and mini Verweys, Jordan and Tennyson. We brought over some Chinese food, horsed around with the kids, played Cranium and called it a night. (BTW - Thanks for having us!) Good night for a drive back to the 'peg. As we were out in the "country", what better time then to check out the stars...Quinn claimed to know something about the stars...???

After Sunday School on Sunday, we went and had a quick meal then took off to the Bomber game. brrrrrr Yes, we nearly froze our you-know-what's off. The game turned out to be great with the Bombers posting a much needed win....Grey Cup??

Later that night, we spent the evening with Matt & Andie, more Chinese food and a movie, that would not have been Andie or I's 1st choice. It had it's moments, but Boys - should not pick movies, period. (Super Troopers) All in all, good weekend.

Sunday night - after the football game, my stomach was not too happy and has been that way since. Sunday to now Thursday. It is off and on, usually after eating. I think I'm getting better, we'll see what happens. I have been very well taken care of the last few days, I can't even tell you how much I appreciate my man - Quinn.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Back in August I blogged about Cambodia and today I found a story on the Education system in Cambodia. Check out the links and say a prayer for the kids.

This country, the people, have been on my mind and heart so much in recent days...more to come.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Toil in Anonymity

I read today about what seems to be a bit of an injustice, maybe not an injustice, but something with no equivalence. If you follow sports, primarily the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club, you will have heard the news of Jason Blake's cancer diagnosis. While many people are diagnosed with cancer everyday, this one made the news. Jason has a form of leukemia - fortunately (?!) for him it's treatable; usual treatment is just one pill a day, with no chemo or radiation or other horrible treatments necessary. Thanks to the findings of a researcher, this is -if I may say- a tolerable form of cancer.

The story I read about today, was addressing how Jason Blake's diagnosis made major headlines, however so little attention is given to the researchers behind the treatment that Mr. Blake will be receiving. This little 'miracle' drug he will be taking was founded by a researcher that works not too far from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and makes considerably less than this players salary of $4 million dollars per year. Jason is a well known hockey player, playing for a well known team as part of the most highly acclaimed hockey network in the world. While the researcher (Dr. Pawson) is well known in the researching community, that is where his fame ends.

My appreciation for researchers has been expanded in the last year. You see, I have this amazing friend who has completed her degree in Human Nutrition and will now go on to complete her Masters at McGill University. While attending univ, she has also been working in the lab, playing with the rats, aka researching. My conversations with her are certainly not about proteins and enzymes, because she'll lose me after the first sentence (most times). I have however seen her in action with her peers and this is where my appreciation for her passion reaches a whole new level.

To conclude, I simply want to acknowledge what goes on at the many research labs across the country, they enrich our lives by their hard work, sacrifice and continuous toiling in anonymity.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

No Blogging...

Much to my friends or readers dismay I haven't been blogging in the last little while. You see, something, well someone, has been consuming a lot of my time in the last couple weeks. So, I haven't actually got a lot of anything done, I should be: writing a toast for a wedding I'm in in less than 10 days, studying for an exam that I have to write in one month (I'm only in the first chapter of the textbook), exercise and more.

Good news though, I found an interesting story...more blogging to come.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Team

Listen, yeah, I cheer for the Leafs. You can stop laughing now - when the Leafs do end up in the playoffs and are hoisting Lord,no,no, you won't be laughing then, will you?
I don't really know what started me as a Leafs fan, I guess I really like the city of T.O. and I really like hockey, so it was a natural fit. Plus my younger brother likes hockey and I think he is still with the Leafs, so it's someone to watch the game with when we're actually at the same place on a Saturday night.
This glorious team happened to be in my town for an exhibition game this week and as I don't have a lot of friends who are hockey fans and tickets were pricey for Winnipeg, I didn't go. I did however let the guys in my office know I would be cheering for the Leafs regardless if I was there or not. The Leaf trampling ensued for about the next hour and into the next day. A few comments:
"Lyla are u drunk?"

"You need professional HELP....."

"Clear the track, The leafs belong in a shack"

"Don't bother going to the game b/c I already know what's going to happen..............
1 period. leafs let in 10 goals blame it on the bright lights of the area.
2 period Sundin has a heart attack trying to lift that big bag of money the Leafs are paying him over the boards...he'll be back next season....15% pay raise.
3 period John Ferguson Jr. gives up on the leafs becomes manger for the Charlestown Chiefs. "

"The LEAFS are gay"

"The Leafs will be turning color now to a bright yellow, and fall under the feet of all."

"It's fall - the leafs are wilting already"

Needless to say, I got quite the razzing and I've summed it up to the fact that, they are afraid. very afraid. These guys are on the defense, worried about what the Leafs could do this season. I'd be worried too if I wasn't already a Leafs fan.

They truly are lucky I'm still working after all that or the fact that I could hold it against them and NEVER bring carrot cake into work again, oh, that would be a sad day...
Regardless, it's been a good week at work and I'm grateful for almost rolling out of my chair laughing after being verbally 'checked' over and over.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My Kids

The pic is by no means all the kids, just a few pics that I had around.

So, over the past year or two, I've come to really appreciate other people's kids. I can't imagine being a parent (lets be honest, its a lot of work), and why have your own when there are an abundance of sweet ones around? Between my close friends and family with young kids and babies, I have been blessed in being surrounded by them.

Let me tell you about Jordan, Jordan is 2 years old, we're great friends, she calls me Yiya, she thinks the food off my plate will taste better than her own and there's no better way to have dinner than sitting on my lap (her food or my food). Every time she sees me I get a BIG hug and when her parents give her trouble and I'm in the house, she cries yi-ya in between sobs, believing I will agree her parents never let her do anything and she did nothing to deserve punishment. Her cute round face and blond curly hair are a clever disguise for a very smart little girl full of stubborn will.

Jamin is another friend of mine, he is nearing 3 and is generally passive and quiet except when Jordan is in his personal space. He does not have room in his life for random foolishness and I'm sure he considers reason even before jumping off the kiddie table. He says Why about 300 times a day even when disciplined he follows with the question 'why?'. He truly wants to know and I can't imagine the knowledge he retains in one day.

Then there is Arman (6) and Amman (4). My cousins, who live in ON. I've been out to visit them a few times and these boys both love skin, let it be said. I remember them being younger and loving the booty! It was soo cute. Even now, skin is showing - legs, stomach, Amman is on it. Wearing shorts he would cling to your legs, actually hugging them, or if you were just sitting watching TV, all of a sudden, he'd sneak his little hands under your shirt, onto your belly. I'm laughing as I'm writing this, will he grow out of it soon??... Arman is older now, but Amman still sneaks onto your lap to sit and cuddle, he's rambunctious and care-free at times, then so tender in others, he touches your face with his little hands and soaks up the love and I love it too!

Then Saskatchewan - Taylor, Marissa, Emily, Spencer, Cydney, Selena, Chantelle, Zandria and my nephew Conner. Marissa is 10 I think, smart girl, since she was young she's acted older than she was. She's good with babies, can cook and bake stuff, she's a little mama. Now, we chat online, I help her with homework, it's so great! Taylor and Em are pretty quiet (at least I thought so) Spence makes up for all 4, wild little monkey and says the strangest things! Cydney and Selena have amazing amounts of energy, spunk, spark, I love their spirits, their smiles, I miss those big, big grins.

Then the babies, Zandria, who also is an independent little monkey - don't hold me, let me crawl! Always smiling, except when she's hungry - you can't get the food ready fast enough.
And Baby Conner, the first grandchild for both his grandparents is seeing a lot of love. Still a little baby, eating, sleeping and smiling. Can't wait for him to start chatting, we can have little convosation! let the fun begin!

I have no desire to become a teacher to kids or work in a daycare, those both require discipline and structure, that's not what I like about kids - I like the spontaneity, their free spirits and showing them unconditional love. I want the best for them, but mostly I want them to know they're loved. I like how Mark put it when the children came to Jesus: And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them. Mark 10:16.

Never fear spoiling children by making them too happy. Happiness is the atmosphere in which all good affections grow. - Thomas Bray

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Cambodia's Traffic - New traffic laws were implemented this week in Cambodia. The image below is very accurate... If laws are enforced, this will be a very good thing - see accident stats below. At times it was adrenaline-pumping scary being driven around in a tuk-tuk or on a moto, by the grace of God we came out alive.

Source: Xinhua
Cambodia's comprehensive new traffic law, signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on Feb. 8, was officially launched here on Tuesday with the attendance of approximately 1,000 people and ambassadors to Cambodia, local media said on Wednesday.Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, also Minister of Council of Ministers, who presided over the event, said that the announcement on the official implementation of the new traffic law was hoped to encourage all Cambodian nationals to change indifferent attitudes to the law, increase understanding about the law and respect it while driving their vehicles, said Cambodian-language newspaper the Rasmei Kampuchea.
The deputy minister said efforts to strengthen the implementation of traffic law, which is an effective means to reduce road accident rates, are also hoped to contribute to the development of social economy to rapidly eradicate the poverty of Cambodian people.Public Works and Transport Minister Sun Chanthol stated that most traffic accidents in Cambodia, where about four people died and 17 were injured by road accidents each day in 2006, are caused by human error including speeding and drunk driving, which accounted for 94 percent.
Based on the new law, drivers of vehicles over 49cc are obliged to hold licenses with each license having 12 points, according to English-language newspaper the Cambodia Daily.Points will be deducted for violations with one point being docked for driving without a helmet, while more serious violations like drunk-driving will result in up to six points being deducted. If a driver loses all of his points, he or she loses his license and will not be granted a new one for at least six months.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reported that in 2003, Cambodia lost 116 million U.S. dollars, or 3 percent of GDP, as a result of traffic accidents.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Misinterpretation - Funny or Dangerous?

Today I was reading an article on the BBC site about a new book written by a former Australian diplomat. It's a humourous collection of translation gone wrong for former diplomats or politicians. Just by the review of the book (Undiplomatic Activities), it seems chalk full of laughs.

You know me, pessimist within, has taken a look at the other side of the translation-gone-wrong spectrum. Coincidentally (or maybe not), a couple weeks back, I saw a news story about translators in Iraq. A guy from Seattle (American), knew Arab and was called upon by the US government to translate in Iraq. This was before Saddam was pulled from power. He actually worked inside Saddam's palace as a translator. Apparently there was no language test before, they simply asked if you could speak Arab and you were in. While he knew the language well, many other translators brought over did not. He is back in the US now, opposed to the war in Iraq and claims that many translators were unable to translate properly for many politicians. Western diplomats were using phrases like 'cohesive, unified state', making it difficult for translators who might loosely know English or vice versa. If that was a factor in the war that is going on today and that is what the translator is suggesting, you can imagine what a little preparation by the American government could have done for Iraq before rushing into a war.
You know what assuming does...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Extremes in Liveability

I think my perception of Vancouver has been skewed by the doom of media. Reports of rain, gloom and more rain, give me little desire to see the city. Then again, I have seen some amazing shots of the harbour, Stanley Park and unlike Winnipeg their downtown actually looks like a big city sky scape. Regardless of all that, I was very surprised that Vancouver tops the list of the world's most liveable city. (As stated in The Economist's world liveability survey.) Really, Vancouver?? Neat then, that this city is set to host the world at the 2010 Olympics.
Also on this list at #5 is Toronto. This did surprise me somewhat because one factor in this survey was the likelihood of a terrorist attack; seeing as Toronto seems to be Canada's New York, would this not factor in? However, the one city I would consider moving to in Canada - is T.O. or the GTA. I absolutely love it there, I like the downtown's diversity, the harbour front is so quaint, and North of T.O.,where many Torontonians retreat for the summer - cottage country. Going North, the highways in the hills, so many little towns dotting the roads, cute storefronts, coffee shops -
SNAP - getting carried away...
The point is we have 2 cities in the top 10 from Canada. And I've been to one of the cities in the bottom ten - Phnom Penh.
Again, I was surprised. Phnom Penh? (53% liveability or 47% intolerable) The people there are friendly, hardworking and I didn't notice instability, then again they are in the early stages of rebuilding their country and the commencement of trials for former Khmer Rouge. Other factors in the survey were education, health care and infrastructure. They are right then, Phnom Penh does suffer. Public education is provided, although teachers are paid so little they have been known to charge children per day or per exam to supplement their income. I saw first-hand that their public health care is severely under funded. Infrastructure - many civil servants are paid less than $50.00 a month, and succumb to taking bribes to supplement their income. Add to that, foreign investors who move in, kick people off their land and build as they see fit - with or without government support.
Our country with only 33 million people has that great of liveability to have 2 cities on top? Even more, Switzerland has 2 there as well?
Coming back to Canada from Phnom Penh, I knew I had been exposed to 'third world', but I did not believe and I'm not sure I still do: that Phnom Penh or Cambodia's liveability is that low.
These results make me think I didn't see enough.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pinawa Dam

Like a rushing river, life is tumultuous at times...
This is where I was over the weekend...first time I've been watersliding over rapids. With your life jacket on, you slowly make your way over the rocks at the top of the rapids to about the middle where the sloped rock has a flat surface to shoot you . Sit your butt down and you are taken down into the rushing rapid. Keep your hands up by your chest or they may get caught in the rocks, hold your breath and after you're out of the rapids and the current, you get out and do it all over again. It was fun, but you gotta know when to quit. It's only relatively safe...the guys in our group had a small list of injuries.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


I loved this article and had to share it, can't keep it to myself...

If I could write like Jenny, I would've wrote the article myself...but you know, its not my forte.

"Be kind to everyone you meet, for everyone is waging a terrible internal battle." - Plato

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

No TV kid

I thought I would share this article from The Globe & Mail. I grew up without television through all those formative years - I'm not saying I'm for or against kids growing up with the Time Waste Machine 2020, I do however think there is a whole lot to be learned without one. Thankfully, I had an older brother with an oh-so creative mind. A lot of our days were spent outside - when we were younger, our Mom would bundle us up and send us outside for hours (she did tell us to come inside if we felt frostbite coming on :). With the HUGE snow dunes we'd build tunnels, play fox and goose and when my brother was older he built an ice rink in the back yard several years in a row. We'd also go down to the creek and take our toboggans/GT and go screaming down the banks onto the hopefully frozen creek. The creek and hundred acre woods behind our place was always an adventure, in the summer we'd take our garage sale fishing equipment and catch the little 6" whatever they were, or twigs. Later on in my bros teenage years he built a raft out of "sealed" barrels and plywood on top, needless to say it sank, and each spring thaw it moves further down the creek. Oh, speaking of spring thaw - when the fields were covered in mini lakes and we'd take our inner tube with plywood and a long stik for pushing us around, until one time we sprung a leak and had to bail...our rubber boots didn't come home with us that time, I remember thawing our frozen feet in the bath tub (cold mud+bare feet=frozen).
I can only hope I have as much faith in children as my Mom did in us, letting us go out for hours on end, either that or she was hoping we'd get
At times we wished we had television or at least been able to watch movies, that was short lived - our parents would tell us be thankful and go downstairs to play with our cool chalkboard.
Now adays I can't say I watch more than the local channels, mostly for evening news (news junkie) and I'm still happily entertained hanging out with friends sometimes 5 nights a week, taking face plants with my roller blades or cooking dinner. Then with daquiri in hand watching some pretty amazing sunsets (for some reason I've really noticed them this year). Cheers!

How I became a televangelista
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
July 17, 2007 at 10:19 AM EDT

I am one of "those" parents. You know, the ones who don't have cable TV.
Before you think I am smug about this, please know that back when we first decided to turn off the tube, I sulked.

I resented not being able to access Oprah repeatedly in the middle of the day. In my first week post-TV, I would head out at 4 o'clock each afternoon to caress my WWOD (What Would Oprah Do) bumper sticker.

It only took three years, but I've come around.
After all, there are clear benefits. Here are the top four victories that our no-cable status has granted us:

1. Our child doesn't reflexively turn on the tube whenever he wants. Now I just have to get him to stop compulsively typing illegible things on my computer while I'm work-z9$888.
2. He doesn't see his parents always default to watching TV, so he learns that we derive entertainment in other ways. Even if those ways do not always include reading educational books together, or making inventive crafts or doing hearty exercise. Even if they simply involve, uh, sitting around.
3. We're holding at bay the snarkiness that has crept into a lot of children's programming. We hope.
4. No commercials.

Now, to be clear, we do let our children watch videos that we rent for them. We're not those parents. I mean, not to judge, but let's call the Children's Aid Society on those guys.

But when I mentioned my family's TV-free status in my blog at, some folks wanted to call the CAS on me. It's like I refuse to let my children use indoor plumbing.

A few respondents argued that by not providing our children with TV we are setting them up to become social outcasts, recluses or worse - writers. Man, I don't want that.

Fear not. Due to the pervasive force of peer pressure, most no-TV kids are as up on Lindsay Lohan and Batman as their friends - and as pushy about the accompanying kitsch they want us to buy for them - without the munchkins ever having seen a single show.

Still, the root of the argument against my no-TV decision seems to be based on the broader notion that kids should fend for themselves. Toughen up and take on life's challenges without Mommy stepping in to protect them from evil cultural influences. This often goes with, "Well heck, television was good enough for me, and I turned out okay, so it should be good enough for my kid."

Here's the problem with this philosophy: It ignores the fact that you are no longer riding in a station wagon with faux wood panelling on the sides; you've just surfed this thing called the Web, and times change. Need evidence? Three words: low-rise jeans.

Could you have even imagined wearing pants with a belt buckle millimetres above your nether hairline when you were a kid? Yikes. (You look great in them, by the way.)
Let's face it, TV is qualitatively different now than when my family all watched Carol Burnett at dinnertime. The programming has become smarter and less scrupulous - reaching into our kids' hearts, minds and crotches.

And it starts so young. Kids are little sponges. It's adorable when you first hear your three-year-old say "actually," as in, "actually, Mama, a killer whale is a mammal," or when you hear something like "what the heck?" pop out of their little mouths.

But what about when they call you "Butthead" because they heard it on SpongeBob? Or when they start smacking other kids, because that's what Spider-Man does (WWSMD)?
Of course, it's a chicken-or-egg question: Are 21st-century kids aping what they see on TV? Or has TV become more sophisticated because today's kids are more sophisticated?
In other words, is TV reflecting or creating reality? Hmm. I don't know. That'd be a good Dr. Phil ... (No, no. I've quit.)

I know it's hard to resist the cathode rays. I recently spent a week away in a hotel room where, like a former addict, I immediately grabbed the remote and started flipping channels, greedily ingesting it all.

But within 10 minutes I was irritated, almost on a neurological level. Not only because the only thing on was reality-TV sadism, but also because the speed and volume of the commercials have become too high for me.

Not having TV must have cleared my head like quitting smoking would clear Denis Leary's lungs. And, admittedly, like a former smoker, I've become all televangelista in my efforts to make others quit, too.

Imagine the freedom and the power we'd have if we all chucked the remote.
If you are interested in joining our no-TV movement, just check out our ad - on YouTube.
Diane Flacks is an actor, writer, mom, multitasker and author of the book Bear With Me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I see North Americans...

Welcome to my first official blog.

For those who don't know, in May I was in Cambodia for 2.5 weeks on a humanitarian trip. Going to Cambodia, we (group of 23) did not want to impose our Canadian culture on the Cambodia people. We wanted to watch, listen and learn who they were, how they live and like I've said before - be immersed in their day to day. Which I believe we were – I’m so thankful for the opportunity to travel in this way, you’re exposed to the country in a very raw, real way. Ask me if I can travel as a ‘normal’ tourist again, especially to a third world country…I can’t picture it, it would be too disturbing; taking what I need - then leaving 7 days later.

Today I went to the grocery store – often when I see people, I’m judgmental (being really honest here), but today, I was sad, I was sad at the way many people are living, even in how we recklessly buy groceries, carts laden with processed food and candy. I moved my cart so slowly through the store, today I felt like I saw people through different eyes.