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January 2014

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Eight best of the “Hipster Harper” meme

Stephen Harper a hipster? Hardly these days, but a photo of Harper in his youth clad in a plaid shirt with shaggy hair has inspired some on the internet to dub him a proto-hipster.

The memes centre around just what exactly a cooler-than-thou young Harper’s motivations would be for his less popular actions as Prime Minister.

Check out our favourite eight examples of the meme from around the web.

 

Put a spring in your step

It seems spring has finally sprung. People are on the move, and more than eager to get back on track with outdoor activities and workout programs.

Still, many are still experiencing a touch of the winter blues. No matter how anxious, it’s not easy to switch gears from often lazy winter indoor activities and exercise routines.

No matter what your outdoor sport may be, starting slowly, rebuilding strength and endurance can save you from (or prevent) an early seasonal injury that can ruin a summer of fun and physical activity. For runners, who may have not kept up steady workouts over the winter as avidly as hoped, the progression of walking to jogging to running might be a route to consider. Remember, pre-run warm-up and post cool-down stretches to prevent injury, and to ensure a safe reentry into steady outdoor workout routines. Getting into a regular schedule, without pushing it, keeps you consistent and on track, without pushing your body too much, and can leave you wanting more…and that’s a sure sign you’re ‘back in the saddle.’

No matter how far you go, remember to take and drink water. You might feel the outing is not long enough to need it, but who knows: on a nice day, you may walk a little longer, or stop in a park. Water is always needed for strength, endurance and focus. If you love to cycle but hate the stationary bike, you may not have kept your legs as strong as they could be for riding outside. Getting back to the streets can test balance going over uneven pavement, stones and twigs. Early spring can bring a lot of rain. Wet streets are harder to stop on and can be a challenge for the best of riders at any time.

As important as anything, drivers aren’t as used to seeing as many bikers on the road and need to readjust their eyes and attitudes to the outdoor athletes of summer. Rain and wet roads are harder to navigate for them too. Some drivers don’t feel comfortable around bikers. Proper protection and rider safety is a priority.

Getting back in tune with your body is important too. Massage and reflexology are just two healthy, preparation and injury preventing approaches en route to getting back in touch with the body/mind connection.

And besides, they feel great.

The invisible cancer of depression

I was prompted to write this by the news that Christopher Peloso had passed away. Christopher was the husband of George Smitherman, the former Deputy Premier of Ontario and candidate for Mayor of Toronto. I knew him as a loving father, a dedicated husband, and a good man. My heart and my prayers go out to George and Christopher’s three children (two of which he and George shared).

I do not want this piece to be about how Christopher passed away. He was more than that. He was how he lived. He was his dedication to community and family. And that is how we will remember him. George Smitherman, my friend and mentor, released the following statement early Monday morning:

“Toronto Police just confirmed that my darling Christopher Peloso has been found dead.

We will celebrate his life and we will find comfort somehow in knowing that he has found peace from the depression that has wreaked havoc on his mind.

A son and brother, a husband and father of 3 he will always be remembered for his dedication to others.

We have been greatly aided by the compassion of the Toronto Police service and we will find strength going forward from the legions of people in our extended family who loved him so.”

Christopher will be missed.

But I hope his passing will not go unnoticed by the greater community. Christopher suffered from depression. Although it was never a matter we discussed, this was a diagnosis we shared.

Depression, in all its various forms, can leave one in an utter state of darkness. For many there is a feeling that there is no way out. I do not know the exact circumstances surrounding Christopher’s passing, but I do know when my wife informed me of what had occurred I felt compelled to apologize to her if I had ever made her feel like there was a possibility that this could ever happen to me.

I was deeply saddened to hear that Christopher lost his battle with depression. But I hope this knowledge gives people the awareness to not let this happen again. If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression there are outlets you can turn to. Please try talking to a friend or loved one or take a look at the information provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association at www.cmha.ca.

Relationship resolutions

We started dating in 2012 this is our second year together and while that isn’t a monumental moment for most people, for me, it is. So I want to start the year off with resolutions, not for me, but for us.

This year will be the year we talk seriously about living together, instead of just fantasizing about moving to L.A. where it is sunny, sandy, and warm and people never wear parkas just to make it to work without getting frostbite. We’ll talk about the realities of living together and what that would mean for us instead of dreaming about a big house that we’ll buy with his TV monies and my book monies. We’ll discuss if it should happen this year or if we should wait until 2015; because 2015 is a nice round number and 3 years is more than enough time to know if we’re in it for the long haul.

This year will be the year that I stop being afraid to say exactly what I’m thinking. I will stop saying, “I’m fine.” Because I know he’ll just make me tell him what I’m thinking anyway. I will stop worrying that if I say what is on my mind he’ll leave me; he’s proven more than once that this isn’t the case and I owe him the honesty he wants. I am saying goodbye to the, “never minds”, the “I’m fines”, the “no big deals” and the “it doesn’t matters”. My feelings matter and Boyfriend wants to hear them, which is awesome.

This is the year where I surprise him. Boyfriend is the BEST at presents, if there was an award for best gift giving abilities he would win it annually; this year I want to surprise him, I want to knock his socks off, I want him to know how much I care. Also I want to win. I’m a fairly competitive person and I have yet to beat him in the gifting category so this year I’m going to do it.

At first I thought the idea of relationship resolutions was a silly one but after writing them down and thinking about them, I still think they’re silly. But silly or not relationships require work, thought and effort and if you don’t have any goals in mind how can you ever get to the place you want to be? I’ve never met anyone like Boyfriend, he’s my person and he deserves the best possible version of myself, even if that means I have to write ridiculously silly lists about relationship resolutions.

If I had thought more about my relationship with the Big Ex I might have ended it long before the lying and the cheating started, I might have thought about the fact that I wasn’t happy and I might have saved myself months of confusion and tears. Relationships don’t just magically work, although that would be nice, you get out what you put in and Boyfriend is worth putting the work in.