A friend’s teenage son wrote this story about his so-called father for a school assignment a few years back. I like to take it out and re-read it every now and again.
FatherThe idea of your father should never create the emotions I get when I think of mine. He was a complicated man, I think. I say “I think” because I didn’t know him very well. I lived under his roof for 13 years of my life, and so you would assume that would have been enough time to get to know the man who should have fathered me, but I guess it wasn’t. For whatever reason, it wasn’t.I’m not sure if he ever truly intended to be a father. My mother told me he was in his office the day I was born. He met me the following day. That seemed to have foreshadowed the rest of my relationship with the man.Whether he was at work or with friends and colleagues, I grew up in a single-parent household with two parents. Looking back, I don’t think I have ever known the feeling of having a father. Growing up without his presence around just felt normal to me and my younger sister.After years of abuse, lies and adultery, it was easy to see why my mother needed to leave. During the breakup, my mother made sure I was seeing a counsellor, so as not to be affected by all of this in the future. It didn’t make sense to me though. “Why am I in counselling?” I asked myself, and then I asked my counsellor the same thing. “To cope with the fact that you will be losing touch with one of your parents,” she said. What she didn’t know, what I didn’t bother to tell her, was that “touch” was already lost. In fact, I wasn’t even sure it was there to begin with.We moved out of his house and into a small apartment with my grandparents until my mother could get her feet off the ground. And she did. Life remained the same. I never felt I was lacking something. Nothing was ever missing, other than the abuse.When telling friends about all of this I often get sympathy, the usual “I’m sorry” that it had to happen that way to me. I tell them there’s no need to apologize, that I’m fine and my life has never been lacking. I’m not upset or regretful.Going through this, learning from it, has made me who I am today. The best part is that it’s made me, my mother and sister the closest, most tight-knit group of people I know. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.As for him? I’m thinking he regets it all.
It warms my heart to know that he never felt he lacked anything and that his relationship with his mother and sister is that much stronger because of it all. Truly one of the greatest silver linings of all time!
Do you have a great Silver Linings story? I’d love to share it. Simply add your story to the comments box below or e-mail me at email@example.com and I’ll include it here.
No one wants to feel hangry or get hit with a midday crash—but that doesn't mean you have to visit the office vending machine. Instead, curb hunger pangs with these healthier, expert-approved alternatives.
1. Swap: Microwave popcorn for cauliflower popcorn
Even light microwave popcorn can be loaded with sodium, trans fats (which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol) and artificial colours and flavours, says Kelowna, B.C.–based registered dietitian Tristaca Curley. Instead, cut a head of cauliflower into bite-size pieces, then roast in the oven with some olive or coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. This low-calorie, folate- and potassium-rich sub is a satisfying twist on that movie-night favourite.
Photography by Angus Fergusson
2. Swap: Store-bought gorp for DIY trail mix
Ready-made trail mixes can be full of sugar and salt, so create your own snack of walnuts (the nut with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids), unsalted sunflower seeds, dried apple bits and unsweetened shredded coconut. Add chocolate chips for an extra hit of sweetness. "For a tart superfood top-up, add golden berries, which resemble golden raisins," says Toronto-based registered nutritionist Joey Shulman. "They're lower in sugar versus other small berries, and they contain linoleic and oleic acids, which help with fat oxidation." Or add resveratrol-rich mulberries for their antioxidant punch.
3. Swap: Potato Chips for kale chips
"Regular chips contain trans fatty acids, the bad fat that can lead to heart disease and elevated cholesterol," says Shulman. "This superfood alternative is loaded with vitamins A, C and K." Tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces (discard thick stems), toss with olive oil and salt, then roast until crisp.
4. Swap: Salted pretzels for roasted chickpeas
Sure, pretzels may be low in fat, but they're loaded with salt and have no real nutritional value, says Curley. For a crunchy alternative, try oven-roasted chickpeas. These legumes are high in fibre, protein and iron, making them an ideal "fill me up" snack. Toss together chickpeas, olive oil, sea salt and your favourite spice (think smoked paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper or garlic powder), then roast until golden brown and crunchy.
5. Swap: Cheese crackers for a seaweed snack
Most crackers are processed carbs laden with artificial colours, preservatives and other additives. "In their place, top a sheet of nori with some canned tuna, smoked salmon or a meat alternative, like grilled tofu," says Curley. The seaweed is super satisfying and guilt-free: There are only five calories per sheet. Plus, sea vegetables are full of vitamins A and C, calcium, iodine (essential for metabolism) and iron.
6. Swap: Chocolate pudding for avocado and cocoa pudding
Chocolate puddings can be drowning in high-fructose corn syrup. For a healthier treat, mash an avocado, then stir in two tablespoons each of cocoa powder and hemp seeds and a quarter cup of honey, says Curley. This pudding is low in sugar and a great source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin C and fibre.
7. Swap: Granola bars for energy balls
Granola bars can contain as much sugar, fat and refined carbs as a chocolate bar. "Instead, stir together a cup of oatmeal with half a cup each of nut butter, hemp seeds and dried fruit," says Curley. Maple syrup or honey will help it stick together. This homemade option is high in fibre and protein, low in sugar and free of additives.
8. Swap: Chips and dip for hummus and carrot or zucchini coins
Processed foods like chips can raise blood sugar, triggering a release in insulin, which then lowers blood sugar. In the short term, these highs and lows actually increase cravings; in the long run, they can lead to weight gain. Try this clever swap from Curley. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice carrots or zucchini into coins. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, then bake until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a side of hummus. (Brownie points if it's homemade!)
9. Swap: Banana chips for a loaded banana
This snack is often coated in sugar and deep-fried to give it crunch, so choose a fresh banana, which is glycemic index–friendly, suggests Curley. (Foods with a low-GI value are digested more slowly, so they won't cause a spike in blood sugar.) Top the banana with two tablespoons of your favourite nut butter, then roll it in hemp seeds. "You'll get a slow, steady rise in your blood sugar, so you'll feel full for longer," says Curley. Plus, this satisfying switch-up delivers potassium, protein, iron and omega-3s.
10. Swap: Chocolate-covered almonds for apple rings with nut butter
Almonds are a great snack, but when they're coated with chocolate, they turn into a treat. For a healthier option, slice a cored apple into rings. Top each slice with natural peanut, cashew or almond butter and sprinkle with hemp seeds, which are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. "Apples are loaded with fibre and vitamin C," says Shulman. "Look for unprocessed nut butters; they're rich in good fats, which contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and monounsaturated fats."
Do you speak the language of flowers? Find out the different meanings of various flowers, plus get five tips on making your bouquet last.
In the Victorian era, particular flowers in certain colours were chosen to express specific feelings. Using this language of flowers – called "floriography" – a bud, bouquet or even a boutonniere delivered more than colour and scent. Here's what some familiar flowers may convey:
Apple blossom - Good things to come Aster - Contentment Buttercup - Childishness Pink carnation - Gratitude Yellow carnation - Rejection Crocus - Gladness Daffodil - Chivalry and respect Daisy - Innocence and purity Daylily - Enthusiasm Dill - Lust Edelweiss - Daring and courage Forsythia - Anticipation Gardenia - Secret love and joy Blue hyacinth - Constancy Ivy - Wedded love and fidelity Lavender - Loyalty White lily - Heavenly purity Lily of the valley - Humility Mint - Virtue Orange blossom - Marriage and fertility Palm leaves - Victory Dark crimson rose - Mourning Pink rose - Friendship Red Rose - Passionate love Snowdrop - Hope Sunflower - Adoration Red tulip - Declaration of love Violet - Faithfulness
So that beautiful bouquet of dark crimson roses and white lilies surrounded by palm leaves that you just sent to your friend or love one could be telling her, "Many are mourning my victory and success within our relationship, as it's heavenly to be with you!" But – since floriography word lists vary – it could simply be saying, "Hi!"
5 best ways to make your bouquet last 1. Buy fresh flowers. Avoid flowers with any signs of mildew or mould, and look for buds that are just beginning to open. A&P, Dominion and Loblaws help out by guaranteeing their blooms will last for a specified number of days.
2. Keep it clean and lukewarm. Start with a squeaky-clean container and lukewarm water (tepid water is more readily absorbed than cold), then change the water every other day.
3. Add a floral preservative. Most bouquets come with their own packet of goodies that provide nutrients and prevent bacterial growth – all to keep the flowers fresher longer.
4. Strip and recut the stems. Remove any leaves that will be immersed, then recut the stems to encourage water uptake. Trim soft stems straight across. Cut woody stems on an angle, then smash or slit the bottom 2.5 cm (1 in). Pinch small wads of cotton from a cotton ball and stuff them into the bottom of hollow stems to help them hold moisture.
5. Show them off in a good spot. Set your floral arrangement away from drafts, direct sunlight, radiators and ripening fruits (the latter emit ethylene, which prevents buds from opening, discolours blooms and leaves, and shortens vase life).
Bridging the gap between Parliament and fashion, UK Prime Minister Theresa May will be the first British head of state to be featured within the pages of the U.S. edition of Vogue.
Who says Americans have all the fun? Following in the footsteps of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, British Prime Minister Theresa May will be featured in the April issue of U.S. Vogue and–politics aside–we can't wait to see the glossy spread.
Shot by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, and accompanied by an interview, the photoshoot reportedly took place at May's official country residence, Chequers, according to the Telegraph. While the UK's only other female leader, Margaret Thatcher, posed for British Vogue several times during her tenure, May will be pioneering the trans-Atlantic jump.
Vogue has increasingly become more political and may be looking for another female political head to rally behind, after they formally backed–for the first time in history–U.S. candidate Hillary Clinton. The exclusive may also come in handy with presenting a more personable image, suggests a source for TheSun, for her official visit with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in May.
Since stepping into office six months ago after the historic and polarizing Brexit vote, May has been regarded for her love of fashion–notably for head-turning footwear. She even listed a lifetime's subscription to Vogue magazine as her luxury item when she appeared on a BBC radio show, according to the Independent. Proving that being a woman in high-political office and great style are not mutually exclusive, May has said, “I like clothes and I like shoes. One of the challenges for women in the workplace is to be ourselves, and I say you can be clever and like clothes. You can have a career and like clothes.”
Not everyone is applauding the fashion move. The criticism has been heavy on social media, where people are labelling the Vogue appearance as trivial, particularly in the midst of a still very sensitive fallout from the summer Brexit vote.
Want to make
perfect, crispy bacon every time with little mess? Try cooking it in the
oven! I always use this method when I am cooking bacon for more than 2 people. It is
less messy than cooking on the stovetop, you can cook a whole package at a time with no grease spattering everywhere. It requires
little attention, which gives you time to prepare the other elements of the meal (
pancakes perhaps?). Also, the bacon comes out
perfectly cooked (and flat) and delicious every time.
To cook bacon in the oven, first line a
baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Arrange bacon slices on parchment,
overlapping if desired.
(Side note: the bacon will cook a little faster and require no separating if the slices are not overlapping, but one Chef I worked for instructed me to overlap the slices with the meatier side on the bottom so that the fattier side covers the meat and "protects it" during cooking - not sure if this is true, but you can fit more on a tray if the slices are overlapping.) Cook in a 400°F (200°C) oven for
about 20 minutes, separating with tongs if needed, until bacon is golden-brown. Timing will depend on the thickness of your bacon and how crispy you like it.
Remove bacon to paper-lined platter to drain. Enjoy your perfectly cooked bacon in these recipes...
Bacon and Onion Cheese BallsChard and Apple Salad with Bacon VinaigrettePhotography by Leah Kuhne