Category Archives: Soap Box


In the past I have shared about my ongoing issues with weight.  It’s been a struggle of mine for much of my life, and one that I do not want to pass on to my children.  While it’s true that from time to time we go to chain, fast-food restaurants, it is far from the norm.  In fact, my kids get so excited about Subway, those other burger-based joints are routinely skipped over.  There are days though, where we end up in one.  We talk a lot about how it’s not healthy food, and why is it that stuff that is so bad for us (deep fried potatoes are linked to cancer – did you know that?) can taste so good in the moment.  We talk about how if we go to one of the chain restaurants, it’s only because we have all eaten really well that day, and will not be having any junk to eat afterwards.

MOMD’s position is everything in moderation.  And while I really am opposed to fast-food intellectually, why do those damn fries taste so good??

Anyway.  Yesterday was McHappy Day.  On Monday, Connor brought home a little note from school advising parents of that fact (a fact the kids were all ready well aware of, thanks to classroom discussion), and explaining that staff from his school would be working at the restaurant on Bayly from 3:30-5:00.  Further, money raised that day would be directed to a local children’s organization – The Grandview Centre.

When I saw this note, I had a little flicker of unease.  At first, I didn’t know exactly what it was, so I pushed the feeling down and got on with getting homework done, starting dinner and chasing the boys around.  I actually didn’t take the time to address my discomfort until we were sitting in the restaurant yesterday, the boys having just finished eating their dinners.  As it turns out, I have several issues with this.

One: There is a strong sense of community in schools.  Particularly in my son’s school, which is a Tribe school. This is great in many, many ways and I admit that I love his school pride and spirit.  However, it makes it very difficult to say “we aren’t participating” in a school activity, because it’s a value statement.  As his parents, when we say no, we are telling him that what he values is not important to us.  And ever since this, I’m working really hard not to do that.

Two: I don’t want to send the message that supporting charities that focus on children’s welfare is not important.  Especially since we have used the services of the beneficiary in this particular case (Sam’s hearing assessment happened at Grandview).  It’s a great opportunity to have a discussion about what kind of needs kids have, what the charities help them with, and ultimately helps my kids to see how much they have in their lives.

Three: (And this is the biggie) Schools are more and more, becoming places of health.  Connor has gym 4 days out of 5, has outdoor play 3 times a day, and even has a “healthy snack” program.  Kids are taught about food groups, healthy choices, unhealthy choices, and parents are talked to when lunch bags seem to be consistently unhealthy.  There’s a strong focus on educating both the parent and child in an effort to have healthier individuals in society.  Connor has even had marketing education: he came home from school one day talking about the lies in commercials.  I for one, think this is great.

Here’s where the disconnect comes in.

If we are working so hard to raise healthy people, why on earth would a school link arms with a fast-food restaurant?  Many schools – Connor’s included – are free of vending machines now: no pop, no chips, no chocolate bars.  If you want to buy a drink at school, you’re choices are either white or chocolate milk (whether or not that’s “healthy” is another debate altogether, so I’ll skip over it in this post).  If you didn’t bring your snacks, or you forgot your lunch, there are fruits and vegetables and yogurts.  These children are looking to parents and educators for guidance, they trust us.  And telling them “Let’s go to McDonalds to help kids and support out community,” is a departure from their usual message.  It muddies the waters, and makes it more difficult to explain to my kids that french fries are unhealthy and are making us sick, so we have to eat less of them.  When the school aligned themselves for this community day – which again I stress is a great initiative helping many, many people who need our help – they put a stamp of approval on the restaurant, and the food it serves.

It is that which I take issue with.  But am I crazy?  What do you think?  Am I overreacting?  Have your say in the comments.


Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Family, Food, Opinion, Raising Kids, Soap Box, Vexations


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This World We Live In…

Every day I start off my day by reading blogs.  I don’t read news papers, or news sites even (unless someone on my facebook feed links to an article that tweaks my interest).  I don’t listen to the radio, I don’t watch newscasts.  I am in what I like to call a “Media Free Bubble”.  As such, I miss out on things.  And the only ways that I stay informed of what’s going on in the world around me is through MOMD (who himself is a journalist), facebook, and blogs.

This week I stumbled upon a new blog:  When I find something new, where the writing is good and the humour is plenty, I tend to read through a bunch of entries to get the flavour for the site and decide whether it will make it into my usual haunts, so to speak.  Which is how I became aware of this.  And this.  I’m sure you can imagine it really made me uncomfortable.  Because wow…  way to be totally insensitive, even after the issues with your material are raised.  Far more appropriate would have been  to say, “Oh – I had no idea.  Thank you for raising our awareness.”  Or something like that.  Instead, the station did nothing and time is being spent discussing the problem in the House of Commons, in front of our Prime Minister.

And then there’s the whole business with Ashley Judd.  I mean, 6 months ago most of us were hard pressed to remember who Ashley Judd was.  We may remember her from her movies like “Double Jeopardy” and the grief she reportedly gets from her mother, Naomi Judd, for her movie roles.  And now, she’s up in the stratosphere, appearing on 4 highly recognized and watched news programs in less than 4 days.  She is the new face of the feminist discussion.

I’ve been a big fan of Miss Representation ever since I discovered it.  And in fact, when it was here for a screening back in October, I bought 4 tickets myself, and filled the seats.  There were 7 of us in our little group that night and it was just amazing to see.  A theatre filled with people – the 7 in our group ranged in ages from 12 to 63 – men, and women, discussing Humanity and how to best serve our own interests.

All of this made me feel like we were getting somewhere.  Maybe – just maybe – the time has come for the tide to turn and the world to become a more accepting place.  But then, I’ve always been an optimist.

Yesterday there was a link in my newsfeed – which I am deliberately NOT sharing here – to a piece asking whether a fairly well respected woman comedian was “too ugly for Hollywood”.  Mother of God!  Where do I live that this is a headline in an international magazine?!?!?!  Detractors from this article are saying things like, “did anyone ask this about Jack Black?”  This makes the point that there are not just ugly, but also fat men in Hollywood, who are regularly given big-budget movies to carry.  And at no point that I can find has someone ever asked if a man were too ugly for the industry.  And c’mon: Steve Buscemi – while an excellent actor and highly deserving of his reputation – is not good looking.

And yet, when I reflect, I note something that I find too convenient to be a coincidence.  This article was published in the wake of Ashely Judd’s essay, her subsequent press tour discussing her position, and all of the articles that came in response to her moment in the media spotlight.  All of this was designed to change the conversation – to dismantle and rebuild the way we think about each other and women specifically.  Women were getting some screen time and were talking about breaking down the establishment.

Does it not seem too convenient to you as well that “Is Rachel Dratch Too Ugly for Hollywood?” is a headline in the aftermath of the shifting sands upon which the Media Machine stands?

I remember reading somewhere once that the only way to keep women from taking control of our culture and industry is to keep them divided. (Mommy Wars, anyone?)  The author was saying that the only way for men to stay as power-players in our societies is to keep us distracted and fighting with each other so that we did not turn our collective intellects and strengths toward accomplishing goals that we consider important.  You know, silly stuff like ending the cycle of poverty for our young and elderly, education, and dare I say it?  Even world peace.

Somedays I am dismayed about the state of the world.  I question whether bringing more people into this mess was the right decision, particularly now since I’m carrying a little girl.  And then I remember that I am one person, with a voice, who has influence over 2 soon-to-be men allowing me to shape and mold their perspectives.  I remember that the presence of a strong man, like MOMD and my presence too promises a strong foundation for self-esteem, compassion, and discourse that will set our daughter up for success; in fact it will serve all 3 of our kids well.  It is then that I take a deep breath, square my shoulders and soldier on.

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Opinion, Politics, Soap Box


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