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14 Simple Sales Techniques That Will Woo Any Customer

In August, I bought a resale home that was 30-years neglected. The first order of the day was to source new windows, doors, a furnace, air conditioner, kitchen, flooring and more. I set out to get quotes. During this process I was astounded by how many simple sales techniques -- and common courtesies -- were neglected. Read on to see how your sales team would measure up.
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Avoiding Dating Disasters

Do not date a woman whose mother is named after food -- Brownie, Sugar, Honey, Cupcake -- or whose father is named Bubba, Butch, Dutch, or Killer. Consider it a red flag if she sleeps in shoes, curlers, or a car. Or if she has more prescriptions than you.
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Beware Your Cellphone

What really came as a surprise to me was when Dr. Davis mentioned that mobile phones actually increased dopamine in the brain. What does that mean physiologically? It points to the possibility that mobile phones can become addictive. Dopamine is the same neurotransmitter that is released with cocaine addiction.

David Gilmour's No Colleague of Mine

There are many good reasons to be upset about the things the novelist and broadcaster David Gilmour said in a recent interview on the Hazlitt Magazine blog. Both he and I work at the University of Toronto, so my instant reaction was institutional defensiveness: unlike Mr. Gilmour, who teaches the odd college course, I am a professor of English literature here, and it stung to see his bizarre, reactionary views on literature and teaching associated in the media with my institution, and in particular with its literary scholars. That's why I think it's important to say that David Gilmour is not a colleague of mine. As far as I can tell from his published comments, he's not much of a literature professor either.

Are You Man Enough for This Dare, David Gilmour?

Dear David Gilmour, as a woman writer I'd like to say "thank you." Thank you for being privileged enough, culturally tone-deaf enough, and even just plain stupid enough to say that you don't love women writers enough to teach their works in your class. Thank you for saying what so many other male professors think but are afraid to admit. Thank you for opening up this huge can of worms that most people were happy enough to pretend doesn't exist. I've got a dare for you, David Gilmour. I dare you to spend six months reading nothing but writers who aren't white cis males.
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Meet the Mother Who Received the Hateful Letter About Her Autistic Son

On Friday, a horrible letter was mailed to a family about their 13-year-old autistic son, Maxwell. When my friend, Karla Begley -- Maxwell's mother -- told me about the letter, my first reaction was to expose this in the biggest way possible. My sister, Kathy (Karla's best friend) and I developed the hashtag #love4Maxwell, and enlisted the help of our celebrity family members. It went viral. But now what? Now that everyone's invested in this united universal hug, what do I want them to know? I want people to know it's not about the letter. It's about the people who received it.
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Having A Sex Life After Children

I have three tips that I call the "Three R's of reviving your sex life" and they are great for couples with kids who are looking to regain the sense of freedom they had before children. Although it sounds contradictory to plan for spontaneity, it's real life. Here's my advice.
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My Autistic Kid Wants Equal, Not "Special Treatment"

Dear pissed off mom living in Newcastle, Wow! Can you believe all the publicity you're getting over your letter to the mother of an autistic child?! The letter where you called a special needs child "retarded" and an "animal." Astounding isn't it? You didn't just write the letter to your neighbour -- you've also addressed it to my 14-year-old autistic son and all children with special needs. Sigh, ignorance is bliss. You didn't realize by writing this letter that you were about to unleash the mother of all mothers defending their children. Buckle up sweetheart; we're going for a ride.
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How to Mentally Prepare Yourself for Ironman

Mentally preparing yourself for Ironman is an interesting venture. How do you do it? If you're like me when I started training for my first Ironman, I had no clue what was coming my way. All I knew was that I really wanted to do it. There are a few tricks that can help you bring your stress levels down
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'Get Out of the Palace' and Other Advice for New Mom Kate

Now, our paths have crossed again, as Kate (who I feel I can call that because I kind of consider her a pal) becomes a mom. My own bundle of joy/spit up arrived just over four months ago, and while I didn't have to bear with the scrutiny of the world through every step of my pregnancy, our milestones happened closerly enough that I feel vaguely qualified to offer some advice.
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A Turban Ban Is Ignorant, Not Secular

News that the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) decided to suspend the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) over their decision to ban turbans on the field, was met with great pleasure by many. Myself included. It should go without saying, but sadly needs to be reiterated, that disagreeing with the Quebec Soccer Federation's overzealous approach to secularism is not Quebec bashing. Over and over I had to clarify points that should have been obvious, but were completely lost in the mire of accusations and knee-jerk reactions about Quebec bashing. More than anything, intolerance, and rigidity in thought and action are derived from ignorance. Ignorance of the facts. Education is the key.

Cancer and Thunder: Learning Life's Hard Lessons

Sometimes there are no magical answers. Sometimes it's just that life is unfair, and some of us get dealt a really shitty hand, while others may not. I wish there was a better explanation than that, a story you could tell your children when they ask why bad things happen to good people. I wish things could be different.
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Closet Organizing Ideas for Small Spaces

Being organized is not everybody's strong-suit. Some find it more difficult than others to constantly clean and organize a closet. It becomes even more difficult when you have a small house and limited closet space. Here are tips to help you have that neat and perfect closet which draws everyone's attention.
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After 8 Rounds of Chemo, I Understand Angelina's Choice

Angelina Jolie has just gone public with the news that she had a preventative double mastectomy. As a BRCA1 gene mutation carrier, she had an 87% higher risk of breast cancer. In January, I also found out that I have the BRCA1 gene mutation. But for me, the test came late, after I had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that had already spread to my lymph nodes.
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It's Selfish Not to Vaccinate Your Child

We have responsibilities as parents, both to our children and the other children they spend time with at daycare, school or other gathering places,to ensure their safety. And that includes getting them properly immunized. You simply don't know more than your doctor or the medical establishment, and neither do the authors and bloggers trying to convince you otherwise. Your family and friends, don't either, no matter how how many times they post anti-vax status updates or tweets. Do you really want to regress to a time when smallpox and polio roamed the Earth?
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Cancer Won't Ruin My Summer

Saturday, I continued on my quest to be a normal young person in the city. After having a nice visit with some of my family, I took a lovely walk through my neighbourhood and around the park and surrounding area. My feet ached from wearing terrible sandals. A regular person kind of ache. Not a cancer ache.
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Stop Ignoring Our Children's Well-being

That Canada now ranks 27th out of 29 in health and safety, child mortality and obesity should indicate that the Conservatives are taking us in the wrong direction and need to seriously reassess public policy initiatives in these areas. Where is the leadership on a national immunization program?