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Blogging Withdrawal, Living Dolls, Old Friends, Dive-Bombing Butterflies

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
While I was travelling earlier in the week, I ended up staying in a hotel that was not exactly equipped with state of the art telephone equipment, something that led to an acute case of e-mail and blogging withdrawal. Of course, naturally that meant that every few hours I'd encounter a truly blogworthy situation -- Murphy's Law of Blogging, I presume?

(Now, I suppose I could have scribbled in my notebook and transcribed my pen-and-paper "blog" notes when I got home, but it wouldn't have been quite the same experience. So much of blogging is that desire to get your words online where other people can read them right away, isn't it?)

I was invited up to Bruce County for a few days to give two presentations on "Practical Parenting in the Real World" for the Children's Aid Society of Bruce County. A really cool group of high school students came out to the afternoon session. One of the students was toting along one of those dolls that's programmed to cry and otherwise demand attention in a surprisingly realistic manner in order to give teenagers a sneak preview of the demands of parenthood. It was the first time I'd ever encountered one of these dolls and I can tell you, this doll cried more often and more loudly during my session than any of the real babies in the audience! One of the other students told me that the doll had had her up four times in the night on Saturday night, so clearly they must change the batteries in this doll at regular intervals. (Either that, or they go for the batteries that just keep going and going. Trust me, you'd need 'em with this particular doll.) Anyway, it was fascinating to see how well designed this doll is and what a great job the student in question did in responding to her "baby's" cries -- deciphering whether it was the "cuddle me" cry, "the breastfeed me" cry, and so on. Totally fascinating stuff!

I also had the opportunity to meet Cheryl -- a reporter from local radio station CKNX (something that gave me the opportunity to put a face to the friendly voice that has interviewed me over the years) -- and to reconnect with Zanda, an old friend that I haven't seen for well over a decade. She has two more children and I think I've had at least one more since the last time we were in touch. She made my day by showing up totally unannounced at my presentation. Thanks, Zanda. And, Zanda, if you're reading this, I hope you will remember to e-mail me so that I'll actually have your e-mail address!

I'm getting asked to do more and more of these types of speaking engagements. I'm really finding them enjoyable. I love the fact that I get to meet with parents and swap ideas about parenting -- something that I find very fun and inspiring. Regular readers of this blog may recall that I recently spoke at Baby Fair in Vancouver. Last night, I got an e-mail from CANSPEAK, the speaker's bureau that booked this particular speaking engagement on my behalf. They told me that the folks at Baby Fair had e-mailed them to say how happy them were with my participation in their event. Here's what they had to say:

"Ann Douglas was the ideal keynote speaker for Vancouver's Baby Fair 2004. Our attendees found her to be highly professional, while at the same time warm and engaging. Ann's commitment to Baby Fair was evident in the additional exposure she helped to generate through numerous public appearances and promotion on her website. She was generous with her time and worked with management to help make Baby Fair a success. We enjoyed working with Ann and highly recommend her as an informative and entertaining guest speaker."
- Tracey Anderson, Producer, Baby Fair

The Baby Fair folks were terrific to work with, so it meant a lot to get such positive feedback from them. Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to develop speaking into a successful offshoot to my day job as an author. Of course, I'm both thrilled and a little overwhelmed to know that I'll be sharing the stage with Barbara Coloroso in Windsor on Tuesday night. I guess you can't grow in your career without those weird little butterflies dive-bombing in your stomach, right? If everything seems comfortable and easy, it means you're just coasting along on Easy Street and that you've stopped pushing yourself professionally. Well, at least that's my theory.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:58 AM