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Handout from BabyTime

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Here is the handout from my workshop entitled "The Mother of All Action Plans: Caring for Yourself so You Can Care for Your Little One." It's a nine-page downloadable .pdf, complete with a list of recommended book and web resources.

Nurture thyself.

| posted by Ann D @ 5:01 PM

Crazy/Busy Is Almost Over

Monday, May 30, 2005
The past week has been totally wild, what with working the new laptop in, travelling to BabyTime and the PWAC AGM, but I am switching my focus from promotion/speaking to research/writing as of this week. I will (belatedly) be sending out the first questionnaire for the new sleep book (I can still use a few more parents, if you're interested) and catching up on the avalanche of email that arrived while I was away. (Yes, my love/hate relationship with email continues.)

And if your name is Sharbean and you have been waiting for an email from me forever, I promise I will email you ASAP. (Sorry to read about your puppy's accident, btw.)

| posted by Ann D @ 9:33 PM

Researchers, please note....

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The memory of laptop trauma fades much more quickly than the pain of childbirth. I can still remember wanting the baby out NOW. (Not in 15 minutes. Not in 15 seconds. NOW.)

But I barely remember what had me so ticked off at Apple. Did I ever have laptop problems? Did I ever suffer from computer separation anxiety? I can't really remember. I'm just so in love with my newborn laptop, those other memories all seem like something that happened to some other crazy writer named Ann who has an abnormal fixation with her laptop.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:31 PM


Don't forget....

...you only have a few days left to win cheap hotel soap and other hotel paraphernalia.

...I'm going to be speaking at the BabyTime Show at the Toronto International Centre this weekend. My topic is The Mother of All Action Plans: Caring for Yourself So You Can Care for Your Little One.

Here's the full seminar description:

Looking for strategies to increase your energy, achieve balance, and avoid mother burnout? Ann Douglas will offer tips and her trademark "from-the-trenches" advice on mastering the ultimate of juggling acts -- motherhood! Find our how investing in yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally will increase your ability to care for your child, as well as boost your overall enjoyment of motherhood. Don't miss this idea-packed workshop with best-selling pregnancy and baby book author Ann Douglas. Friday at 1:30 p.m.

...I'm going to be speaking at the Periodical Writers Association of Canada's Professional Development Workshops in Hamilton on Saturday, May 28. Some of these workshops are open to the public, including my workshops on launching a freelance writing career and getting your non-fiction book published.

...I'm still looking for parents to interview for my sleep solutions and food solutions books. I'll be sending out the first questionnaire to the sleep solutions parents this week and the first questionnaire to the food solutions parents in mid-July. So feel free to spread the word to any other parents you know who might be interested. They can email me at ann@having-a-baby.com. (They should indicate which book they are interested in; whether their child is a baby, toddler, or preschooler; and why they'd like to be part of the book panel.)

| posted by Ann D @ 2:07 AM

This is my first post from my new laptop

Does it look extra shiny?

Can you tell that I've moved my wine glass and other potential laptop hazards about a kilometer away from my keyboard. (Yes, it's a bit of a commute each time I want to take a sip of Chardonnay, but I'm not taking any chances in so far as the new laptop is concerned. I can't live through another year of laptop stress, and I know you can't either.)

For now I'm going to assume that we've found our way to laptop nirvana, and all those horrible problems that had me weeping and otherwise carrying on for 12 1/2 months are a thing of the past; and that the new machine (heretofore known as Mr. May 24, because he was officially registered on May 24th), is going to be perfectly behaved.

I think it's important to give credit where credit is due, so allow me to state the following:

1. Apple managed to get my new computer here within two business days of receiving my old computer. (Way to go, Apple! You totally rock! I have almost forgotten all the pain and suffering I experienced over the previous 12 1/2 months. Almost.)

2. Neil has been a real trooper over the previous two weeks. My Knight in Shining Armour gave up his iBook so that I could keep plugging away on my various speeches, magazine assignments, and so on. Neil, you have earned my nomination for Husband of the Year, and it's only May. (The personalized license plate and the fact that you cook dinner almost every night scored you big points, but the computer loaner was the clincher. You are my hero!)

3. Thank you, blog visitors, for listening to me whine and carry on when my laptop (and my life) were melting down. Why didn't any of you leave me "stop whining and get a life" comments? It's one of the mysteries of the universe. Thanks for being so nice. I owe you one.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:45 AM

Laptop Happy Dance....

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The new laptop arrived safely. As soon as Neil can get my files transferred over safely, I'll be back in computer heaven!

| posted by Ann D @ 4:43 PM

The Mother of All -- or Mom of All -- SUVs

Friday, May 20, 2005
There's a fellow at the local Honda dealership feeling mighty happy this morning that he doesn't have to deal with customers like Neil and me every day.

You see, Neil is your traditional hard bargainer. Once he sits down to buy a vehicle, every ounce of compassion and humanity leaves his body and he turns into a robot whose mission is to buy the vehicle in question at what he considers a fair price. There's not a lot of room for negotiating.

And then there's me -- the crazy purse lady. I started out by telling the car salesperson that I was extremely puzzled that not a single SUV or minivan manufacturer had responded to the North American female's all-out love affair with the color green (and I'm not talking about dark forest green -- the only shade of green that automobile manufacturers seem to recognize these days). I pointed to my yellow-green shirt and held up my lime-green purse for emphasis. I noted that I had been on a three-month long quest for a green mid-sized family vehicle, but that I had finally had to accept the fact that automobile manufacturers were determined to offer family vehicles in various shades of boring, with one or two tolerable colors thrown in to keep the minivan/SUV moms from launching an all-out revolt. The very nice car salesperson agreed that automobile manufacturers tend to be a little conservative when it comes to color choices, and promised to call me the minute Honda brings out anything in a nice shade of green. (I don't expect to be getting that call anytime soon.)

So faced with the choice of buying beige, silver, white, black, grey, dark green, blue, or red (pretty much the full complement of minivan/SUV colors this season), I decided to go with red. (I've seen a lot of really nice red purses lately, so it shouldn't be too much trouble accessorizing to coordinate with my Honda Pilot after I take delivery in two weeks' time.)

This is only the second new vehicle I have owned in my entire life, and it's definitely the nicest looking vehicle I've ever owned, so I'm pretty excited. I also think this was the vehicle I was meant to buy. (The vehicle had 13 km on the odometer when it was sitting in the showroom. Given that I was born on a Friday the 13th, this is good vehicle karma, don't you think?)

Oh yeah, one last tidbit: For Mother's Day, Neil ordered me a custom license plate that says "Mom of All" (an abbreviated version of The Mother of All.) Hopefully, the custom plate will arrive by the time we pick up the vehicle. If not, we'll have to pay the Ontario government an extra $15 to switch plates after the fact. And, as my Dad always taught me, the only thing worse than wasting money is allowing your wasted money to go to the government!

| posted by Ann D @ 1:27 PM

Now There Are Prizes to Be Won

Thursday, May 19, 2005
Two factors have influenced me to dig up some hotel loot to reward the best hotel story or stories. (You know how bad I am at giving out a single prize.)

1. the quality of your stories to date
2. Marla's merciless begging for prizes.

So now there are prizes on the line -- really great stuff scooped from hotel rooms. (Stuff you're supposed to take home. Not stolen TVs or anything that could get you in trouble with the authorities, I swear.)

Get your entry in by May 31st if you want to play.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:33 PM

Sarah McLachlan at the Air Canada Centre

Sarah McLachlan was great, but the Air Canada Centre was a less-than-ideal venue for showcasing her talents.

The constant flow of people wondering up and down the aisles to get another beer or to use the bathroom was pretty distracting.

And a huge number of people started leaving before the concert was finished -- something that meant that our view of the Jumbotron was blocked for much of the last half hour of the concert. Extremely annoying!

Anyway, Sarah's voice sounded amazing throughout the two hours that she performed, so, in the end, I simply focused on listening to her and enjoying the music rather than trying to watch the show.

After all, it was a huge thrill to have the opportunity to see Sarah perform live. She is one of my all-time favorite singer/songwriters. (Her song Fallen continues to be the most-played song in my iPod.)

| posted by Ann D @ 11:15 AM

Ask Me What I'm Doing Tonight

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
[slight pause for dramatic effect]

Okay, since you asked, I'll spill.

I'm seeing her perform at the Air Canada Centre.

Now ask me how excited I am.

[yet another slight pause for dramatic effect]

Okay since you asked, I am THIS EXCITED.

In fact, I haven't been this excited since last November 4th.

Thanks for asking.

| posted by Ann D @ 2:51 PM

You Know You're Staying in the Wrong Part of Town....

....when a homeless man tries to pick you up in front of your hotel room.

This is one of the bits of wisdom I've added to my ever-growing list of tips to share with other authors who are hitting the book tour circuit for the very first time.

But, believe it or not, being hit on by a homeless man (something that happened to me this weekend in Edmonton) doesn't rank as one of my worst or weirdest hotel experiences ever.

Oh, no, no, no!

I'd say the worst experience I ever had was checking into a hotel that was on the wrong side of downtown in Vancouver. (It had been booked for me by a newbie publicist who clearly hadn't done her homework.) There was vomit in the foyer when I arrived -- generally not a sign that you're staying at a four-star establishment.

And then there was the time I checked into a hotel in Hamilton and was given a room with what can best be described as a minimalist decor. We're talking about a ladder and a bucket of drywall compound. When I went back downstairs, they found me a room with a bed (I was ever-so-grateful), but I was kind of weirded out by the experience.

But the single most disgusting hotel experience -- the experience that will always stand out in my mind when I think hotel-from-hell -- was the hotel I stayed in last fall in a small town in southwestern Ontario while doing a speaking gig in a nearby community. The hotel's plumbing had seen better days. In fact, after coming to fix my non-flushing toilet in the early evening, the hotel's proprietor told me that I probably only had "one flush" to hold me over until morning. I took her advice and saved it for when I really needed it.

Fortunately, my hotel-from-hell experiences tend to be few and far between. I generally get to stay at very nice hotels. (There must be a "pampered princess" clause in my book contracts or something. I'll have to go back and check.) I've had the chance to stay at some remarkably posh spots over the years -- places like The Royal York, Hotel Macdonald, Arc The Hotel, The Wedgewood Hotel, and The Opus Hotel. (Thought I should mention that in the interest of full disclosure!) :-)

So the life of the touring author isn't all vomit and drywall compound -- nor is it all Chardonnay and roses. It's a bit of both.

So how about the rest of you: Have you got any hotel-from-hell stories you want to share -- stories about the four-star hotel that wasn't, or that "quaint" holiday rental property that was so quaint that it didn't have working plumbing?

| posted by Ann D @ 12:17 PM

West Jet Rules the Skys When It Comes to Toddler Vomit

Monday, May 16, 2005
The West Jet crew on my plane ride home from Edmonton was terrific. They really came to the rescue of the unfortunate parents whose toddler threw up on the flight, cheerfully providing a steady flow of napkins and garbage bags until the mess had been brought under control. Meanwhile, one of the other crew members spritzed the air in the cabin to try to keep the essence du vomit from becoming too unpleasant. Good thing because the businessman beside me starting gagging at the first wiff of toddler vomit. (I guess he was either kid-less or hadn't volunteered for Vomit Patrol on very many occasions while his kids were growing up.)

| posted by Ann D @ 9:15 PM

Postcard from Edmonton

Sunday, May 15, 2005
I just sent out about 100 emails. That should take care of a bit of the backlog. I figure if I send out about 100 more, I'll be all caught up. My laptop snafus combined with my travel day to Edmonton have put me a bit behind in my email correspondence, but I am bound and determined to catch up!

When I was reading through my emails, I found an email from my Dad. Apparently, I forgot to tell him that I was heading to Edmonton for the weekend. He learned about my trip via the blog. (Gulp.) Sorry about that, Dad.

I had a great day at Get Publishing in Edmonton. Over 100 writers came out to learn what it takes to thrive as a freelance writer or author. There were presentations, workshops, and pitch sessions running all day. I gave the keynote address in the morning and spoke on "Your Ten Step Business-Building Plan." My presentation seemed to be well received by the conference attendees. (If you're speaking at 9:00 am and you can draw people away from the coffee pot, it's generally a good sign.)

Last night was a lot of fun, too. I had the chance to hang out with the truly inspiring Nora Abercrombie -- a talented writer and even more impressive human being. After I met her amazing kids, her adorable partner Gordon, her two mega scary big dogs, and her slightly less ferocious poodle, we hit Payless Shoes, where I bought a really cool pink purse, and then we dined in the revolving restaurant on top of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

So I'm having a fabulous trip. The only tiny wrinkle? I encountered my first-ever grumpy crew on West Jet. To make matters worse, they didn't tell a single joke. Has West Jet been hiring staff away from that other airline? Let's hope not because I go out of my way to fly West Jet.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:45 AM

Edmonton Bound and Email Rebound

Friday, May 13, 2005
I'm hopping on a plane to Edmonton today. I'm speaking at a writers' conference tomorrow. My husband's laptop is accompanying me, so I hope to catch up on the ten million email messages that have accumulated this week while I was experiencing my laptop woes. So if you're waiting to hear back from me about something, I should be in touch soon. (Really.)

| posted by Ann D @ 10:00 AM

The Patron Saint of Laptops Was Listening

Thursday, May 12, 2005
Yes, faithful blog visitors, Apple Canada has agreed that I have suffered long enough (which means, of course, that you, my faithful readers, have suffered long enough, too). They are going to send me a new laptop just as soon as I send them my broken one. This means I will be laptopless for 7 to 10 days. (I know. This will be a personal hell for me, but I am trying to be brave.)

Neil spent the evening moving the critical data from my G4 to his iBook so that I can continue to get some work done while I am computerless. The bulk of my data is on the backup drive, waiting for the new laptop to arrive so that we can hopefully restore my data (and hence the universe) to normal functioning. Neil's hard-drive is almost full, so there wasn't enough room on his system for my stuff plus his stuff, unfortunately. I guess we're electronic packrats as well as real-world packrats.

Anyway, I'm happy that there's a happy ending in sight, but I'm likely to be The Mother of All Head Cases for the remainder of the month of May. However, I will be giving away special presents to celebrate the birth of my laptop when it finally arrives, so be sure to check back regularly. If you're one of the first four people to post in the "laptop birth" thread, you'll win one of those prizes. (It's a G4 -- hence the four prizes. I'm too tired to figure out what those prizes might be, so we'll both be surprised when the big day arrives, okay?)

| posted by Ann D @ 2:05 PM

Attention Apple Canada: My Repair Guy is on Your Team!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005
My really nice computer guy -- an Official Apple Repair Dude -- hasn't even been able to order the part required to repair my laptop because he needs Apple Canada to help him to identify the correct part number, and Apple Canada isn't returning his calls.

I made my first call to Apple Canada's technical support line 48 hours ago and it's impossible to predict at this point when my computer guy will be able to find out what part he needs to order to begin the repair process.

Having been down this road before, I'm not naively assuming that

  • the part will be in stock

  • the part will be back ordered correctly, should it not be in stock

  • the correct part will be shipped when my repair guy is finally able to order the part.

The Apple universe has failed me on all of those fronts in the past.

But it would be nice to think that the game, however frustrating, had at least begun.

It's two days into the game, and no one's even been able to find the puck!

| posted by Ann D @ 2:51 PM

You've Come a Long Way, Laptop!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Have you ever stopped to consider the fascinating history and evolution of the laptop computer?

(I thought I'd post something positive about laptops to prove to the world that I'm not losing perspective on this issue.)

| posted by Ann D @ 7:16 PM

Things You Don't Want to Google

One thing I won't be doing to relax and wind down at the end of the day is Google such terms as "laptop tragedy" (which produced this hit and this hit) and "apple computer lemons" (which produced this hit).

| posted by Ann D @ 7:00 PM

The Stuff of Which Nightmares Are Made

Every person that I have spoken to today has suggested that I rent this episode of Sex and the City tonight.

Meanwhile I keep having flashbacks to the laptop tragedy in Duplex -- the part of the movie where the laptop gets run over by a truck.

Do you think it's possible I could be getting slightly obsessed with this laptop thing?

Can a writer get too attached to her laptop?

It's an interesting question.

| posted by Ann D @ 6:20 PM

An Open Letter to Apple Canada

Dear Apple Canada Customer Service:

At what point do you decide that a customer has suffered enough and finally take her out of her laptop-inflicted misery?

When her laptop has made ten trips into the repair shop? (I'll reach that point tomorrow.)

When her system board, sound card, internal modem, keyboard, and god-knows-what-else have all been replaced?

When I forked over the $4500 Canadian for my Apple Powerbook G4 17" screen plus the $500 for the AppleCare warranty, I naively assumed that I was buying myself peace of mind for the first three years of laptop ownership.

I guess I foolishly assumed that if my machine proved to be a lemon (which this machine clearly is), you would apologize profusely for
(1) betraying my trust in the Apple brand (I wrote 14 books on my previous Apple laptop, you see);

(2) disrupting my workday time and time again (it's hard to write books when your laptop is in the shop; and

(3) taking so long to fix every problem. (It took from last May to last August for your technicians to correctly diagnose and repair my last round of computer problems, something that caused me huge frustration and inconvenience.)

I also assumed you'd decide it would be simpler for you and for me if you were to provide me with a replacement machine since my machine is only 21 months old and it started exhibiting serious problems when it was only 9 months old.

But, Apple, you've really let me down.

And I haven't even raised the issue of the Christmas iPod snafu -- another frustrating chapter in my dealings with your company.

So tell me this: should I go back to The Dark Side -- the land of PCs -- when it's time for me to buy my next laptop -- which, with the way things are going, isn't going to be that long from now?

Or can you offer me some solid reasons for sticking with Apple -- the brand I have grown to love over the past decade?

Respectfully yours,

Ann Douglas
Author, journalist, and formerly euphoric Powerbook G4 17" laptop owner


May 12: Apple Canada has decided to send me a replacement computer. I am very relieved. Thank you, Apple Canada, for restoring my faith in your company's willingness to stand behind its generally excellent products.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:25 PM

From "Pregnancy Brain" to "Laptop Brain"

You know how forgetful you can get when you're pregnant -- something scientists attribute to either pregnancy hormones or a preoccupation with everything that's going on inside your body?

Well, I am suffering from a condition that's similar to the much-talked-about "pregnancy brain" -- "laptop brain".

I was so fixated on my computer-related woes that I dashed out the door this morning and, without thinking, armed the home security system.

Normally, this is the right thing to do, but I had overlooked a small but important detail: my teenage daughter is home from school today, sick with a head cold. So, sure enough, when she came out of her room to use the bathroom, she set off the security system.

Looking on the bright side, I bet this is the last time she'll want to stay home from school with anything less than bubonic plague.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:57 AM

Warning: Stormy Weather Ahead

Monday, May 09, 2005
My Apple Powerbook G4 decided to add some excitement to my life by doing funny tricks this afternoon. Except they weren't very funny to me. I didn't like the rainbow screen effects or the keyboard freeze-ups very much. It looks like the G4 will be going back in the shop again. I think this is Repair Trip 9. I have kind of lost track. As long-term readers of this blog may recall, I do not cope well when my laptop is in the shop. Expect much angst during the days ahead.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:07 PM

The Paperboy Diaries

I tell you, some kid is going to make a million writing a Nanny Diaries-style tell-all memoir of what it's really like to be a paper boy (or girl). Two of my kids are sharing a paper route and some of the stuff that happens on that paper route is truly stranger than fiction. The latest example? One of the customers was complaining about the fact that her newspaper ends up being a little suntanned by the time she gets to it. Perhaps if she put out a tiny beach umbrella for the newspaper, that would solve the problem, don't you think?

| posted by Ann D @ 3:04 AM

The Motherhood Files

Sunday, May 08, 2005
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who are passing through The Mother of All Blogs. I hope you've been suitably pampered and celebrated by your nearest and dearest.

Just a few quick notes from The Motherhood Files:

  • London Free Press reporter Jennifer O'Brien quoted me in her article Battle of the Moms, which ran in yesterday's paper. She was talking about the pressure to live up to impossible -- and increasingly narrow -- standards of mothering perfection.

  • I don't know about you, but I think the Mother's Day articles have made for particularly lively and interesting reading this year. I particularly enjoyed Jennifer Well's memoir/essay Am I a Good Mother? in today's Toronto Star and Katie Allison Granju's brave and gutsy essay about how she had to go to court to prove her fitness as a mother during what can only be described as the divorce from hell -- an essay which ran in today's The New York Times.

  • Tonight at 4:00 pm Vancouver time, I'll be doing a half-hour radio interview about motherhood with CKNW's Rick Forchuk. Anyone who wants to listen online can do so by visiting the station's website and clicking on the "listen live" link at the top of the page.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:42 PM

And Speaking of Things for Sale

Friday, May 06, 2005
Who knew there was such a market for used pregnancy tests?

| posted by Ann D @ 4:13 PM

Happy Mother's Day to the eBay Baseball Mom

Here's hoping the eBay baseball mom gets something extra special for Mother's Day this year -- and most definitely not another baseball.

| posted by Ann D @ 2:27 PM

National Post: What Mothers Are Worth

I'm quoted in Misty Harris' article entitled Mom Worth $164,337 a Year. The article discusses the labor market value (in Canadian dollars) of the work that stay-at-home moms do.

Some of you may decide, after reading this article, that you're long overdue for a raise!



I've just been asked to do two radio interviews on this topic. You can catch me on 570 News with Gary Doyle at 3:10 pm Eastern Time today or CKNW with Stirling Faux at 5:45 pm West Coast time today. (Stirling's Show is syndicated throughout Canada, so listeners in other parts of the country may be able to catch the interview on their local station.) And both radio stations have links on their home pages that allow you to listen live if you happen to reside outside of their regular listening areas.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:20 PM

Toronto Sun: Grace Under Pressure

I was quoted in Vena Eaton's May 3rd Toronto Sun article Grace Under Pressure about the working mom juggling act -- what I like to refer to as the "mother juggle mindset."

I was totally in the right frame of mind to be doing this particular interview. I had to pull off the highway while driving in between Toronto and Ottawa during my recent publicity tour in order to do the interview, and the interview fell smack-dab in the middle of one of the busiest weeks of my year! Grace under pressure indeed....

However, before I pulled back on the highway, I managed to arrange a coffee shop rendezvous with Neil, who works in the area. That was the highlight of my day that day. He is such a great guy and so supportive of my career. I really won the lottery of love the day I decided to flirt with that guy in Grade 10 geography class, way back when.

Okay, I'm going to stop before I set off the sap-o-meter here at Blogger. I'm just feeling a bit happy and sentimental today. Must be the Mother's Day thing.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:14 PM

Not Your Typical Hallmark Mother's Day Message

This Sunday will be my third Mother's Day without my mother.

The first one was awful. I avoided all the malls, turned off the radio, and tried to avoid all the advertising frenzy that surrounds Mother's Day. It hurt too much to hear endless ads about the flower bouquet that would make mom's eyes light up, the restaurant where mom would love to dine with her adoring family this Mother's Day, and the gift that would make mom's Mother's Day just perfect. My Mom was never going to get to celebrate another Mother's Day again, thanks to the success of an earlier advertising campaign.

Last year was merely painful. I missed Mom terribly, but I was able to find quiet ways to honor her throughout the day -- something that made it possible for me to enjoy spending Mother's Day with my own four kids and to take time to celebrate the other significant "mothers" in my life -- those who are still here on earth and those who are no longer living. (I've been lucky enough to be blessed with a fabulous mother-in-law, who understood why I became a basket case while I was riding the grief rollercoaster after my mom's death, and who understood that there's no statute of limitations on the time or intensity of grief. I've also been blessed with two utterly doting and adoring grandmothers -- my Dad's mom, who died ten years ago; and my Mom's mom, who is a total dynamo at 96.)

This year, I am feeling much more at peace with my mother's death -- and her life, too. She struggled with bipolar disorder while she was raising her four children and also battled breast cancer and two unrelated types of lung cancer. I accept and love her for who she was and for all the life lessons I learned by being raised by this complex, challenging, but ultimately very loving woman: persistence, diplomacy, courage, the need to fight for what's right (even if it darned near kills you!), and your obligation to fight for (or to act as a voice for) those who may not be able to speak for themselves.

Mom may not be here with me any longer, but she is very much a part of who I am today.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:24 PM

I just heard the first lawnmower of the season

Thursday, May 05, 2005
The grass only started to turn green last week, so the next door neighbors are kind of jumping the gun a little, in my humble opinion.

When I first heard the machine revving up, I thought it was a snowmobile.

It takes a while to do the mental shifting of seasons up here in Canada.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:12 PM

Yes, you've got the right blog....

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Bec is the one reponsible for the snazzy new look. Pretty cool, eh?

I think I may have to tidy my office now. After all, I can't have the office clutter detracting from the look of the blog.

| posted by Ann D @ 4:48 PM

Eager to Win at Baby Roulette?

Monday, May 02, 2005
These fertility tips from my Having-a-baby.com website will help to tilt the fertility roulette wheel in your favor.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:28 PM

It's My Blogiversary!

gift box

A year ago today, I thought, what the heck. I'm going to start a blog.

Little did I know that I was flirting with an addiction every bit as powerful as -- well, you know.

Anyway, I want to thank each and every person who has posted in my blog, e-mailed me personally, maintained a blog that has inspired me during the past 365 days, or who has befriended me via the blogosphere.

All those people who talk about how impersonal the Internet is and/or the self-absorption of [parent] bloggers certainly aren't hanging out in this neck of the woods.

I've so enjoyed checking out the witty posts (like MomBrain's recent post about the rabid publisher who didn't know how to leave well enough alone), the poignant posts (like the posts I stayed up late into the night reading at Chez Miscarriage and Here be Hippografs and A Little Pregnant), and the laugh-out-loud funny or wonderfully bitter posts (think MUBAR or Postcards from the Mothership or Hello Josephine!).

And, of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg. My list of favorite blogs runneth over....

What a fabulous year it's been.

Happy Blogiversary to you all!

| posted by Ann D @ 9:19 AM

In Praise of Reunions

Do you find that getting together with old friends means more and more to you as the years march along? I certainly feel that way.

Last week while I was in Ottawa, I had the chance to reconnect with Kayren, a friend who moved away from Peterborough back in the mid-1990s.

Well, Kayren showed up at my Ottawa book event with her youngest daughter Gabby in tow. I can't tell you what a thrill it gave me to see Kayren signed up for another tour of duty in Toddlerland. She is such an awesome mom.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:30 AM

BloggerMamaFest! The Unofficial Tour....

Sunday, May 01, 2005
I've spent much of the past two weeks speaking at Ontario bookstores, presenting at parenting shows, delivering parenting workshops and hanging out with three supremely cool bloggers at some of my major ports of call.

As I noted in a previous post, I spent last Sunday afternoon with Marla and Josephine.

On Thursday, I caught up with the mystery blogger in Ottawa. As some of you had guessed, the blogger in question was Danigirl. She came out to my Ottawa Chapters event with a posse of her fellow Ottawa moms.

Dani and I didn't have too long to chat because this was an insanely busy event and I had to do a TV interview during and after my presentation, but we bonded instantly. (Well, I bonded instantly. I haven't checked out Danigirl's blog, yet. For all I know, she came home and blogged about this crazy woman who was so pumped up on Starbucks that she was no longer actually intelligible.)

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting Danigirl and who are wondering what she's like when she's off the Mothership, I can tell you that she's really fun and wonderfully down-to-earth and real. (Those are three of my biggest compliments, if you haven't gathered by now. If I ever meet someone in person and can only come up with the following nice things to say about them -- (1) hardly chewed fingernails at all; (2) impeccable taste in pens; (3) very knowledgeable about minor characters in 1970s sitcoms -- that could be a clue that our meeting didn't go particularly well.)

Oh yeah -- something else you need to know about Danigirl: she's incredibly friendly. I was greeted with this enthusiastic, "Ann?!!!" the moment she walked into the bookstore. I knew in a flash it had to be Danigirl. She looked like someone I had known for a very long time, even though we had only just met. Talk about an instant connection.

Anyway, Danigirl and I swapped "the goods" in a manner that no doubt made people wonder if we were doing some upscale drug deal. I gave her the prize package she won in the recent movie contest; she gave me a gift bag containing an Ottawa fridge magnet and a silver bookmark that will henceforth assume a place of honor in whatever book happens to be gracing my nighttable at present. (Thank you very much, Danigirl!)

I wasn't able to catch the TV coverage of the bookstore event, so I don't know if Danigirl made it on to TV or not. Long-term readers of her blog will recall that she lives in dire fear of being quoted in the press or otherwise attracting the eye of the media.

I headed back to Peterborough on Friday, changed suitcases, and then headed into Toronto for my Saturday Mother of All Toddler Workshops at the Ella Centre for Pregnancy and Parenting. I had great groups at both sessions of the workshop (I even managed to offer some new ideas to the one mom who arrived convinced that no parenting technique known to mankind could possibly work with her toddler!), so I think the workshops went well. I'll know for sure when I get a summary of the course evaluations in a few weeks' time.

After the workshop, Jen swung by and we headed over for the nearest coffee shop for coffee and conversation. I handed over her movie contest winnings and she surprised me by giving me the ultimate grownup goody bag. (Note: To anyone who meets me in future: a gift is not required. Just meeting a fellow blogger is a huge thrill. I am feeling seriously spoiled.) Anyway, Jen managed to find a Cat in the Hat wall clock and some truly decadent hand-pampering products in case I blog or otherwise work my fingers to the bone.

Jen is as witty and smart in real life as she is in her blog. She also has the most soulful eyes imaginable -- the kind that make you want to pour out your heart and soul to her. We talked about motherhood, work, pregnancy (Jen's belly is adorable: some maternity fashion company should hire her as a maternity clothing model, pronto), and all kinds of other stuff. I could have talked to her for hours, but we both needed to switch back into motherhood mode. (A mama can't play hookey in a coffee shop forever, you know!)

So it's been quite the amazing week -- a week in which I managed to meet three of my favourite bloggers on three different days. And tomorrow is going to be another very special day, here at The Mother of All Blogs.

Stay tuned for more about that!

| posted by Ann D @ 2:04 PM