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Happy Writer Moment

Monday, October 31, 2005
Some meetings that I was supposed to go to next week have been cancelled. This means that I have an extra two days of writing time freed up in my schedule. I can't tell you how happy I am. I feel like jumping up and down. I am totally over the moon!

The sleep book writing is going really, really well these days. I've handed in about 75,000 words (what should be the entire manuscript, if I wasn't Little Ms. Wordy). But I've thought of so many things that need to be said on this subject, so I'm going to be going on for another 25,000 words (my word quota, according to she who controls the word budget). I've handed in five very large and juicy chapters. I'm down to the last four chapters, which will be smaller, but very meaty and information packed; plus the appendices (mostly finished) and my introduction and table of contents (which I always love putting together). I am feeling really good about writing and life, and this book in particular. I think it's going to say some new and different things, and summarize a lot of really important parent wisdom about sleep -- insights that I gained while hanging out with the very wise sleep book panel members.

I'll have a lot more to say about the book during the months ahead, but for now, I'm just feeling oh-so-good, loving my writer-life, and savoring that feeling.

| posted by Ann D @ 2:46 PM


Does anyone know of a music equivalent to LibraryThing? At some point, I'd like to add picks from my music collection to my blog, just as LibraryThing now spotlights some of the books I've entered from my library.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:05 AM

Tick tock time change....

It looks like my eight-year-old is going to be late for school this morning. He thought that school was going to be starting an hour later because of the time change. I just discovered he'd gone back to bed. He thought he had all the time in the world....

| posted by Ann D @ 7:57 AM

The Radio Show is on Right Now...

Saturday, October 29, 2005
Join us!


Just finished the radio show. Dr. Bennett is amazing! I'm going to have to start tuning into this show on a regular basis. Her questions were really focused and insightful and her interview style is really warm and engaging. I really enjoyed being a guest on Health Matters.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:20 PM

Book People, Take Note!

This is the coolest thing I've found online since I discovered the blog. You can catalog your library and check out other people's libraries.

Needless to say, I have only entered a fraction of my book collection (I'm writing, not playing these days), but you can check out some of what's on my bookshelves if you click through via the sidebar at the bottom of my blog. Then search by my name ("Ann Douglas").

I found out about this great toy from my friend Dawn.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:22 AM

You Snooze, You Lose -- At Work

Friday, October 28, 2005
A story in today's Globe and Mail reports that nearly one-third of Canadians surveyed say that they spend between three and 10 hours of their work week struggling to stay awake. The result? They end up being cranky with co-workers or they mentally sleep-walk through their day.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:20 AM

Fall Denial

I'm wearing a t-shirt and Birkenstocks, along with one of my favorite denim skirts. The cheerful light color of my purse (apple green) sings "summer" -- a major fashion faux pas to women of my grandmother's generation. And when I put on another layer to stay warm, it's going to be a sweater rather than a coat. It's not that I have issues with Fall. I actually like this time of year. It's just that I've been on the planet long enough to know that there's another season hiding behind Fall, and I'm not nearly as fond of that season, if you catch my drift. "Drift" as in "snow drift".

So how about you? Have you caught a case of "Fall denial", too?

| posted by Ann D @ 8:04 AM

Mom University: Dawn Friedman, This Woman's Work

Thursday, October 27, 2005
fit to deliver book cover
Mom University is back with an interview with Dawn Friedman, a writer who has been published in such magazines as Brain, Child and Utne.com and who is the creator of the highly popular blog this woman's work.

Dawn and I chatted about an article of hers that originally appeared in Brain, Child; got picked up by Utne; and then ran in Ode.

The article -- "You're not my boss" -- talks about a radical parenting movement known as Taking Children Seriously (TCS) which is based in libertarian political philosophy. As movement founder Sarah Lawrence notes in the article, "Its most distinctive feature is the idea that it is possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will, and that they are entitled to the same rights, respect and control over their lives as adults."

Ann: When did you write this piece?

Dawn: In the summer or fall of 2002.

Ann: What led you to write it?

Dawn: I had been fascinated by non-coercive parenting and while I think their extremism is, well, extreme, there is also value in looking at conflicts with our children from their unique perspective. While I personally never got much out of hanging with a group of nothing but TCS parents, I have learned a lot from individuals who practice TCS and it informs my parenting to the better, I think.

Ann: Why did you chose to send me this particular link when I asked you to send me a link to something you had written?

Dawn: Because out of everything I have online (which is not that much compared to what's available off-line), this is the piece of which I'm most proud.

Ann: Where my readers can find out more about you and your work?

Dawn: At this woman's work.

Ann: Anything else you want to say?

Dawn: Mom University -- nifty! :)

| posted by Ann D @ 8:03 AM

Potty Perfect or Toilet Tyranny?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005
"Good parents have their toddlers trained by two...."

Has someone blown the dust off a 1940s childrearing manual?

No. it's the Material Girl herself telling the moms and dads of the world how to do toilet training her way.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:12 PM

Talking Motherhood on the Airwaves (Join Me!)

Health Matters Radio Show
I am going to be a guest on Health Matters this Sunday at 12:00 pm Eastern Time. You can listen via the Internet. You can also call into the show toll-free at 1-888-514-2100. I'm going to be talking about pregnancy, postpartum, motherhood, and life after baby.

The show is hosted by Dr. Shoshana Bennett, a licensed psychologist who founded Postpartum Assistance for Mothers in 1987 after her second undiagnosed postpartum illness. She is President of Postpartum Support International and the author of Beyond the Blues: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression.

If you have time, I'd encourage you to call in or listen in. I'm passionate about these particular topics -- particularly about the need to support mothers as they make the transition to motherhood. I'd love to hear about your early motherhood experiences: what you found most challenging during the early months of your life as a mother; who supported you the most and the least; and what you found most surprising and most revealing about motherhood and yourself.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:43 PM

Talking about Tim at Tim's

I took my Dad out to Tim Horton's this morning.

While we were there, Dad happened to mention that he once received a penalty in a high school hockey game for body checking Tim Horton. (Tim Horton was playing for the Cochrane team; my Dad was playing for the Kapuskasing team.)

That is definitely the coolest story anyone has ever told me over coffee at Tim Horton's.

| posted by Ann D @ 7:38 PM

Say Mama!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
why babies do that cover

It always seemed to me to be one of the most unfair things about motherhood. You carry around a baby for 9 1/2 months, go through labor and childbirth, lose sleep for months on end, and then -- when that baby starts talking -- one of the first words out of that baby's mouth is "dada," not "mama."

In her wonderful new book Why Babies Do That, Jennifer Margulis explains that your baby isn't being unappreciative for everything you have done for her. She simply finds it a lot easier to say "dada" than "mama."

Margulis notes that most babies also go a stage in which they call everything -- and everyone -- "dada."

"Once a baby actually says 'dada' to mean "daddy," she may so delight in the association of the word with her father that she will call every man who walks down the street 'dada,' [a] disconcerting trend for parents but one that makes good sense to the baby. In this case, "dada" means "man" or even "person," and perhaps "father."

| posted by Ann D @ 10:25 AM

Rosa Parks

Monday, October 24, 2005
Just received a CNN news alert in my email box stating that Rosa Parks has died at the age of 92.

If you've ever had any doubt about the difference that one person can make, the example Rosa Parks set with her life should eliminate those doubts.

Just think about the tremendous forces of change she set in motion by refusing to give up her seat on that bus in Montgomery, Alabama -- a simple action that led to her subsequent arrest and triggered a 381-day bus boycott organized by civil rights pioneer Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Often described as being "the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement", Rosa Parks once said: "I think it's important to believe in yourself and, when you feel like you have the right idea, to stay with it."

Wise words indeed.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:40 PM

In Praise of Stalkers

I am happy to report that my beloved editor is now officially stalking me for sleep book chapters.

This is good news because I can tell all the people who are stalking me for other reasons that they have to back off because someone else has prior stalking rights.

This means that I'm (by necessity) ignoring most of my email and voice mail messages right now.

If you absolutely need to get a message to me, you could try aiming a paper airplane in my general direction. (Go with waterproof paper because it's raining in Peterborough today.)

You could always send an email via my beloved stalker-editor, but I suspect she'll hold it hostage until I get the next chapter in.

(Kids -- I promise I will still accept messages from you. Just knock twice and slip your notes under my office door. If you bring coffee, I'll even break for some mother-child bonding time.)

You know, having a stalker is highly underrated. It's nice to know that someone cares this much about my book. Of course, I occasionally get a rather frightening mental image of being fed into a printing press or a paper shredder, but that only serves to help keep me motivated to keep writing.

Stalkers. Everyone should have one.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:59 PM

A SIDS Mom Weighs in on the Tummy Sleeping Issue

Sunday, October 23, 2005
This comment from a SIDS mom who posted in the comments section in response to Sarah Gilbert's recent post about tummy sleeping after being quoted in The New York Times article on this subject provides a very wise perspective on the issue.

Given all the things we can't do to keep our kids safe, why take a chance on one of the things we can? the mom in question, Laurie Mamola, asks.

Here's a quote from her post.

"I am a parent of eight children, all tummy sleepers, all nursed on demand, we don't smoke, drink or do drugs, all slept with us and all thrived. Except my 8th. I worried more about her, she slept in her own crib, next to me. She slept on her tummy and she died in her sleep at 39 days old....I, too, am an experienced mother who can make up her own mind without a bunch of doctors telling me not to do what mothers have done for millenia, nor what I've already successfully done for 20 years of parenting. BUT, I've learned more about SIDS than ANY parent would ever want to know. And here's the reason for putting babies on their backs. It's called a triple risk model. Imagine 3 circles all intersecting in one small triangular section in the middle. Each circle representing one risk factor, all of which need to be present for SIDS to occur. One circle represents the baby's age, birth to 1 year. Risk One. The other represents external challenges to the baby: overheating, deep, REM sleep, overheating, re-breathing, all of which can occur when a baby is on their tummy. Risk Two. The third is the great unknown....The theory is then, eliminate Risk Two, and baby has a better chance to live. Honestly, many babies die at their mama's breast, in a stroller, in a front pack, on daddy's shoulder, so this is not an absolute, but if I had to do it over again and I could have eliminated the one last risk factor that IS known, I would have put my precious, beloved Sophia on her back. You can visit Sophia and read her story on sidsfamilies.com, Heaven's Nursery, page 78."

| posted by Ann D @ 8:10 PM

The Freelance Life

Well, this totally made my week -- and it's been quite the week.

I joined PWAC back in 1992, after following the advice of a writer buddy who told me that I couldn't use the proceeds from my first major national article sale for just anything (e.g., groceries, baby clothes, diapers): I had to use the money for something special, like a membership in a national writers' association. I've been a proud member of the Periodical Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) ever since, and I served as PWAC national president during the membership year 2001-2002. Some of my closest friends are writers I've met at PWAC annual general meetings. It's an amazing organization made up of fascinating people who have one thing in common -- a shared passion for writing. If you're a Canadian freelancer who is interested in swapping market information with other writers or simply getting energized -- or re-energized -- about the world's most fabulous profession, PWAC is the organization for you.

American freelancers may want to consider joining the American Association of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). I belong to that organization, too, and have learned a tremendous amount about the business aspects of freelancing as a result of rubbing shoulders with some of North America's most successful freelance writers.

I also belong to -- and highly recommend -- The Writers' Union of Canada and The Authors' Guild to writers who are interested in "the book business." Both organizations publish excellent newsletters, booklets, and other resources that can be invaluable in learning how to make smart business decisions as a writer.

I've included links to some other resources that may be of interest to writers (both freelance writers and authors) on the Links page of my Author Incubator website.

And here's an advance heads up re: a course that I'll be offering on March 4/5 through Trent University: I'm offering a 16 hour workshop over a two day period (Saturday and Sunday) entitled "Publish and Prosper: The Savvy Writer's Guide to Thriving in Today's Freelance Writing Market" This no-nonsense guide to making it as a freelance writer will cover all the basics involved in launching a successful career as a freelance writer: finding magazine, newspaper, and online markets for your work; investigating other profitable sidelines like speaking, consulting, teaching, book writing, and freelance radio or TV work; mastering the strategies that successful freelancers use to market and publicize their businesses; managing relationships with magazine, newspaper, and book editors and other writing clients; and dealing with the business aspects of thriving as a freelancer: budgeting, managing income peaks and valleys, dealing with contract negotiations, and handling intellectual property issues. So if you think you might be interested in taking this course, you may want to pencil it on to your calendar now.

| posted by Ann D @ 2:45 PM

Thanks for the Sudbury Hospitality!

Thanks to all you amazing Sudbury folks, who showed me such a good time while I was in your northern paradise. (I got to see a lot of your city, thanks to all the wrong turns I took while I was getting in and out of town. Yes, I had a hard time finding my way out of town, too!) Anyway, I promised to post some links to some bonus background material that may be of interest to those of you who are interested in the research related to best-practices in school-aged childcare programs. Here is a copy of my Powerpoint presentation and the accompanying handout from the City of Toronto's Middle Year's Conference in 2004. Enjoy!

| posted by Ann D @ 1:36 PM

If The You Know What Fits

Saturday, October 22, 2005
I'm giving two presentations here in Sudbury tomorrow.

I remembered everything I needed to bring except one thing.

Yep, I will be wearing my business suit with Birkenstocks.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:46 AM

Sleep Talk

Friday, October 21, 2005
This article talks about how some parents are choosing to disregard the research which shows that the safest sleep position for most newborns and young infants is on their backs, and are choosing to place those babies to sleep on their tummies instead. The article cites a BabyCenter.com poll of 24,000 parents which found that 42% of parents put their babies to sleep on their stomachs and 43% put their babies to sleep on their backs -- this despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading health authorities (including the Canadian Paediatric Society) have been recommending the "back to sleep" position since 1994.

Sarah Gilbert, editor of Blogging Baby, notes that she has been using the stomach-sleeping position with her children and states in the article that "The Web consensus is that it is okay to do so." (Fellow Blogging Baby editor Jay Allen also has a post on this topic here.)

Erica Lyon, a newborn-care instructor and the director of Manhattan's RealBirth Center says: "I'm very sympathetic to the mother who is so sleep-deprived that she puts the baby on its belly knowing that all the experts recommend not to. The role of the professional is to say 'these are the recommendations and this is why.' The role of the parent is to think critically and apply those recommendations in a way that makes their life manageable."

An American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson quoted in the story acknowledged that a mother has a right to make her own choices, and that there are no guarantees where SIDS is concerned. You can follow all the SIDS recommendations to the letter and still experience the tragedy of having a baby die of SIDS.

What the article fails to point out is that there is some sensible middle ground here. You don't have to find yourself stuck between a rock (not getting any sleep because your baby doesn't like sleeping on his back) and a dangerous place (increasing your baby's risk of SIDS by putting him to bed on his tummy). You can make the back-sleeping position more baby-friendly by swaddling your newborn (just don't overheat your baby), by using soothing sounds, by using motion to your advantage, and so on. You can also ask other people in your life to support you -- to help you to get the sleep you need during this exhausting phase of parenthood. The situation doesn't have to be as black or white as this article makes it appear.

One final point: part of being a parent is making difficult or unpopular choices in so far as your child is concerned. If your child is sick and needs medication, you have to tell him to take the medication, even if he hates taking medicine. If your eight year old hates brushing his teeth, you've got to find a way to get those teeth clean. Well, part of being the parent of a newborn is making the best, healthiest choices for your newborn. Your baby might not "like" being in a car seat, but you don't give your baby the choice to ride around in the car in your arms instead. Your newborn might not "like" sleeping on his back, but there are a lot of things you can do to help him to adjust to that sleeping position short of allowing him to sleep in a position that has been proven to be riskier for babies.

For more on the back to sleep position, see

Safe Sleep and Your Baby -- Summarizes some of the key risk factors.
Infant Sleep Position and SIDS -- A detailed FAQ on infant sleep position for health-care providers.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:19 PM

Opinionated Parenting

Thursday, October 20, 2005
How cool to find a smart new blog featuring two of my long-term favorite bloggers, Mother-in-Chief and Laid-Off Dad! Right now, they're talking about stressed out parents and stressed out kids. Pour yourself a Starbucks venti anything (the ultimate mother-stress fuel, in my humble opinion) and swing by and check out the blow-by-blow action!

| posted by Ann D @ 5:49 PM

News from Your Resident Cinderella

Last night I received the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce 2005 Peterborough Business Excellence Award in the microbusiness category. This is the category reserved for small businesses with less than 10 employees. It was a huge thrill to be recognized in the business community because often writers have a hard time being taken seriously as business people. Last night, I felt like Cinderella at the ball (and, yes, I took my own Prince Charming along to celebrate with me). It was an amazing feeling!

| posted by Ann D @ 8:10 AM

"Just Enough" is Good Enough

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Don't try to be the best in all areas of your life: go for good enough. Striving for all-round perfection will simply put you on the fast track to burnout, say Harvard Business School professors Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson. Be sure to check out this lengthy excerpt from their book Just Enough. I found this section particularly insightful:

Maximization does not work as a measure of success
What is the right measure of success in your eyes? What is it for your company or school? Is being really successful inevitably a matter of being the best, highest, youngest, richest, smartest, and prettiest on every scale you know -- that is, celebrity winner-take-all? Such standards are maximized forms of accomplishment. Simply put, maximization is any form of going for the extreme -- genius intelligence, superhuman effort, the best house, the unique lifestyle, and the most profit possible. Pick up any magazine and you can find a glamorized message of "making it" that assumes not only extreme performance but maximized reward: great wealth, drop dead attractiveness, all the attention, and possible omnipotence.

Maximized measures begin to start counting success at the limits, only after you've gone further than most other people. This leaves individuals and organizations facing a very large territory of failure and a very small sweet spot in which they can actually feel they've won. And the spot changes with each new competitive achievement -- moving targets. No wonder we're stressed out.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:18 AM

Book signing smarts

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Traci DePree has some great advice on surviving the dreaded book signing. (Hey, her term, not mine!) Her best advice? Don't take it personally if not even your friends and family members show up for the event. Book signings are a crapshoot.

You can find some other good book-signing tips online, like bringing breath mints and some inexpensive giveaways.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:32 PM

Pregnancy Urban Legends

If you ever needed proof that you can't believe everything that you read on online, Snopes.com's pregnancy urban legends page should give you all the proof you need -- and then some.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:32 AM

Momspiration, the Sequel

The other day, I linked to the blog of a mom whose blog I found totally inspiring. Since that time, I've been thinking about all the moms I find really inspiring, and what it is about them that inspires me.

For one thing, I am totally inspired by the way that mothers can move mountains. Sometimes it's because they want to; more often, it's because they have to. They discover that there's a terrible injustice being done or that the system is broken, and every fibre in their bodies tells them that they have to do something about it.

I'm also inspired by the ability that mothers have to love and forgive -- and how this carries over into the social justice work that many mothers do, in their families, in their communities, and around the world.

What inspires you about the mothers you know? How has motherhood changed you as a person? What have you learned from other mothers?

| posted by Ann D @ 10:09 AM

Style Outcast Central

According to AOL's baby name tool, Ann has joined the ranks of "the style outcasts," along with "Annette" and "Anita."

Well, at least I have good taste in purses.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:50 AM

Airplane Ear

I'm still dealing with airplane ear in my right ear. I can't hear out of that ear at all, and my balance and coordination are even more out of whack than usual, which is really saying something. If the situation doesn't improve by the end of the day, I guess I'll have to call the doctor. (I hate making "frivolous" doctor's appointments for myself -- but, of course, if it were one of my kids suffering from airplane ear, we would have been there days ago. Crazy, I know.)

| posted by Ann D @ 9:44 AM

Much Ado About Doulas

Sunday, October 16, 2005
I've been meaning to send out some congratulatory hugs via the blog to Susan Martensen, who recently took on the role of President of DONA International, the world's premier doula association. Susan, who is based in Ottawa, has been a birth and postpartum doula since 1990 and is a mentor for DONA International's Postpartum Doula Program. She has participated in training birth and postpartum doulas since 1995. I had the opportunity to meet Susan in person while I was at the DONA International Conference in Washington DC this past summer, and I can tell you that she is everything you could ever want in a doula -- someone knowledgeable, nurturing, friendly, and kind -- and who has a great sense of humor, too. Congratulations, Susan, on your election to the position of President of DONA International. I'm sure it's going to be a great year for both DONA and you personally.

Those of you who are big fans of doula care (and you can include me as a member of that club!) may be interested in knowing that DONA hosts a public discussion forum for anyone who is interested in discussing issues related to pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

Want to find out more about doulas? Here's a useful article on the do's and don'ts of hiring a doula and here's an excellent summary of the benefits of doula care.

You may want to check out the doula sections of my books The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby and to read The Doula Advantage and Mothering the Mother.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:20 AM


Saturday, October 15, 2005
This Mom inspires me. Just reading her blog re-energizes me and realizes me that there's no battle I wouldn't fight to make school boards, the health system, and other powers-that-be do right by my kids. And each time I fight one of these battles, I learn more about the system -- information that makes it easier for me to help one of my kids the next time they need a mom-advocate in their court.

| posted by Ann D @ 4:02 PM

Editors, Take Note....

The shock of Tom and Katie's news has started to wear off. Like many of you, I've been following the reports (both online and offline) about what Katie can expect when she gives birth in accordance with Scientology birthing practices. I also read the very funny story over at Slate in which TV critic Dana Stevens asks some tough questions about the conception of the Holmes-Cruise love child -- definitely worth a read.

What I'm wondering is whether we're going to see a new twist on the celebrity pregnancy book next year -- the celebrity Scientology birthing guide. Apparently, there's a growing market in Hollywood....

| posted by Ann D @ 11:51 AM


I should mention that the group blog that I participate in has been newly revitalized, thanks to some technowizardry from our blogmother Lynn Siprelle (of The New Homemaker fame). If you read Mamasink.com, you'll find postings from a motley assortment of writer/mamas, including Andi Buchanan, Katie Allison Granju, Dawn Friedman, Gayle Brandeis, Marrit Ingam, Adrienne Martini, and others.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:08 AM

Internet Generation Next

The Conference Board of Canada has a new study about parental concerns about Internet use in the classroom.

The researchers note:

"Nearly 56 percent of parents are concerned that their kids view only age-appropriate content when logging on from the classroom. Their second biggest worry -- voiced by half of all parent -- is about privacy and identity theft. Unsolicited email ranks a very close third. Some 49 percent of parents are irritated that they and their kids are bombarded by unsolicited email. Parents are also concerned about the spreading of viruses through file sharing and spyware devices (the monitoring of personal computers by unknown third parties.)"

Having heard my kids talk about how computer-savvy kids manage to bypass firewalls set up by the school board's computer techs, I think there's definitely reason for concern. Other studies by organizations such as the Ottawa-based Media Awareness Network have proven time and time again that today's generation of kids leave their parents in the cyberdust, when it comes to understanding and knowing how to manipulate new and emerging technologies.

And those of you with babies and toddlers -- just wait until your kids stop trying to drool on the computer mouse and actually start using it for what it's designed to do.... The computer world ain't seen nothing yet!

| posted by Ann D @ 10:55 AM

The Ann Road Show, continued....

Friday, October 14, 2005
I've got events in Bridgenorth, Hamilton, and Sudbury coming up in the next two weeks. Here's the scoop, just in case you (or someone you know) lives in one of these communities and might be interested in coming out to one of my events:

  • "Raising a Reader: Literacy for Life," Bridgenorth United Church, Bridgenorth, Ontario, Oct. 20, 7 pm

  • Hamilton Prenatal Health Fair, Hamilton, Ontario, Oct. 25, 3-8 pm

  • Nickel Belt Ontario Early Years Centre, Sudbury, Ontario, Oct. 22, workshops for parents and caregivers
  • | posted by Ann D @ 3:16 PM

    Monkeying Around

    While I was in Winnipeg, I had the chance to spend a few hours at the McNally Robinson bookstore at Grant Park plaza. (McNally Robinson is bookselling powerhouse -- a truly inspiring independent bookstore success story. They've also become a Canadian cultural icon.)

    While I was in the store, I had the opportunity to hang out in the children's department with some parents and kids (e.g., two extremely adorable toddlers -- Katie and Seth), doing media interviews on a variety of health and parenting-related issues.

    I also had the chance to meet Tory McNally, a member of the second generation of bookselling McNallys. (I had the pleasure of meeting her mother, Holly McNally, during my first trip to the store back in 1999.) Tory and her staff made me feel completely at ease and pretty much let me turn their children's department into my "home away from home" for a couple of hours. It was pretty cool to hang out in the forest in the children's department, with stuffed monkeys swinging over my head. It felt just like home!

    | posted by Ann D @ 9:46 AM

    Quick Check-In From Me....

    Thursday, October 13, 2005
    It was great to hear from Leanne, who sent me an email earlier today to let me know that she has really missed "the blog."

    I have not updated in the past week because I have been insanely busy.

    I was in Ottawa last Friday presenting at the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths conference. (I was speaking about how losing a child through stillbirth affects the entire landscape of parenting.)

    As fate would have it, Friday marked the nine year anniversary of the day I found out that my daughter had died in utero. She was stillborn on October 9th, 1996.

    After I arrived home from Ottawa after a really bad "wrong turn" (I ended up in Arnprior by mistake!), Neil and I and the kids headed up north for a final weekend of cottaging. We still have a bit of cleaning up to do, but we won't be sleeping over any longer because the cottage isn't winterized. It makes me sad to have to shut up for another season, especially because I didn't get to spend much time at the cottage this year. (I spent most of the summer in the city working on the sleep book.)

    On Tuesday, I flew to Winnipeg at 8:00 am. For some insane reason, the airport shuttle insisted on picking me up at 2:00 am. (I got up at 1:00 am so that I could have my shower.) That left me with a lot of spare time to kill at the airport. Fortunately, the relaxation gods were smiling upon me. When I was in line at Starbucks at around 6:00 am on Tuesday morning, I happened to bump into my friend and neighbour Janet. We both thoroughly enjoyed the time to "do coffee" together while we were waiting for our respective flights -- hers to Bermuda, mine to Winnipeg.

    I arrived home last night at midnight. (Air Canada was late, the shuttle was late, and we got stuck in traffic forever.)

    I managed to pick up The Mother of All Head Colds at some point during the past week. Flying with a head cold is pretty miserable, as I found out first-hand last night. I ended up holding on to my ears as the airplane descended. OUCH! (So this is why you should never travel with a baby with an ear infection. Now I know.)

    | posted by Ann D @ 11:37 PM

    Some Extreme Dieting Facts...

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005
    That are worth boning up on.

    | posted by Ann D @ 11:22 PM

    Malaysian Idol, I presume?

    Sunday, October 02, 2005
    The Associated Press reports that the Malaysian government is holding a lullaby contest for wives.

    "This is important," said one government official. "A husband returns home tired and when the wife sings to him, he can sleep soundly. When he awakes, he is a happy man and this will help build a great relationship between husband and wife."

    The contest rules state that contestants must dress decently (no hiring Britney as a wardrobe consultant) and that they must confine themselves to songs that are suitable for a family audience (no crooning Barry White tunes).

    | posted by Ann D @ 1:08 PM

    Tom Cruise's Worst Nightmare

    The Austin American-Statesman describes Marrit Ingman, author of Inconsolable: How I Threw My Mental Health Out With the Diapers, as Tom Cruise's worst nightmare. Congratulations, Marrit!

    | posted by Ann D @ 11:43 AM

    Banned Books Week

    Saturday, October 01, 2005
    If you're feeling in a feisty mood and you want to do something in honor of Banned Books Week (which ends today), you could try purchasing a book from the American Library Association's list of the most-banned books from 1990-2000 or 2004 or Forbidden Library's list of most-banned books -- and then giving that book to an ultra-conservative friend.

    Then, in a few months' time, you could point out that your friend has had a banned book living in their house all these months. (A really dangerous book like Where's Waldo, James and the Giant Peach, or 1984.)

    John Berry III once stated in Library Journal, "If your library is not 'unsafe,' it probably isn't doing its job." Can you imagine visiting a library that was only filled with safe, state-approved ideas? Now that's a scary thought....

    | posted by Ann D @ 1:59 PM