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Coffee Musings

Monday, February 28, 2005
Now I can see why Carrie from Sex and the City spent so much time writing at Starbucks. It's a lot easier to write in a coffee shop than it is to write when you're at home. There are fewer distractions and there's a bottomless pot of fresh coffee. I tried it this morning and I got tons of work done.

Now my fellow Canucks may be wondering why I didn't hit Tim Horton's. Well, for one thing. I've decided I like the ambience and the coffee at Starbucks better. And then there's the fact that Tim's is running this contest in which they're encouraging guys to write in with funny stories about those annoying things that women do. Well, I didn't want to risk being annoying (gals, you know how easily that can happen!), so I decided I'd better stick with Starbucks for now.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:55 AM

The Name Game

Sunday, February 27, 2005
I read a baby name article in today's Toronto Star. The article pointed out that BabyNameWizard.com has declared "Ann" to be one of the girls' names that is headed for "fashion oblivion." The others are Carol, Janet, Joyce, and Nancy. (Of course, I couldn't help but notice that they didn't pick on the "Anne's" of the world. Was this an oversight or an attempt to spark division in the "Ann vs. Anne" ranks, much like what happened after the publication of Anne of Green Gables? You have to wonder.)

And as for the boy names that are deemed to be at the peak of uncoolness, I've got bad news for you if you're a Donald, Gene, Gerald, Glenn, or Ray. It's game over for you, too, buddy. But then again, not everyone thinks the name Ray is synonymous with nerdiness. And there certainly have been some very famous and successful Donalds, Genes, Geralds and Glenns. At a time when some people are naming their kids Fifi-Trixibelle (Bob Geldof/Paula Yates), Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin), and Dweezil (Frank Zappa), then what's so wrong with those slightly geekier but decidedly more normal names?

There can be a downside to picking a name made trendy by your favorite celebrity (although I suspect not too many people will be rushing out to call their sons Cruz, given all the heat Victoria -- the former Posh Spice -- and David Beckham have taken after giving that name to their son). If a name is too popular, to many other babies may end up with the same name. Consider this comment from Carole, a 34-year-old mother of two whom I interviewed for The Mother of All Baby Books (U.S. edition)/(Canadian edition): "We initially picked the name Caitlin, but by the time our daughter was born, the world was -- pardon the pun -- crawling with Caitlins!"

So now that you know that the name "Ann" has been declared out of vogue, you may decide that it's actually your best bet for a baby name. I've been test-driving the name for 41 years and it's worked well for me. It's easy to pronounce, easy to spell, it goes with pretty much any last-name, and it looks good on a business card. What more can you ask for from a name?

| posted by Ann D @ 12:53 PM

Ann Douglas, Girl Archeologist!

Saturday, February 26, 2005
I've spent the past four hours saving files from one folder to another in Word -- and I've barely begun the archeological dig that is involved in uncovering everything that I've squirreled away in electronic format over the past 10 years or so. Anything that I wrote before that time is no longer accessible to me electronically -- unless, of course, I want to figure out how to get the stuff on floppy disks into my CD drive. Frankly, I think that would give me a very bad headache. Besides, I've grown tremendously both as a writer and as a parent since I first started writing about parenting and pregnancy 17 years ago. I don't think that much of what I wrote back in the late 1980s would be useful to the world anymore -- except, perhaps, for The Mom Archives.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:37 PM

Life and Death Stuff

Emily of Been There is grieving the death of her favorite biology teacher, but she's also thinking about how important it is to make the most of the time we have with our loved ones.

I think this is the lesson most of us take away from grief after we work through all the pain of letting go of someone we loved. I know when I first lost someone who mattered hugely in my life, I momentarily considered never loving deeply again because it was so painful to have to let that person go. But of course, grief teaches us the opposite lesson. Instead of protecting ourselves from experiencing the pain and suffering of loss by refusing to invest in relationships, grief teaches us to love with everything we've got during the time that we have.

Or at least that's the lesson that I've taken away from the losses that I've experienced: love wholeheartedly: don't hold anything back.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:18 AM

Shopping Excuse Number.....Oops, I've Lost Track

I just picked up some fabulous end-of-season bargains at Curvaceous Clothing. It's the first time I've shopped there, but there's been quite a buzz around town lately about the clothes that can be found in this particular clothing boutique. So if you happen to be a voluptuous, full-figured woman and you're passing through Peterborough one of these days, make sure you set aside time in your travel itinerary to drop by. Purse aficionados of any size will also consider it a worthy pitstop. The store carries some very fun and funky handbags.

What was great about this morning's trip was it was a total walk-by shopping experience. I hadn't intended to go shopping at all, but I happened to be in the right place with 15 minutes of spare time. How could I not take advantage of the opportunity to check out the store? And when I noticed that the mark-down rack featured gorgeous clothes for as little as $15 -- well, how could I say no?

| posted by Ann D @ 1:05 AM

For Those of You Who Are Keeping Score...

Friday, February 25, 2005
...the book/publicity tour curse struck again while I was out of town.

Once again, Neil had to take a day off work to care for a sick kid while I was on tour. (I'm not quite sure why it almost always works out this way, but it does.)

It must be part of the Murphy's Law that applies to mother-authors.

| posted by Ann D @ 5:37 PM

Flower Power

I was driving across town a few minutes ago when I spotted a little boy carrying a bunch of flowers under his arm. He was clearly on his way home from a shopping trip with his father and his younger brother because his father was carrying some other shopping bags. I was taking note of just how careful the little boy was being with the flowers (they were all wrapped up, so clearly they were meant as a gift for his mom or some other special someone) when the little boy suddenly got a mischievious look on his face and changed the angle at which he was carrying the flowers. He started pointing the flowers at his brother, machine-gun style, and saying, "Bang bang."

I had forgotten that for some little boys of a certain age, practically anything can be turned into a gun. I've even seen little boys bend Barbie dolls at a 90 degree angle so that they can be used as guns -- or build guns out of LEGO. Where there's a will, there's a way.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:07 PM

Home Again

I'm back home again after my whirlwind trip to Ottawa. I managed to squeeze in an interview with The Ottawa Sun right before my presentation at Success by Six.

The group I spoke to was terrific. People laughed at my jokes (even the really bad ones) and seemed to enjoy what I had to say. (I was talking about "The Secrets of Effective Parenting: What Calm and Confident Parents Know." Of course, I pointed out right at the start that there's no perfect all-knowing parent out there, although you might know someone who thinks he or she fits the bill!) :-)

After my presentation, I had the chance to reconnect with my friend and mentor Bobbi before heading off to the train station to hop the train back to Peterborough. (I got there about 10 minutes before the train left. I wanted to enjoy every minute in Ottawa!)

I discovered that I left a few items at the hotel, but the amazing staff in housekeeping are going to ship them to me. The only other other major faux pas I committed during my trip was mistaking body wash for conditioner in the shower one morning. That gave my hair a bit of a Rosanne Rosanna-Danna look. (I thought it was the dry winter air until I read the body wash bottle label a little more carefully the next morning. Then the frizzy hair suddenly made sense.)

| posted by Ann D @ 10:49 AM

In Media Mama Mode

Thursday, February 24, 2005
The six media interviews that I had scheduled for yesterday turned into eight media interviews. Talk about a whirlwind day.

I started out by doing an interview with Joanne Richard from The Toronto Sun via e-mail while I was eating my breakfast in my hotel room.

Then Lilo -- the author escort employed by the publicity firm contracted by Wiley Canada to coordinate publicity for my tour -- whisked me off to Breakfast at The New RO to tape a parenting segment with Karen Solomon. Karen and I talked about why it's okay to be a less than perfect parent. I had some tough competition on the show: the grapefruit guru from Florida and his amazing grapefruit creations: a grapefruit basket, a grapefruit palm tree, and other amazing grapefruit creations that have to be seen to believed.

After that, Lilo and I were off to CHRI FM for a 15 minute interview with Lorne Anderson. Lorne and I talked about the challenges facing today's generation of parents.

Then Lilo and I headed over to Rogers TV for an interview with Catherine Marion and Derick Fage of Daytime. Catherine is one of the moms I interviewed while I was researching the Canadian edition of The Mother of All Parenting Books, so it was a huge thrill to be interviewed by her. She is a fabulous interviewer: very funny and extremely enthusiastic. She is a natural when it comes to TV -- definitely a rising star in the Ottawa TV market. And her co-host, Derick, has a great sense of humor. (He was a very good sport when Catherine and I broke the bad news to him about how his sex life is likely to change after his first baby arrives later this year.) While I was at Daytime, I also hang out in the green room with the grapefruit guru. I stopped feeling threatened by his cooler on-air props and focused on getting grapefruit recipes to try at home -- liked baked pink grapefruit.

A last minute interview request from the Ottawa Citizen meant that I was forced to have lunch at the Chateau Laurier because it was conveniently located and would make a good backdrop for the photoshoot. You can all break out your tissues now and shed some tears for the sacrifices I have to make on my publicity tours, having to dine out at places like this. Working lunches can be tough. The reporter who interviewed me, Rebecca Leu from the Ottawa Citizen, was lovely. She's a journalism intern from Carleton. The photographer who accompanied her on the assignment, Rod MacIvor, was equally great to work with. He has a fabulous sense of humour and managed to get a great shot of me holding my book. (It's hard to get an inspired shot of an author holding a book. Trust me. I've seen a lot of those photos.)

After the photo shoot, the next pitstop was CHIN Multicultural Radio. My interviewer was program director Gary Michaels, a total charmer and very lively and personable interviewer. I think I spent more time laughing during the interview than answering questions. (Just for the record, no alcohol was consumed during my working lunch.)

My next interview of the day was with Karen Robock from Glow Magazine. She interviewed me for a story for the magazine's May/June issue.

My final stop of the day was at CJOH TV, where to got to reconnect with one of the nicest makeup artists in the business (unfortunately, I don't know her name) and to tape an interview with CJOH's Leigh Chapple.

Catherine Marion was available for dinner, so the two of us hit Luxe. The food was great.

Today, I'll be speaking at a sold-out event organized by Success by Six. I'm really looking forward to the event. Ottawa is a fun place to be!

| posted by Ann D @ 9:53 AM

Catherine Clark: Talk Ottawa

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
I had the pleasure of being a guest on Catherine Clark's Talk Ottawa show last night. Catherine is a fabulous interviewer: funny, lively, and incredibly well prepared. (She had three pages of questions ready, going out of the gate.)

All my Canadian readers will instantly recognize Catherine's name, of course. She's the daughter of former Prime Minister Joe Clark, one of Canada's most honest and down-to-earth Prime Minister's ever.

I've got six interviews to do around town today. Should be a fun but busy day. I'm getting picked up in 25 minutes. Time to put my nylons and makeup on.

| posted by Ann D @ 7:40 AM

Little Ms. Popular

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
I arrived in Ottawa by train this afternoon to do a publicity tour in support of my Success by 6 presentation. I couldn't have asked for a warmer reception. I had two taxi drivers fighting for the chance to drive me to my hotel.

| posted by Ann D @ 7:20 PM

Blatchford on Teens

Monday, February 21, 2005
Christie Blatchford had some insightful comments to make on teenagers in Saturday's Globe.

She notes: "Caught between childhood and adulthood, teens are inherently mysterious. And to varying degrees, they all lie about their lives to their parents; it's almost a necessity as they begin the process of breaking away."

She wraps up the piece by reflecting on her own teen years and the impact that a caring, attentive parent can have on a teen: "I always knew, coming home past my curfew, that in the lobby of our apartment building, sitting in his pajamas on a crooked lawn chair, my dad would be waiting for me. I would have stayed out far later, and got in so much more trouble, had he not been there."

| posted by Ann D @ 11:01 AM

Where Has This Blog Been Hiding?

Saturday, February 19, 2005
I think I was the last person in the universe to stumble across Half Changed World. It always amazes me how this can happen: you stumble across a really great blog and, when you get there, everyone you know is already there, madly posting away.

It's kind of like having a great new restaurant open up in town, but not finding out about it until months after it first opens. Then one day you stumble across it by accident, walk inside, and find the restaurant filled with people you know. You can't help but wonder how everyone else managed to find out about the restaurant. Did they run one ad (and one ad only) in the local newspaper? Did they happen to pick the day your newspaper blew down the street?

Speaking of really great blogs, I've added a few more treasures to my links in the past week or two. Be sure to check out:

  • Finslippy: Terrific writing about motherhood. Lots of great slice-of-life stuff, including many thoughtful personal essays.

  • Julia: Here Be Hippogriffs: Ever wonder what fertility treatments were really like -- or about the psychological highs and lows associated with trying to conceive? This blog will give you the inside scoop, plus incredible writing to boot.

  • Mother-in-Chief: Trying to make sense of motherhood today? Grappling with work-life balance issues? Suzanne Galante, the mother-in-chief, examines these issues in her blog.

  • Postcards from the Mothership: A brand new blog written by a new mom who is trying to juggle work, family, and the rest of her life.

  • Pregnancy Weekly: A blog that focuses on the always fascinating world of pregnancy.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:57 PM

Mr. Deliveryman....

Friday, February 18, 2005
Don't you hate it when the karma dumptruck shows up in the wrong driveway? Someone I like and respect very much just got a dumptruck-sized delivery of bad karma that was clearly meant for someone else. I'm just waiting for the karma deliveryman to pick up the shipment and redirect it.

| posted by Ann D @ 5:55 PM

What Makes Me Want to Read a Particular Blog

I seem to get my best ideas for my blog when I'm driving across town. (Hey, maybe that's why I'm a slower driver than Neil. I'm always fumbling around for an old envelope or a Starbucks napkin to jot some ideas down on.) Anyway, yesterday when I was driving across town, I started to think about all the things that make me want to read a particular blog.

Note: I'm going to give an example or two of each point, but I could easily give a dozen examples of each point, so please don't be offended if you know your blog is the best example of the point in question, but I didn't happen to mention your blog. These are quick random thoughts -- not a definitive essay on the subject in question. :-)

Okay, here are some of the things that cause me to become addicted to a particular blog:

  • A lively and distinctive writing voice: The politically correct need not apply! I love bloggers like MUBAR (Mothered Up Beyond All Recognition who tell it like it is and who aren't afraid to offend the odd visitor to their blogs. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Jen of MUBAR is a great writer and has a wonderfully bitter sense of humor. What's not to love about MUBAR?

  • Something unexpected: You never quite know what bloggers like Suburban Bliss or Laid-Off Dad are going be blogging about, but that's what makes their blogs such a great read. You can expect the unexpected.

  • Thought-provoking writing: Some of the most thoughtful writing I've ever read about parenting has been found in the blogosphere. Blogs like Mother Shock, A Little Pregnant and The Blue Sloth instantly come to mind. I don't think it's coincidental in the least that all three bloggers are incredibly honest and open with their readers. That's part of what keeps me reading all three of these highly addictive blogs.

  • Blogs that entertain: Blogging is also about having a darned good time. Part of the reason that Dooce has become a cultural phenomenon is because it's hugely entertaining.

  • Blogs that provide an interesting or quirky world view: Sometimes I read blogs that simply have something interesting or quirky to say. That's why I read blogs as varied as Stupid Beautiful Lies, And She Said and Some Girl.

  • Attractive design: Not all of us are major-league designers, but templates like what are available here at Blogger allow us to avoid committing major design sins -- like having unreadable text, animations that flash enough to make your readers feel like upchucking, etc. Be gentle with your fellow bloggers. Some may be pregnant and feeling queasy!

Well, those are some thoughts from me. What makes you go back to a particular blog time and time again? What makes you run for the virtual border? Inquiring minds want to know....

| posted by Ann D @ 12:09 PM

Cool Cats

Thursday, February 17, 2005
Last night, I spoke to the Durham Region Parents of Multiple Births Association in Oshawa. I arrived with a scraped, bruised, and bloody knee (thankfully hidden by a long black skirt) after doing a less-than-graceful swan-dive on an icy patch of pavement while paying for gas at a gas station on the way. I decided that since I was talking about how parenting perfectionism is decidedly out of vogue, I was in great shape for giving my talk. No one could accuse me of being too perfect, given all the mud on my shoes and skirt. (Hey, you've gotta work with the material you've got.)

Anyway, the group was great -- friendly, warm, and chatty. They gave me one of the coolest speakers' gifts I've ever been given -- two Cat in the Hat plush toys. (They told me the two Cats in the Hat were twins!)

| posted by Ann D @ 11:32 AM

Library Beat

A friend in Alberta just gave me a heads-up on the fact that the Library Association of Alberta recently decided to include the Canadian edition of The Mother of All Parenting Books in the parenting book and video collections that it distributed to libraries across the province. The collections were funded by Alberta Children's Services.

And speaking of libraries, I recently had the chance to attend the Ontario Library Association convention in Toronto, where I was signing copies of the Canadian edition of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books. The first person to get her book signed was someone who was newly pregnant and who was keeping her pregnancy secret from her workmates, so we had to do the booksigning very discreetly. I soooooo love being in the know about people's pregnancy news before the rest of the world!

| posted by Ann D @ 9:30 AM

Desperate Housewives Meets Redbook

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
According to this Mediaweek article, the Desperate Housewives phenomenon is at least partially responsible for the new editorial focus at Redbook magazine. Robin Steinberg, VP, print director at MediaVest, who is quoted in the article, says that Redbook's "Married Girls' Guide" positioning is very much on trend: "Hello? Desperate Housewives? The movie Closer?" she said. "These are the hot topics right now."

| posted by Ann D @ 12:15 PM

I'm (Not) Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair

I had a lovely Valentine's night. I spent most of it hanging out with the kids because Neil had to work late, but then he came home bearing heavenly smelling spa soap. The perfect gift!

| posted by Ann D @ 11:45 AM

Hmmm.....

Monday, February 14, 2005
Kid number four's comment to me on the way to school:

"It takes you one minute longer to drive me to school than it takes Dad, but I can read things out the window when you're driving. When Dad's driving me to school, everything I see out the window looks like dots."

| posted by Ann D @ 10:42 AM

My Favorite Date Night Movies

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Tomorrow night is Valentine's Night, which means it's the perfect night to cozy up on the couch with your beloved and watch a movie once you've got the kids tucked in for the night. (Of course, if your kids are teenagers, you may want to save the movie for the weekend. Otherwise, you could find it hard to drag yourself into work the next morning!)

As I noted in last week's Valentine's post, I'm a die-hard romantic, so I thought I'd mention a few of my favorite romantic movies. I'm hoping my blog visitors will add to my list so that we'll end up with enough movie picks to carry us into March and beyond.

Here goes....

Bridges of Madison County: I think this is one of the most romantic movies ever. And I can't remember any moment in any movie ever being steamier than that kitchen scene when Clint Eastwood puts his hand on Meryl Streep's shoulder. Whew!

Bridget Jones' Diary: A hilarious movie featuring a wonderfully likeable heroine and the wacky men in her life.

Something's Gotta Give: A fabulous movie about a later-in-life romance. Stars the truly fabulous Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.

The Wedding Singer: Okay, it's a little corny, but it's also an adorable love story. Anyone who hates this movie is the Valentine's Day equivalent of The Grinch.

Sleepless in Seattle: One of my all-time favorite date night movies. I actually managed to catch part of it on TV tonight. The ending still made my heart race -- then melt. (I know. My heart melts a lot.)

When Harry Met Sally: One of the best romantic comedies ever because it feels real, not contrived. (Of course, none of us women could ever be as high-maintenance as Sally, right? RIGHT?) (I'm directing this at a certain male in my life, who has occasionally hinted that women who like expensive soap, expensive coffee, and expensive [i.e. more than $10 a bottle] wine could be considered -- ahem -- a little high maintenance.)

An Officer and a Gentleman: A modern-day version of a good old-fashioned romance.

South Pacific: This classic movie musical starring Mitzi Gaynor ("I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair") and Rossano Brazzi ("Some Enchanted Evening") still melts my heart every time I watch it.

The Sound of Music: What's not to love about a musical that gave us "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" and "Something Good"?

| posted by Ann D @ 5:41 PM

Teenfluence

There's an interesting article in the May 2005 issue of the Journal of Business Research which talks about how Internet-savvy teens are playing an increasingly key role in helping to influence family purchasing decisions.

The article -- Teen Internet Mavens: Inflence in Family Decision Making -- argues that busy parents turn to Internet-savvy teens for assistance when it comes to researching key family purchases. So don't be surprised if you start seeing two-tiered marketing campaigns for everything from family trips to home computers to SUVs -- with one marketing campaign targeted at parents and one marketing campaign targeted at teens.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:58 PM

The Random Quote Game

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
I decided to play a weird game with myself this afternoon because there was no one else to play with. Neil was at work, the kids were at school, and I was all alone in my lonely writer's garret. (It's actually nice and quiet and peaceful, with no co-workers to hog the photocopier or the stapler, so don't feel too sorry for me.) Anyway, I decided to play this game en route to coffee break. I grabbed five quotation books off my bookshelves, opened them at random, and picked the best quote from each randomly selected page. Here are the five quotes I picked.
1. "Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing."
- Wernher Von Braun

2. "Publishing a volume of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo."
- Don Marquis, Sun Dial Time, 1936

3. "You never find yourself until you face the truth."
- Pearl Bailey

4. "'Fool,' said my muse to me, 'Look in thy heart and write.'"
- Sir Philip Sidney

5. "Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong."
- Ella Fitzgerald

| posted by Ann D @ 2:42 PM

What Do You Collect?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
I am always fascinated by the types of things people choose to collect -- and how collections come about. Sometimes you don't even intend to start collecting something, but you end up collecting it anyway. Maybe you have something in your house and someone notices it so they bring you another one. And then someone else brings you another one. And before you notice it, you've got a whole bunch of them. I thought I'd make a list of some of the things I collect and tell you how I came to collect them. Then I'd like to invite you to do the same.
1. Cat in the Hat stuff. (It started with a cool Cat in the Hat mug that I had to have. Then it spread to a Cat in the Hat figurine and a stuffed Cat in the Hat. Who knows where this will all end?
2. The Sound of Music memorabilia. It started with the movie and the movie soundtrack. Then it got a little out of hand. I also have a The Sound of Music t-shirt, a The Sound of Music coffee mug, and The Sound of Music pillowcases, all purchased in the giftshop at Stratford when we saw The Sound of Music live on stage (with Cynthia Dale in the role of Maria). And, of course, I have my ticketstubs from the time when my friend Diane and I went to see The Sing-a-long Sound of Music in Toronto.
3. Boston Terrier stuff. We had a Boston Terrier when I was growing up and my sisters are Boston Terrier freaks, so they are always giving me Boston Terrier stuff, so I have a Boston Terrier stuffed animal, a Boston Terrier coffee mug, and tons of Boston Terrier greeting cards.
4. Vintage marriage and childrearing manuals. I started this collection after inheriting a Victorian sex manual from my Grandmother and I've added to it over the years. I have some really cool and hilarious books in my collection that told previous generations of women how to be the perfect wife and mother. (I've now dedicated my career to telling women not to be perfect. Seems fair.)
5. Cool earrings. I collect colourful, oversized, funky, and inexpensive earrings. The more fun and wacky, the better. I can't remember how or when I started collecting cool earrings. It must have been shortly after I got my ears pieced in Grade 8.
6. Fun purses. This is my newest collection. It only consists of one purse so far -- my much-loved black purse with lime-green polka dots. Neil pointed out signs of wear yesterday -- a small hole in one corner. I am thinking I may have to archive the purse and only bring it out on special occasions, kind of like a vintage automobile.

Now it's your turn. Tell me what you collect and post the link below.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:27 AM

In Praise of Valentine's Day

Monday, February 07, 2005
I know it's not Valentine's Day for an entire week, but I'm already getting really excited. And it's not what you might think. Neil doesn't have plans to whisk me away for some night of passion at some country inn with a spa. Or at least I don't think he does. (Feel free to post in the comments section if you do, Neil.) It's just that Valentine's Day has always been a big deal for me. It was when I was growing up because my parents always made a point of giving us kids Valentine's treats to say, "I love you." And it is now because I always make a point of giving everyone in the family little gifts and cards to tell them how much they mean to me. I like having a holiday that's especially devoted to LOVE.

Yes, I'm hopelessly romantic. What can I say?

| posted by Ann D @ 8:08 PM

Empty Nest Syndrome? Not in Italy!

Sunday, February 06, 2005
One in three men growing up in Italy is still living with his parents by the time he reaches his early 30's. (Guess "empty nest syndrome" isn't as much of a problem over there.)

| posted by Ann D @ 8:22 PM

Woman's Day

If you happen to have the Feb. 15th issue of Woman's Day magazine kicking around (the issue with the plate of heart-shaped cookies on the cover), flip to page 112 and you'll read a brief parenting tip from me.

| posted by Ann D @ 7:09 PM

Winter Wonderland in February

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
The trees behind my house and on my boulevard look the prettiest they have looked all winter. They are covered in ice and snow and they look like someone sprinkled diamonds on them overnight. I feel like I'm taking delivery of a winter wonderland in February.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:44 AM

Dads and Diaper Duty

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Here's another reason to let dads pitch in when it comes to diaper duty. (Like moms needed another reason.) Researchers have discovered that changing diapers is good for the father-child relationship.

| posted by Ann D @ 4:58 PM

Time Travel

I'm borrowing this cool time travel idea from Freelance Mama who got it from Sassy Mama.

15 years ago today I would have been...
...a young mother at home with a two month old and a 21 month old;
...writing freelance for a few magazines and newspapers;
...living in a house with blue carpet.

10 years ago today I would have been...
...at home with a seven year old, a five year old, and a four year old;
...publishing a newsletter for parents and a newsletter for entrepreneurs;
...working on my first book proposal.

5 years ago today I would have been...
...the mother of four kids, ages 11, 9, 8, and 2;
...writing for a growing number of magazines and newspapers;
...working on my ninth book.

1 year ago today I would have been...
...the mother of four kids, ages 15, 13, 11, and 6;
...getting ready to do a Western Canada book tour in mid-February;
...checking the proofs for books 26 and 27.

This year I am...
...the mother of four kids, ages 16, 15, 13, and 7;
...sending out magazine pitches and proposals for other types of projects;
...gearing up for another round of book projects.

Yesterday I...
...hung out with my kids;
...sent a present to a friend;
...finished a magazine article;
...mentored a writer.

Today I...
...e-mailed some friends;
...worked on a column;
...worked on a proposal;
...will have coffee with a friend.

Tomorrow I...
...will tidy up my office (it needs it!);
...will send out more magazine story pitches;
...will finish a proposal I've been promising someone for far too long;
...will update my to do list.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:25 PM

February Blahs? I Think Not!

We're now eight days past what a British psychologist has deemed the most depressing day of the year, so it's got to be a cakewalk from here through to spring, right? So what's it with all that talk about the February blahs? It seems to me that February has a lot more to offer than January. There's Groundhog Day on Feb. 2 (always an exciting day as an unusually smart rodent predicts the arrival of spring) and Valentine's Day on Feb. 14th (a holiday that celebrates romance if you're part of a couple and chocolate if you're not). As a point of comparison, all that happens in January is the arrival of the holiday credit card bill and the need to suffer through record-breaking cold temperatures. February blahs? Let's make that January blahs.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:35 AM