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Anthology on Motherhood and Blogging

Sunday, December 31, 2006
From the Association for Research in Mothering:

Demeter Press is seeking submissions for the edited collection

Mothering and Blogging: Practice and Theory

Deadline for Abstracts: March 1, 2007

Publication Date: Spring 2008

Editors: May Friedman, Shana L. Calixte

Critical mothering and writing about motherhood have, in the last few years, begun to engage with a new form of communication. All over the Internet, mommy bloggers are commenting on the radical act of being mothers and women within a world hostile to both of these identities. What are some of the questions posed by this new context for motherhood? What are the implications for sites of marginalization and diversity within the blogosphere? This new book by Demeter Press will seek to interrogate some of the complexities of the mamasphere through both creative and scholarly submissions. We encourage applicants from a range of experiences, in both community and academic contexts.

Abstracts/Proposals (250-300 words) due March 1, 2007

Acceptances will be made by May 1, 2007

Accepted submissions due September 1, 2007

Completed papers should not exceed fifteen pages (3750 words) and should be formatted according to MLA guidelines.

Please send inquiries and abstracts/proposals to:
May Friedman and Shana L. Calixte mayf@yorku.ca, shana@yorku.ca Graduate Programme in Women's Studies York University 4700 Keele Street Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 Canada

Association for Research on Mothering 726 Atkinson, York University 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 Phone: (416) 736-2100 x60366 FAX: (416) 736-5766 Email: arm@yorku.ca

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| posted by Ann D @ 3:28 PM

From the Desk of Nancy White

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I'm a Nancy White groupie -- you know Nancy White of Momnipotent: Songs for Weary Parents and Anne and Gilbert: The Island Love Story fame. Well, I was thrilled to get this note in my email yesterday, letting me know that Nancy and her daughter Suzy are going to be on Sounds Like Canada tomorrow morning (Jan. 1). (If you're in the U.S., you can listen to the interview live via the Internet, using a link on this page.) Bill Richardson is guest-hosting. Here's the inside scoop from Nancy herself.

Hi folks,
The divine Bill Richardson had a blinding flash of an idea for an item on Sounds Like Canada, which he's hosting over the holidays.

Musicians and their musician offspring.

And I am one of the people he called, and my daughter Suzy Wilde and I went into the studio and had a grand chat with him, and it's going to be aired on New Year's Day in the second hour of the show, 10-11 a.m., on CBC One (radio).

I don't know if I've ever mentioned that Suzy is in a band called StoneFox. I don't like talking about my kids. But perhaps this information has slipped my lips once or twice, along with the fact my daughter Maddy is in a band called Spiral Beach. It may have come up in conversation. Maybe I said "Yes, you know, I raised my back-up vocalists from scratch" or "Sorry I can't come to your cocktail party to meet Don McKellar. I have to drive some gear to The Drake."

Anyway, StoneFox is on its way, as we say! Their CD The Things I Wouldn't Know About just got a good review in NOW, they played the Mariposa Festival last summer, and they're gigging a lot around southern Ontario. (And by that I mean Toronto and Stratford.) Members of the band are Anika Johnson (daughter of two Stratford Festival musicians), Mike O'Hara, Barb Johnston (daughter of Bob Johnston), Andrew Kekawich and Tyler Rowles. You can hear them on Stonefox at Myspace or Stonefox. Almost all of them are graduates of Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts, Anika and Barb are studying theatre at Ryerson, and Suzy's studying contemporary music at Humber, so as you can imagine, their shows are pretty theatrical. (They're at the Drake in Toronto on Jan.8, Elvis' birthday.

Bill Richardson has known of the talents of Suzy for a long time. He interviewed me in 1990 when the CD Momnipotent: Songs for Weary Parents came out. As I recall he said he was relieved I hadn't named my girls after cheeses of France. And of course Suzy was on that album, as an infant, crying on "Memo to Droola" and as a four-year-old, singing with Barb Johnston, then six, on "Daughters of Feminists."

Then in the late 90's, when he was hosting "Richardson's Roundup" (and who among us can ever hear the phrase "1-888" without silently whispering "SAD-GOAT"), Bill came to Toronto to do an item about music theatre, and he featured Anne and Gilbert, which Bob and I were then workshopping, and Suzy was one of the singers in the Wexford chorus, singing "Mr.Blythe".

So, really, they're quite close.

During our interview, Bill played "Daughters of Feminists", "Suzy's Song" (from the StoneFox CD) and "When He was my Beau," sung by Laura Smith on the Anne and Gilbert selections CD. Of course I imagine they'll have shortened the item -- possibly cutting out the part where we whistled through our tongues to show how musical aptitude is passed on -- but I'm hoping all three songs will remain.

I'm really looking forward to hearing the other parent-child combo sharing the hour with us, because it's John Gray (composer of musicals, and writer-performer of those amazing topical videos "The Journal" used to run) and his son Zachary Gray (who heads up a band called "Lotus Child", that's making a splash on the west coast). I checked out their myspace and their website Lotus Child, and they're a really good band. Not surprisingly!

So, please do check us out on New Year's Day. It'll be Suzy's first CBC radio interview, and it could well be my last!
And, hey, Happy New Year!!!!!!!

- Nancy White

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| posted by Ann D @ 2:32 PM

Kitchen Table Campaign

Saturday, December 30, 2006
The neat thing about working for change in a small- to medium-sized community is that one person's actions can make a difference. When I invited a few friends to my "meet and greet" for Betsy McGregor, one of three candidates for the local Liberal nomination, I had no idea that my event would end up hitting the local newspaper. (I mean my coffee is good, but not that good.) But that's exactly what happened. I'm telling you this story because if you're worried about the way things are going in your community, you can make a difference, starting at your own kitchen table.

More: One Woman. One Blog

Update 1/30:
Find out more about Betsy at her recently launched blog: Betsy McGregor

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| posted by Ann D @ 3:09 PM

The Maternal is Political (Book Project by Shari MacDonald Strong)

Shari MacDonald Strong is seeking contributors for her forthcoming book The Maternal is Political.

Cindy Sheehan, Miriam Peskowitz, Beth Osnes, Gayle Brandeis, Tracy Thompson, Marrit Ingman, Katie Allison Granju, and Jennifer Margulis, and I are already onboard and (not surprisingly), everyone she has contacted is extremely excited about the project.

According to Shari, "The book will feature 30 stories about the intersection of politics and motherhood, written by and for mothers who are making the world a better place for children and families: both their own and other women's, in this country and globally. I'm looking for creative nonfiction stories and personal essays of any length that address the how motherhood and social change intersect, in big and small ways."

The release date goal is early 2008, to hit early in the year, before the next U.S. presidential election. Find out more at Shari's blog.

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| posted by Ann D @ 10:27 AM

Me and Martha

Thursday, December 28, 2006
Those of you who have been to my house (or even viewed the inside of my Honda Pilot) may find this news a bit shocking: last Tuesday (Dec. 26), I was a guest on Martha Stewart's radio channel on Sirius Satellite.

People, there's no need to panic: Martha hasn't decided to start a new show called "Clutter Chic" or anything like that. The show I did was on kids and body image and focused on the book Body Talk that my daughter and I wrote together. It was featured on the KidStuff segment of Martha's show (Tuesdays at 1 pm).

The hosts of the show did a great job of reminding listeners that now that we're creeping up on New Year's resolutions' season, we should keep in mind that our daughters (and sons) are hearing all those comments that we make about our diet resolutions, how much we pigged out during the holidays, and so on. While there's nothing wrong about resolving to be healthier in 2007, just make sure how you frame those resolutions -- and who's listening.

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| posted by Ann D @ 9:56 PM

Meet and Greet for Betsy McGregor in Peterborough

I'm hosting a meet and greet for Betsy McGregor tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 29 from 2 to 4 pm) at 3108 Frances Stewart Road, Peterborough.

Betsy McGregor is one of the candidates for the Liberal nomination for Peterborough riding.

She's awesome and inspiring; she's got fresh ideas; and she has a track record that will command respect in Ottawa. (She's worked with the United Nations and at Harvard as well as for the Canadian government and at Trent University here in Peterborough.)

If you live in Peterborough Riding and you'd like to find out what Betsy has to offer, please feel free to drop by. The gathering will be very informal (it's the holidays after all). I'll be serving coffee and dessert. (The coffee is here; the dessert is TBA!) Please email me (ann at having-a-baby.com) if you know ahead of time that you'll be dropping by. It would be disastrous if we ran out of coffee.

Update 1/8 and 1/30: More info on Betsy:
Martha Hall Findlay and Betsy McGregor Wow Local Crowd with Talk of Passion, Vision, And Party Renewal; Martha Hall Findlay is Coming to Peterborough on Sunday -- to Betsy McGregor's Meet and Greet; Betsy McGregor's Kitchen Table Campaign Hits the Peterborough Examiner.

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| posted by Ann D @ 12:35 PM

12 Days of Weirdmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Don't you hate it when you can't remember the lyrics to your favorite carols? Lucky for you, Karrie has carefully transcribed the words to the 12 Days of Christmas so you'll have them handy.


| posted by Ann D @ 3:19 PM

On Manifestos

Rebel Dad is looking for input for his Manifesto Project. A lot of his ideas sound immensely sensible to me. (No comment on number 8, btw, other than that I love Getting Things Done.)

Manifestos are magnificent. I hope the blogging manifesto comes together one of these days. Venture over to The Whole Mom for the backstory on that.

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| posted by Ann D @ 1:01 PM

Political Girl

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
This is totally off topic, but it's almost the holidays and it's funny. It comes to you from Regret the Error, a blog that points out some of the more noteworthy and hilarious media errors and omissions.


| posted by Ann D @ 1:55 PM

"What do the Nerdy Ones Talk About?"

Remember how teens and preteens initially went online because there wasn't the same pressure to be cool? Well, that pressure has been ramping up ever since social spaces were invented. And now that some of the big media players are getting in the act, that pressure can only multiply.

CondeNast will be soon be launching flip.com (think flipbooks), where "super alpha girls" can showcase their perfect lives and nerdy girls -- well CondeNast doesn't seem to have those girls figured out quite yet.

"The super-alpha girls who want to talk about Miu Miu [designer shoes] can do that," says Jamie Pallot, the editorial director of CondeNet. "And the nerdy ones can talk about," he pauses, looking to his colleagues for assistance. "What do the nerdy ones talk about?"

Here's a bit of insider info for the folks at Flip. Nerdy girls who grow up to be nerdy moms talk about how shallow and superficial and tacky sites like this are -- to say nothing of potentially risky. (Why would we want to encourage our daughters to create virtual scrapbooks for predators?) I just don't get it.

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| posted by Ann D @ 10:59 AM

Gift Ideas for Kids and Teens Who Want to Change the World

Monday, December 18, 2006
Al Gore's video An Inconvenient Truth.

A subscription to a magazine that supports a cause he or she believes in (see this list for ideas for teens).

A membership in an association that is making a difference in the world or right here in your own backyard.

Books -- both fiction and non-fiction -- that talk about the power of possibility and the difference one person can make. (This list also offers some interesting and inspiring ideas, although some may be a bit too inspiring for some kids.)

Fair-trade goods (Canadian or American) or goods that help to raise funds for a charity.

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| posted by Ann D @ 10:31 AM

Keep Your Kids Entertained With This (Like Over and Over Again)

Friday, December 15, 2006
I think this could entertain me for the rest of the day, in fact. One of my clients sent me the link. (Thanks, R.C.)

White Christmas (animated, Shockwave Flash)


| posted by Ann D @ 12:59 PM

Blog Housekeeping

I haven't actually gotten around to doing the pre-holiday house housekeeping. It's much easier to tackle housekeeping at the blog level. But I've been feeling as of late that my blog world was getting a bit cluttered, so I've reorganized.

As you may have noticed, I've become a bit more political as of late. (Okay, a lot more political as of late.) I've started a new blog called One Woman. One Blog. which is focusing on issues like politics, social justice, consumerism, women's issues, etc.

There's still likely to be some crossover between blogs, of course. Consumerism is a parenting issue. Women's rights are a mother's issue. And social justice is everyone's issue. But I won't feel quite so guilty if I go on and on and on about those issues in the new blog because that's what it's all about.

I'll continue to post about pregnancy, parenting, writing, and life as an author here (plus misc stuff);
about pregnancy-related stuff in my WebMD blog; and
about book-related stuff in my Amazon.com blog.


| posted by Ann D @ 10:25 AM

And Baby Makes Three...Right Now!

Thursday, December 14, 2006
Even math professors can miscalculate exactly when baby is likely to be born.


| posted by Ann D @ 5:42 PM

Christmas Science

As this story in the Daily Telegraph points out, Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire, UK, is conducting two online studies with festive twists. One focuses on Christmas crackers (whether they've got any redeeming qualities at all) and the other on Christmas cards (their social relevance and hidden meanings). If you'd like to participate, you can go to www.xmasscience.co.uk and further the study of these two holiday rituals.

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| posted by Ann D @ 11:48 AM

Birthday Train

Wednesday, December 13, 2006
"You're the caboose on the birthday train we ride in our family."

That's what my youngest said to me this morning. He told me he meant I had the last birthday of the year in our family. (I actually have the second last birthday of the year. I guess he forgot about his oldest brother. Sibling amnesia, you know.)

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting perspective on the whole birthday thing.

And I kind of like the idea of being the caboose -- or next to the caboose. It's an interesting perspective for a firstborn.


| posted by Ann D @ 11:52 AM

Letter in Support of Status of Women Canada

This is the letter I sent in support of Status of Women Canada. If you'd like to send a letter of your own, your letter has to be received by tomorrow (Dec. 13).

December 12, 2006

Attention: House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women

Dear Committee Members:

I am writing to you to urge the Federal Government to
(i) reverse its decision to change the terms and conditions of the Women's Program; and
(ii) to reverse its decision to reduce the administrative budget of Status of Women Canada.

Status of Women Canada has a long and proud history of advocating for women, for funding important research, and for funding a variety of programs that provide direct service and support to Canadian women. While it is important to provide direct service and support (e.g., retraining or other help in meeting women’s immediate or short-term needs), it's just as important to address the systemic problems that continue to present barriers to women’s full participation in the economic, social, cultural, and political life of Canada. Status of Women Canada's tradition mandate has provided the necessary frame of reference:

Status of Women Canada (SWC) is the federal government agency which promotes gender equality, and the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. SWC focuses its work in three areas: improving women's economic autonomy and well-being, eliminating systemic violence against women and children, and advancing women's human rights.

SWC works to provide Canadians with strengthened and more equitable public policy by conducting gender-based analysis and promoting its application throughout the federal government. It supports research that brings the gender dimensions of policy issues into the public agenda. SWC also plays a vital role in supporting the work of women's and other equality-seeking organizations. It promotes women's equality in collaboration with organizations from the non-governmental, voluntary and private sectors. In promoting women's equality globally, SWC works with other countries and international organizations. (2006-02-06)

Because important lobbying and advocacy work must continue, the terms and conditions of the Women's Program should not be changed. And because there is so much more important work to be done in promoting women's equality in Canadian society (as revealed in the Statistics Canada report Women in Canada: A Gender-Based Statistical Report, released March 7, 2006), the administrative budget of Status of Women Canada should be increased rather than reduced.


Ann Douglas

cc Hon. Stephane Dion, Leader of the Opposition
Hon. Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP
Hon. Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois
Hon. Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women
Hon. Maria Minna, Liberal critic for the Status of Women
Hon. Irene Mathysson, NDP critic for the Status of Women
Hon. Maria Mourani, Bloc critic for the Status Of Women


| posted by Ann D @ 12:02 AM

Emergency Gift Tag Stash

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
You're in the middle of wrapping gifts and you realize that you're out of gift tags.

You could put sticky notes on each of the gifts and let one of your kids play "swap the stickies". It always adds a fun twist to the gift-opening ritual: watching Grandpa open a Baby Einstein video and one of the tots open a gift certificate for Swiss Chalet.

Or you could print out some of these holiday gift tags from around the web. (Naturally you'll want to crop out the ads -- unless, of course, you still haven't had your fill of commercialism this season.)

Dr. Seuss Gift Tags

Woman's Day Gift Tags

HGTV.ca Gift Tags

EMJ Studios


| posted by Ann D @ 3:24 PM

How Dean Del Mastro Turned Me into a Political Animal

Sunday, December 10, 2006
There are times when I start to wonder if I'm living in Peyton Place. Or Stepford. Or The Twilight Zone.

Now don't get me wrong: there's much to love about Peterborough -- we've got great bookstores, amazing coffee shops, a thriving arts community, Trent University, and -- being situated in the heart of the Kawarthas -- you couldn't ask for more beautiful scenery. And that's just the short list of great features.

But when your local MP gets up in the House of Commons and declares Canada a theocracy -- well, to paraphrase a comment made by another blogger this week, you have to wonder what percentage of the 35.9% of Peterborough residents who voted for Dean Del Mastro would publicly admit to having done so today. (If people aren't at least slightly embarrassed, I'm definitely living in The Twilight Zone.)

Here's what Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro had to say, just in case you think I'm making this stuff up.

"Separation of church and state is an American idea, not Canadian, Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro proclaimed in the House of Commons yesterday during debate on same-sex marriage. The supremacy of God is laid out in the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Del Mastro said when he rose shortly after 9 pm to argue in favour of the traditional definition of marriage. 'Ultimately faith influences how this House makes law,' he said. 'The separation of church and state was set up to protect the church from the state, not the state from the church.' " (Peterborough Examiner, Thursday, December 7, 2006, Page A3).

I hit my favourite search engine to find out what people other than Mr. Del Mastro have to say about the separation of church in state in Canada. A couple of keystrokes later, I unearthed an opinion from The Law Commission of Canada (an independent federal law reform agency that advises Parliament on how to improve and modernize Canada's laws) and which, interestingly enough, recently lost its funding during the same round of cuts that slashed funding to Status of Women Canada).

Here's how the Law Commission explains the separation of church and state in Canada:

Anne Saris for her part writes that there is an "implicit principle of separation between religious institutions and the state" in Canada. Justice Muldoon of the Federal Court of Canada has reiterated this point:

"The paramount imperative and value, found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is that Canada is a secular State...It is so because of two constitutional ingredients which are inimical, if not fatal, to a theocratic State: everyone's fundamental freedom of conscience and religion, as stated in s. 2(a) of the Charter, and everyone's fundamental freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, as stated in s. 2(b) of the Charter."

Funny thing. Whenever I follow in the footsteps of Dean Del Mastro, I find out about more funding cuts to organizations that are doing vital work in this country and that really matter to Canadians. (Somehow I failed to notice that Dean spoke in favour of the CBC cuts last summer. I must have missed an issue of The Peterborough Examiner -- something I almost never do.) And that, in turn, makes me more political by the day. I guess I have Dean Del Mastro to thank for this political awakening. Next thing you know, I'm actually going to be a member of a political party as opposed to a freelance voter (my modus operandi, up until now). Dean Del Mastro, you have created a political animal,.

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| posted by Ann D @ 12:35 PM

Booksigning in Richmond Hill Tomorrow Has Been Postponed

Saturday, December 09, 2006
I know at least one person was planning to go to Richmond Hill to hang out with me and the rest of the Canadian Lit Chicks. We've had to postpone our booksigning until the New Year. (See sidebar for updated dates.)

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| posted by Ann D @ 5:53 PM

The Bold and the Beautiful Create Mama Drama by Adding An Ann Douglas to the Cast

Friday, December 08, 2006
Betty White is in the middle of a 10-day cameo on The Bold and the Beautiful. She's playing Stephanie Forrester's long lost, recently found, and very bad mother Ann Douglas. Expect lots of mama drama -- even more than you have come to expect from this Ann Douglas.

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| posted by Ann D @ 2:43 PM

I've Converted to Beta-Blogger

Everything was in limbo for about three hours this morning, which was a bit freaky, but the blog seems to have resurfaced. I read all kinds of horror stories about post-conversion disasters over at the Help forum, so I'm almost afraid to post this. Fingers crossed.


| posted by Ann D @ 1:40 PM

Live Chat on Mealtime Solutions @ Pregnancy.org -- NOW!

Thursday, December 07, 2006
Come and chat with us: Pregnancy.org Chat. We're talking picky eaters, mealtime meltdowns, and more. Oh yeah, we're not just talking about grumpy grownups: we'll be talking about kids, too. :-)

| posted by Ann D @ 1:02 PM

Card Tricks

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The great thing about opening Christmas cards is that you have the chance to find out everyone's news. I just found out that my friend Sharon published a computer textbook and that my friend Gord proposed to my friend Angie -- and she said yes (but they haven't set a date for the wedding). I also got to enjoy some of Josie's artwork.

The thing is -- everything is a year out of date, which means I'm a year out of date. You see, I'm finally opening that daunting stack of holiday cards that arrived when I was feeling snowed under by last winter's back-to-back book projects -- cards that, despite my best intentions, remained unopened until now. I spent tonight opening those cards, catching up on everyone's news, and updating my address book in anticipation of sending out cards (and possibly letters) this year.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:42 PM

Dani is Not Having a Happy Period

Dani is not having a happy period and she wants the folks at P & G to know about it.

| posted by Ann D @ 3:49 PM

Dec. 6th: In Memory of a Friend, Murdered at Age 27

Every December 6th, I pause to think of the events of Dec. 6, 1989, in Montreal. Then I remember my friend Eva Marie Mead, who was stalked, kidnapped, and murdered at the age of 27 in 1988.

Here's a summary of the events of the case, reconstructed from information from a law newsletter on the website of law firm Lang Michener, and from a Toronto Star news story from November 23, 2004.

Richard Raymond Babinski was charged with the murder of Eva Marie Mead, the 27-year-old single mother he was charged with sexually assaulting seven months prior to her disappearance. Four days before her disappearance, Babinski broke into her apartment carrying a hammer and some rope and held her against her will, talking about a sexual assault charge she had brought against him. When the crime was reported to the police, the police received Mead's consent to tape record a telephone conversation between her and Babinski. Babinski did not call, as was expected, and the police asked Mead to call him instead. She was asked to elicit information regarding the break and enter into her home a few days earlier. The conversation elicited the desired information. In addition to this, however, Mead told Babinski where she worked. Mead disappeared later that day -- on October 19, 1988. Her nude, decomposed body was discovered seven months later behind a factory where Babinski worked at the time. Babinski was tried three times and convicted twice of murder. He recently sought a fourth trial, but that attempt was unsuccessful. Babinski is currently serving a sentence for first-degree murder.

Eva and I had been out of touch for about two years by the time of her murder. I'd moved away to get married and to start a family and she'd left The Job From Hell (where we'd worked together) in order to take a better job. I heard about her murder on the news when I was running errands in Peterborough with my baby in the car. I wrote a letter to Eva's mother, sharing a few of my memories of Eva so that she could share those memories with Eva's then seven-year-old son Jeremy. (He was six years old at the time of her disappearance.) Here's one of the memories I shared.

When we were working at The Job from Hell, our bosses insisted that Eva make and serve them coffee all the time. (I think they were recent grads from the Stegosaurus School of Management Studies.) When they were interviewing Eva for the job, they should have screened a little more carefully for signs of subversion because Eva wasn't the type to allow herself to be pushed around by anyone. One Monday morning, the bosses roared out the usual requests for coffee. She smiled sweetly and brought them coffee with cream -- cream that had been lying in the garbage can all weekend. That's the Eva I remember -- beautiful, funny, feisty, and unwilling to put up with b.s. from anyone.

Unfortunately, that fighting spirit wasn't enough to keep her safe. She did everything you're supposed to do when you run up against someone scary and dangerous -- got in touch with the police, filed charges, and helped the police gather evidence against the man who had sexually assaulted her (and who was later convicted of murdering her). In the end, obsession trumped common sense.

This is the first time I've written about Eva, although I've often thought about doing so. I didn't want to dishonor her memory in any way by writing "the wrong thing" but then I thought that not writing anything about her might be dishonoring her memory even more. If you type "Eva Marie Mead" into a search engine, the only hit you will will get describes Babinski's unsuccessful attempts to have the Ontario Court of Appeal overturn his third murder trial (and his second conviction) for Eva's murder. That doesn't seem right. It's as if her entire life has been replaced with the facts of her murder. It seems to me that there should be more about Eva: something to reflect the fact that she was a caring and devoted mother; a much-loved daughter and sister; the very type of person you would have wanted as a friend. That's why I wrote this post in her memory, years after her death: to say that Eva has not been forgotten and will not be forgotten by those who had the good fortune to know her. I was one of the lucky ones.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:44 AM

Is It True That Women Have Achieved True Equality?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Given all the recent rumors about Canadian women having achieved true equality, you may be starting to wonder if the women's movement was declared over during one of those time periods when the baby was up a lot in the night and the toddler suddenly gave up his daytime naps -- and you were simply too tired to care about anything other than sleep.

Not exactly, says The Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women.

That's overstating things a little, confirms The National Association of Women and the Law. In a briefing document entitled "The Importance of Funding Women's Groups," the NAWL notes that the recent Statistics Canada report Women in Canada 2005 and the federally commissioned report of the Expert Panel on Accountability Mechanisms for Gender Equality, entitled Equality for Women: Beyond the Illusion, released in July 2006, they spell out the facts:
"Many people think that we have truly achieved equality for women in Canada. Much as we would like it to be so, it is simply not the case. In 2005, only one in five members of Parliament is a woman. The same holds true in general across the legislatures of the provinces and territories. Girls are the victims of more than four out of five cases of sexual assault on minors. Four out of five one-parent families are headed by women. The employment income gap between male and female university graduates who work full time has widened. Women working full time still earn only 71 cents for every dollar that men make. Women do the large majority of unpaid work in Canada. (p. 15)…The most recent figures show that 38 percent of Aboriginal women live in low income situations. So, too, do 35 percent of lone mothers and 27 percent of immigrant women. Immigrant women working full time earn 58 cents for every dollar earned by Canadian born men" (p. 17).

The National Association of Women and the Law argues that far from being redundant, women's groups continue to play a critical role in the lives of Canadian women:
"These groups raise the difficult issues that impact on women's lives, propose concrete and viable policy and hold governments accountable for respecting and promoting women's rights. As has always been the case, we need to ensure that autonomous women's groups can not only survive, but thrive and develop. Federal funding is a key component to ensuring that these groups can do the work necessary to meet the needs of women in their communities, and to ensure that appropriate policies and program are in place that can positively affect women's lives. The need for national support of equality-seeking women's groups has also been recognized by international bodies, including the United Nations treaty bodies, the World Bank, and the Association for Women's Rights in Development."

So it would seem that you didn't sleep through the third wave of the women's revolution (or whatever wave we're supposedly riding now). If anyone dozed off, it was the group of politicians who approved these cuts.

More: Dion questions PM on Status of Women funding; Federal Government Moves to Further Restrict Women's Groups (Nov. 30th)

| posted by Ann D @ 5:07 PM

Police Evidence Markings on My Office Window

I'm back in my office this morning. There are some police evidence markings on my office window (the intruder attempted to open this window, but to no avail). There's also a lot of broken glass on the driveway and in the basement. There are remnants of blood somewhere. I haven't gone downstairs to investigate where. I figured I'd leave that until after I'd done some writing.

Right now, I'm feeling grateful that nothing was stolen, the damage was minor, and that I am not struggling with a life of addiction or poverty that forces me to steal from other people in order to get through each day. Instead, I have the ability to use the gifts I have been given -- time, money, ideas, words, and passion -- to try to make the world a better place for those who have lost hope, faith, and a belief that life can be anything than what it is right now.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:49 AM

Office Break-in

Monday, December 04, 2006
Just got a call from the security company to say that someone has tried to break into the office. Hubby has gone to meet the police there. I wanted to go, too, but someone had to stay here with the kids. I'm waiting for a call to tell me what's damaged, what's missing. This really sucks.

Peterborough is currently experiencing a crime wave due to a drug problem in the city, so that's probably what's behind the crime: addicts looking for something of value.

I hope I hear something soon.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:00 PM

An Infertility Blog That Provides a Guy's Eye View

Here's an infertility blog with a twist -- a blog offering a guy's eye view of infertility treatment. Me Want Baby is still pretty new (it launched on November 12), but it's very honest and often quite funny. It's also refreshing to hear a prospective father's take on the infertility rollercoaster ride -- especially a guy who tells it like it is. Reminds me of a friend of mine who called and told me that the line a 40-something guy doesn't want to hear at the fertility clinic is, "We need a second sample, Mr. X." ("What do they think I am, 18?")

| posted by Ann D @ 11:38 AM

Canadian Press: The Women Are Angry

Sunday, December 03, 2006
Clearly, I'm not the only one who's disturbed by the cuts to Status of Women Canada, particularly now that the implications of those cuts are finally being revealed.

Canadian Press has a news story on the wire today about a grassroots organization called The Women are Angry which was formed by a group of Halifax women. The article also mentions StatusReport.ca -- an online clearinghouse of information relating to the funding cuts at Status of Women Canada.

Those who support the cuts can't be happy about all these voices rising up in protest. That may explain why John felt the need to respond so heatedly when I blogged about Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro's refusal to carry a petition protesting the cuts and calling for the resignation of Status of Women Canada Minister Bev Oda to Ottawa.

Update and more background 12/04: Newly elected Liberal leader Stephane Dion speaks out strongly against the federal government's Status of Women Canada funding cuts: "When the government is posting multi-million dollar budget surplus, thanks to the previous Liberal government, why has the prime minister closed 12 of the 16 Status of Women offices across Canada, if it is not to cripple those who challenge his neo-conservative ideology?"; Judy Sgro's motion to have the $5 million in funding cuts rescinded; Potential Impact of Recent Funding and Program Changes at Status of Women Canada: Briefs Being Accepted.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:16 PM

Apparently, it was quite the night....

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dear Diary
Originally uploaded by KellyLWatson.

| posted by Ann D @ 4:02 PM

An Old-Fashioned Dance Card

She Just Loves Bud
Originally uploaded by KellyLWatson.

Spotted this over at Flickr. It makes you wonder about Bud's charms, doesn't it? Was he tall, dark, and handsome? Shorter, but a good dancer? The kind of guy who made you laugh? A good listener? He certainly had something going for him, to have this gal's dance card filled before the dance even started.

| posted by Ann D @ 3:58 PM

You Know You've Grown Up to Be a Geek Girl When...

...you have the house all to yourself and you sneak online to....

...listen to the speeches of the Liberal leadership candidates, undisturbed.

Okay, I'm not listening to them all, but I'm listening to the ones that have the greatest potential to be inspiring. Here's the link to the speeches that were given last night, in case you'd like to do likewise. I highly recommend Stephane Dion's speech. It was awesome.

I'm about to listen to Bob Rae's because it was supposed to be terrific, too.

| posted by Ann D @ 3:04 PM

Reading the Newspaper Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Okay, I wasn't actually able to find a study proving that reading the newspaper can be harmful to your health, but it must be. I mean, I'm having to resort to blogging therapy to work off the emotions triggered by these two news stories from this morning's local newspaper.

This is the first story I read, the story of Joshua Dummer, a four-year-old autistic boy who was asked to withdraw from junior kindergarten after spending just four days in the classroom. His shocked parents are continuing to fight to have his needs met within the publicly-funded separate school system. Having fought some similar battles myself over the years in the other local school system -- at one point, the principal at the public school our children used to attend suggested that we put one of our kids on "a modified schedule" (which meant that our son would be "allowed" to attend school from 9:00 am to 9:30 am each day because the school didn't have the resources to deal with his learning disability/ADHD) -- I know how exhausting and demoralizing it is to have to fight these battles.

I once had the opportunity to raise these issues with then Education Minister (and now Liberal Leadership Candidate) Gerard Kennedy. I found him to be extremely receptive to my concerns, but, alas, the system moves painfully slowly when it comes to changing in meaningful ways. It infuriates me that so many parents and so many kids end up fighting these battles alone. I congratulate the Dummer family for going public with their story so that other families will feel a little less alone and maybe, just maybe, after decades of talking the talk about inclusion the system (and, by that, I mean every school system, everywhere) will finally start walking the walk. I know it's not as a result of lack of will from the many dedicated educators I've met and talked to over the years. It's not having the right funding and supports in place at the right time for a child who needs it -- and having a system so mired in red tape that it can take a child and a family years to figure out how to navigate it (if, in fact, they ever figure out how to navigate it at all). And the time that is lost is time that cannot be regained: time that a child could be acquiring valuable academic or friendship skills -- all the great things that school has to offer and should be offering to every child.

The second story that made me see red was a news report indicating that local MP -- Conservative Dean Del Mastro -- has decided not to present a petition in the House of Commons which calls for the restoration of funding to Status of Women Canada and the resignation of Status of Women Canada Minister Bev Oda -- this despite the fact that the petition has been presented to him on two occasions by the Trent Women's Centre and the Older Women's Network and the fact that the petition in question contains over 300 signatures. "We do not necessarily expect Mr. Del Mastro to agree with our position," Alissa Paxton of the Trent Women's Centre told The Peterborough Examiner. "We just want him to do his job, to represent the concerns of his constituents, even those he disagrees with, to the federal government." Del Mastro responded by saying that he doesn't have to agree with petitions to present them in the House of Commons -- but then added that he wouldn't present the petition because in addition to calling for funding, it calls for the removal of Minister Bev Oda -- a decision that he doesn't agree with. Del Mastro also addes that those who signed the petition "should quite frankly rejoice in the position of Bev Oda. She's a visible minority and she's also had an incredible successful career in the corporate world." (Yes, that's the original quote, verbatim.) The Trent Women's Centre and the Older Women's Network told The Peterborough Examiner that they will be forwarding the petition to the Liberal and New Democratic parties' Status of Women critics. Find out more: General Info; Opposition Responses to Cuts; Oda finally confirms termination of HALF of SWC workforce; The Arthur: Conservatives "Gag" Women's Groups: Local protestors visit MP Del Mastro's office to voice criticism; The Scoop on REAL Women.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:50 PM

Lovefest, Baby, Lovefest....

Friday, December 01, 2006
Talk about a lovely way to finish the week -- stumbling upon a lovefest in my honour over at Parent Hacks. Thanks, Asha. (The feelings are reciprocal, btw.)

| posted by Ann D @ 5:12 PM

Let's See if I Can Bring Down Blogger With One More Post

I have to say this before I go off to do some "real work." I had the huge thrill of meeting Karla and her totally adorable hubby last night. I have considered Karla to be a soulmate ever since I read this post of hers last year. You can imagine how much it meant for me to actually get to meet her last night -- and to see her looking happy, healthy, and very, very pregnant. (She's within three weeks of having her baby.) (If you want to learn a bit more about Karla, you may want to watch this amazing tribute video she created to honour her baby Ava, who died shortly after birth.)

The entire booksigning at Chapters Ajax was fabulous -- everyone who came up to talk to me had a really powerful and meaningful story to share with me last night (it was one of those nights) -- and I really enjoyed hanging out with my fellow Canadian Lit Chicks -- the catchy name that Kathy Buckworth gave the posse of women authors who dish the dirt on sex, relationships, food, kids, and shopping (and, yes, we covered all those topics and more at our debut book-signing last night). But meeting Karla -- wow. That was a really stand-out moment for me. Thanks so much for dropping by, Karla.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:55 AM

Office Reception Area

Office Reception Area
Originally uploaded by Ann Douglas.

This is the reception area. This part of the office is starting to look really nice. Of course, you can't see all the junk behind me -- and the unassembled cabinets to my right. The camera can hide a lot.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:50 AM

What Would Martha Think?

What Would Martha Think?
Originally uploaded by Ann Douglas.

This is how the office kitchen looks these days -- definitely a work in progress. Maybe there will be a sink or cupboards or a new floor within a few months. Our plans of having a 2006 office launch have been put on hold. I may not be Martha Stewart, but even I would have a hard time hosting a party out of a kitchen that looks like this.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:49 AM

Alphabet Window

Alphabet Window
Originally uploaded by Ann Douglas.

This is a folk-art alphabet tag I picked up in the summer at my favourite country store in Bancroft ($1.75 each). I have one hanging on each of my office windows.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:48 AM

Office in Progress: Dec. 1

Office in Progress: Dec. 1
Originally uploaded by Ann Douglas.

This is my actual office at the new place. (Florence has her own office, too. It looks a lot like mine, but it's different enough that we don't look like we're trying to play The Bobbsey Twins.) I still don't have any books moved into my office or into the main reception area (!), but I've got one small set of file drawers assembled, as well as my desk. And I picked up a brightly coloured area rug at IKEA to tie together all the bright colours in the room. It should be pretty colourful in here by the time I'm finished pulling everything together.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:44 AM

The Mother of All Plaques

The Mother of All Plaques
Originally uploaded by Ann Douglas.

Here's a picture of the plaque, as promised. (Yes, I managed to get the camera and the camera cord to the office on the same day. It is a miracle.) I'm also going to post a few other office pictures, just for fun. Stay tuned!

| posted by Ann D @ 10:35 AM