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Wednesday, July 25, 2007
It doesn't matter how many times you've lost a loved one. You don't get advanced credit for previous experiences with grief. You're back at square one. And, right now, I'm grieving the loss of my grandmother who died on Monday, at age 98.

It helps to know that she lived a long and happy life and that she was healthy until the very end and that she was ready to go -- but I am still going to miss her, terribly. Grandmothers are such special people in our lives, and this was my last living grandmother -- my mother's mother. (My mother died four-and-a-half years ago.)

At first, I felt totally alone. I'm now the oldest surviving female in my branch of the family tree. But if I look to adjacent branches, there are aunts and female cousins galore. And I share my tree branch with three amazing sisters, to say nothing of a Dad who is extremely kind and soft-hearted underneath his practical and efficient exterior. (He's a 1951 vintage engineer.)

And when I zoom in on my twig, I have an adorable daughter, who has emerged from her goth-colic period to become a thoughtful 19-year-old; three boys who are at the stage at which they can not be written about -- but who know how I feel about them; and a husband who has managed to survive almost 21 years of marriage to a writer who is either wearing her heart on her sleeve or spilling it on the page. (Lucky him, huh?)

And then there are my friends -- my ever-patient friends, who hang in there when I get depressed or am busy writing or am incredibly enthused about a project or....whatever. I am blessed with truly great friends.

So while both my grandmothers and my mother are no longer here and my heart feels lonely right now, I know I'm not alone. And I can still draw upon the amazing lessons that I've learned from these three women who have left an amazing imprint on my life -- who taught me important lessons about justice, fairness, and respect; and what it means to be part of a family.

And I can look at my own children and see evidence that they understand this, too -- that it's the human connections that matter most in life: either the family you were born into or the family you create for yourself through your circle of friends. So the legacy of these three women -- Mabel and Netta and Barbara -- will carry on through my lifetime and my children's lifetimes.

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| posted by Ann D @ 12:22 PM

Large Families: Be Interviewed for Meagan Francis' Forthcoming Book

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
My writer-buddy Meagan Francis is looking for authors to interview for a book about raising large families. Here's how to get in touch if you're interested in sharing your stories about the joys and challenges of raising a larger-than-average family.

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| posted by Ann D @ 2:48 PM

SavvyMom Mompreneur of the Year Award

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Don't forget to nominate your favorite mompreneur for The SavvyMom Mompreneur™ of the Year Award. I was thrilled to see that Tracy Keleher is serving on the advisory panel for the award. A decade ago, Tracey was the Canadian parenting Internet (or, to be more specific, her "baby" -- CanadianParents.com -- was the original haven for Canadian parents seeking information and support online. How wonderful to see Sarah and Minnow recognize Tracey's parenting wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit by asking her to consult on these awards. A truly savvy and classy move.

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| posted by Ann D @ 8:18 PM

Mom Brain Cam

On my mind today -- from the serious to the silly to the slightly bummed to the sublime.

  • media concentration in Canada -- and why you should care

  • the newest mommy label -- slummy mummy

  • car break-ins (both ours got hit last night: my husband lost an iPod; I lost about $20 worth of coins) -- and we're obviously in good company given that 1100 cars were broken into in Peterborough last year (a 68.7% increase over the previous year -- see pg. 18)

  • when and why wearing a hat to school or to school functions became such a bad thing. If it's due to gang concerns, as some of these school policy documents indicate, can't distinctions be made between gang-related hat activity and wearing a baseball cap or another ordinary hat? What do schools do when kids wear other clothes with gang colours/markings to school?
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    | posted by Ann D @ 1:11 PM

    Motherhood as Creative Inspiration

    Monday, July 16, 2007
    I came across this remarkable article about the life, death, and career of Adrienne Shelly by The Observer's Gaby Wood entirely by chance. Once I started reading the piece, I was completely mesmerized, both by the dramatic and tragic circumstances surrounding Shelly's death and by how committed she was to her final film project -- and why.

    Here's a brief snippet from Wood's article:

    "Shelly wrote Waitress when she was pregnant with her daughter, Sophie, who was a toddler by the time it was shot....[Producer Michael] Roiff recalls that when they were editing the film in its final stages, 'one of the things she was most excited about was the fact that she had done this as a woman and as a mother. She was an amazing mum, and I remember one day when we had watched a cut of the film, she turned around and said: "Look, you can do it. Society wants to tell you that you have to choose, but you don't have to choose." To a huge extent, that's what the film's about."

    In this video, Adrienne Shelly discusses how her feelings about motherhood motivated her to write the script for Waitress.

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    | posted by Ann D @ 7:51 PM

    BlogHers Act Canada

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007
    Jen over at MUBAR does a great job of explaining the chain of events that led to the creation of BlogHers Act Canada -- the Canadian counterpart to BlogHers Act in the U.S.

    To multi-tasking mamas, focus is a novel concept -- we want to fix everything for everyone all at once -- but that just puts us on the fast-track to burnout. A smarter strategy (says she who excels at taking on too much and then freaking out as the symptoms of burnout begin to set in) is to pick one thing that is likely to make a major impact and to do that really well. That's why the bloggers behind BlogHers Act Canada are asking for help in identifying a first focus.

    I looked at the list of things that need fixing now in order to make life tolerable for large numbers of Canadian women and children. Then I started thinking, "What has the most potential to make the most difference?" Given the many hours I have invested in the political campaign of a woman I really believe in -- someone who will work hard on behalf of women and children -- I feel that the political route is the best route to go. That's not to say that party politics aren't infuriating, frustrating, crazymaking (repeat, repeat, repeat) -- but, until enough women infiltrate the system and make political parties more women-friendly (or even mother-friendly), this is the only system we have.

    The system needs fixing. Badly, so that mothers' voices are heard. But that's just my opinion. Now I'm off to read what others have said. Thanks for listening.


    New Federal Policies Affecting Women’s Equality: Reality Check Available at Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women

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    | posted by Ann D @ 10:05 PM

    Summer Parenting: The Ultimate Reality TV Experience

    Hey, didn't you mention that the crew of Summer Parenting Survivor was going to be spending the summer at your place? Or did I get you confused with some other family? After all, it seems like everyone wants to get in on the Reality TV action these days.

    And speaking of summer action, I've been noticing that the blogosphere is a little quieter than usual. I'm trying to decide if it's because parents are

    (a) having all kinds of fun (in the real world and/or at Facebook);
    (b) stressed to the max due to the challenges of summer juggling; or
    (c) both, depending on the minute/hour/day.

    The last two days have been very, very "c." Last week was very "a" (real world, not Facebook). How have things been for you?

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    | posted by Ann D @ 9:12 PM

    Well Baby Clinic for Peterborough Babies

    The Peterborough Family Resource Centre recently added a well baby clinic to its always excellent menu of services for families. Local parents can have their baby questions answered on Thursdays from 10 am to noon and 2:00 pm until 3:00 pm, starting again in August. (The Peterborough Family Resource Centre is closed for the month of July.)

    My friend Laura Devine is one of the R.N.s involved with the clinic. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Laura knows that her warm and encouraging style is one of the clinic's greatest assets. Her colleagues Kellie and Mel are fabulous, too. (The great thing about living in a small town is that it's possible to get to know so many people like the PFRC gang. They kept me sane (ish) when I was a new mom.

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    | posted by Ann D @ 8:35 PM