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End of June Grab Bag

Friday, June 29, 2007
>>> 200th BIRTHDAY BASH

It's not often that you get the chance to attend a 200th birthday party, but that's what Wiley -- my pregnancy and parenting book publisher -- hosted for itself at the Liberty Grand at Exhibition Place. Yes, the company is older than Canada and -- apparently -- before the Wiley family got involved in the book trade, they were distillers. Obviously, they felt that the real money was to be made in books, not booze.

Anyway, my table was made up of a mix of Wiley authors and editors and their various spouses/partners: Leah Fairbairn (editor); Robert Hickey (editor); Ian Blumer, MD, and Heather McDonald-Blumer, MD, authors of Understanding Prescription Drugs for Canadians for Dummies; Alyson Shafer, author of Breaking the Good Mom Myth. Here's a photo of Alyson and I exchanging copies of our books.

Parenting Author Book Swap


>>> ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?

That's the topic du jour over @ Yahoo! Parenting: Are We Having Fun Yet? What I'm getting at here is whether we sometimes get too busy to have fun as parents or whether we take parenting too seriously. Have you found yourself falling into this trap from time to time? (I know I have.) If you want to join in the discussion, please hop on over to Yahoo! and have your say.

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| posted by Ann D @ 11:18 AM

Beauty Deconstructed

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Share this video from The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty with a girl or young woman in your life and help spread the message that anyone can look like a supermodel with a little help from a makeup artist and Photoshop.

P.S. Thanks to my sister Sandra for telling me about the video.

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| posted by Ann D @ 8:42 AM

Going With the Flow

Friday, June 22, 2007

We finally got around to celebrating Father's Day at our place yesterday. It's not that we're that behind schedule. It's just that scheduling is always a challenge at Chateau Douglas, and yesterday was the first day when everyone was available at the same time, including the focus of Father's Day himself. In the end, only three of us ended up heading out for dinner -- as opposed to our "pile six people in the car" celebrations of times past.

Our family is changing. Increasingly, I feel like I'm raising one kid -- the nine-year-old -- and that I'm "the landlady" to three teenagers. (The dynamics are totally different.) And then one of the teenagers will do something that requires, ahem, more active parenting and I'm back in the mom trenches with him or her. It's an interesting time but also a slightly confusing time for the teens and for me as we do this new kind of mother dance, trying to figure out how to relate to one another on different terms. I'm really enjoying this stage of parenting, in part because it's so different from anything that came before. There's a new confidence on their part and mine and a readiness to embrace this new stage in our relationship rather than subtley (or not-so-subtley) resisting the change. We're letting the tide carry us forward together.

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| posted by Ann D @ 7:59 AM

Of Mice and Moms

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Well, isn't that special, as the Saturday Night Night Church Lady would say. For some reason, The Mother of All Blogs stopped recognizing me. I'm talking about total blog amnesia here. The Blog wouldn't even offer up the log-in screen so that I could prove my identity. I kind of felt like I was in one of those frustrating customer service snafus where no one will listen to you and you keep getting passed from one person to the other -- but, in this case, there weren't even live people to help me out. The only way I could fix the problem in the end was to create another blog (The imposter blog) using the same password and log-in. The imposter blog then found the real blog and they had a happy reunion via the dashboard. (Paradise by the dashboard light?) Whatever. I was just happy to have the keys to the blogging kingdom -- or the dashboard -- again.

Very strange how these little blogging glitches arise out of nowhere after everything has been just chugging along. It's not unlike family life, now that I think of it. Just as you dare to allow yourself to think, "Wow, things are going so well," you know you've jinxed things. Or so it seems to me in my more paranoid moments of parenting.

On some unrelated topics....

>> PARENTING IN THE HOME OFFICE -- JUGGING A FAMILY AND A BUSINESS : If you've got thoughts to share about the joys and challenges of juggling a family and a home-based business, it would be great if you could help liven up the discussion over at Yahoo! Parenting. (This is crunch time for every parent I know, so it doesn't surprise me that the discussion forum is a little dead, but it's a bit lonely over there this week. If I have to, I'll resort to talking to myself -- I've done it over PA systems at book-signings! -- but it's a lot more fun to have someone other than myself to talk to.)

>> WRITING RETREATS : I'm on a writing retreat up at the cottage while my youngest is on a school trip. I thought I was alone up here, but I've had two uninvited guests. The first decided to [click through if you can handle it] die a very dramatic death on top of the stove. (Okay, he was half dead when I chucked him into the woods.) The second decided to freak me out by running around the cottage at 2 am last night. I barricaded myself in the bedroom with a towel blocking the gap at the bottom of the door. Did you know that mice can make their rib cages collapse so that they can squeeze themselves through unbelievable small cracks? I wasn't taking any chances. Mice drama aside, I have been having a great time writing, taking photos, and enjoying a timeout from the regular routine.

Angel Amidst the Trees ~ On Retreat ~ The Road Less Travelled ~ Stop and Smell the Daisies


>> CHEERLEADER MODE : I am really thrilled to be on the Andi and Miriam cheerleading team, encouraging them to meet their daily word quotas as they sprint towards greatness and finish writing The Daring Book for Girls. The book is going to be terrific and offer a refreshing break from the "be hot and sex for your boyfriend" drivel that is increasingly being aimed at preteen girls. (Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Maple Tree Press, who published the book my daughter Julie and I wrote together, has always been ahead of the pack in producing quality, self-esteem boosting books for girls, and they won't be producing any books that Paris Hilton or any other underwear-challenged celeb would approve of anytime soon.) Anyway, Andi and Miriam are both really good friends and unwaveringly supportive of their fellow authors, which makes them all-stars in my eyes. I couldn't be happier for them as this soon-to-be bestseller begins to attract much attention from all the big U.S. media outlets. They so deserve it.

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| posted by Ann D @ 10:31 AM

Take a Walk on the Wild Side as a Family

Friday, June 08, 2007

Getting back to nature with your child is not only fun. It can have far-reaching benefits for your child and the planet.

If your kids are more in tune with the online world than the world of nature, you might want to ease them into the world of nature via Campsite 24 -- The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resource's website for kids.

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| posted by Ann D @ 2:39 PM

BlogHersAct: A Perfect Fit for BlogHer

Thursday, June 07, 2007
BlogHer has announced an exciting new activism initiative that has the potential to rally tens of thousands of women bloggers in powerful, positive ways -- BlogHersAct.

It's a natural for an organization that has brought women bloggers together online. This is the logical next step: asking women bloggers to work collectively to raise awareness of important issues and causes as the need arises (and there's always a need).

I predict that the initiative will have an important spinoff effect: helping women to raise their voices (political and otherwise) in the off-line world so that we have a more gender-balanced dialogue about what it will take to fix the very real problems in today's world and the world our children will inherit.

Yeah, BlogHer! And welcome, BlogHersAct!

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| posted by Ann D @ 2:36 PM

Summer Parenting

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I'm doing 21 radio interviews today on the theme of Summer Parenting -- a personal record for me for the most interviews ever in a five-hour period.

It will also be a fascinating scientific study as to the staying power of caffeine and the holding power of the human bladder.

I've created a mini-site with articles focusing on today's tour topics, just in case anyone is interested. You can find it at SummerParenting.com.

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| posted by Ann D @ 6:28 AM

In the Swim of Things

I heard on my way over to the office this morning that six out of ten Canadian kids today don't know how to swim. What do you think is behind this stat? Is it the cost/availability of swimming lessons? The fact that some kids are reluctant to take swimming lessons (and parents may be reluctant to enroll reluctant swimmers)?

I'm trying to puzzle this through with my parent hat on. Aiming for a 100 percent swim rate may be unrealistic, although that would be the ideal. Three out of four of my kids are swimmers. My youngest has been taking swimming lessons for three years straight (through his school), but has required a lot of patience and encouragement to have anything to do with the water. I think we'll eventually get him to swim (as in cross the pool and say, "There, I did it!" (and then hop out of the pool). But that may be his entire swimming career. Thoughts?

Related: SummerParenting.com.

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| posted by Ann D @ 6:20 AM

Thanks; Stress Talk

Monday, June 04, 2007

Tuesday is going to be the day my blog @ Yahoo! Parenting gets updated @ Yahoo! Canada Lifestyle from now on. Thanks to everyone who has visited to far. It's great to see some familiar faces "over there."

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Update:

Okay, it's not Tuesday yet, but this week's post on Generation Stress just went up. I'm talking about the recent Stats Can study which found that sixty-four per cent of teens admit to cutting back on sleep in order to get things done. (Wonder where they picked up that habit?) Join in the conversation over here. So far, I'm just talking to myself about this topic, so the conversation will be much improved if you drop by. :-)

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| posted by Ann D @ 8:26 AM

Work-Life Balance @ Womenshealthmatters.ca

Last month, I was invited to be the guest expert at Womenshealthmatters.ca Le Club. My topic was work-life balance -- not because I've got my act together (as if!) but because I've done a lot of research and writing in this area. You can find the discussion here.

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| posted by Ann D @ 8:13 AM

Authors Guild Launches Republish or Perish Campaign

Friday, June 01, 2007
It's an unprecedented rights grab amongst book publishers -- a contract so bad that the Authors Guild is launching a campaign today at Book Expo America, to tell authors everything they need to know about the new Simon & Schuster contract.



Update:

Simon & Schuster executives yesterday apologized for "any early miscommunication" regarding reversion of rights, according to the Association of Authors' Representatives (the literary agents' organization).  S&S is willing to negotiate a "revenue-based threshold" to determine whether a book is in-print, says the AAR.  The AAR's alert follows.
Simon & Schuster's new position reflects substantial movement from their initial stance, but it raises many questions, including (1) whether revenues would be measured by income to the publisher or the author, (2) what level of revenues would meet the threshold, and (3) how unagented authors (particularly children's book authors) would fare under this policy.
We're off to BEA.  More details certainly to come.
Feel free to post and forward this message.  The Authors Guild (www.authorsguild.org) is the nation's oldest and largest organization of published authors.

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| posted by Ann D @ 9:20 AM