Saturday, February 12, 2011

Coming Soon To A Bookshelf Near You

“Thinkaboutit: Philosophy for Kids”, a series of books for young thinkers, including snappy discussions, interviews with history’s coolest thinkers, try-it-yourself experiments, and nifty activity pages. Stay tuned to our website ( for more information, or contact us ( to be added to our email bulletin.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Milton Mompreneur Showcase

I'll be joining my fellow business moms at the Milton Mompreneur Showcase. Join us for demonstrations, raffles, samples and lots of other goodies.

Saturday October 16th, 12-4 pm
Milton Sports Centre
605 Santa Maria Blvd., Milton

Monday, August 9, 2010

Baby Talk: My New Second Language

A couple of months ago, I was listening to an interview with award-winning novelist Yann Martel. A new father, he was commenting on his recent overuse of the word "cute". He mused at how strange it was that while he made his living stringing together elegant phrases, he couldn't help but resort to "cute". His infant son's complete and overwhelming cuteness demanded that he regress.

Before I became a parent, I swore I'd never use baby babble. I feared that it would not only inhibit the intellectual development of my child, but would stunt my own progress. I vowed I would never refer to myself in third person. I swore I'd avoid using a squeaky voice to sing the praises of someone's teeny little toes. I hoped I would be able to hang onto some degree of eloquence.

Like Martel, I've fallen into a new, goofy mindset. I coo over chubby legs and fluffy toys. I ask ridiculous, rhetorical questions like "Who's a pretty baby?" I make pop and squeak noises with my face and change song lyrics to include my little one's name. It's completely involuntary.

Linguistically, I've turned into a complete dork. What's even worse is that I'm actually loving it. There is absolutely no need to put on a show for my daughter. She couldn't care less if I lose my composure, or if I refuse to act my age. She's given me leave to be a complete idiot, and instead of being demeaning, it's a relief. She and I will both have plenty of time to stumble over big words and fancy imagery later on.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Real Miracle

Well, the cat's out of the bag. A little less than six weeks ago, after nine months of fanfare, I reproduced. The good news is, my fears about not bonding with my daughter were unfounded (don't laugh, sometimes it really doesn't happen). She's only as big as a roasting chicken, and she's managed to make sloppy, grinning morons out of everyone who crosses her path. Pretty impressive really, considering she can scream in pitches only dogs can hear, and is capable of producing her weight in projectile filth every few hours. A little fuzz of hair, a set of tiny fingernails, and the ability to make little squeak noises go a long, long way.

Okay, dare I say it, the cheesy overstatement that everyone makes that I swore I'd avoid as a parent? Yup, she's a miracle. A year ago she wasn't, and now she is- ex nihilo personified. First babies are miracles, and they dumbfound their adoring parents on a daily basis.

The real miracle, however, are the children who come next. I'm sleep deprived, sore, and figurative language fails me miserably on this one. This job is hard. Damn hard. As much as I'm overwhelmed with awe at the little squirming thing I've produced, I'm positively gobsmacked that after all of this, anyone else ever chooses to have a second child. All babies are miracles, but the ones that get let into the house after all the bedlam of the inaugural baby are truly spectacular. Anyone who sneaks in after number two should be seen with even greater wonderment. Just a little reminder to any parents who've lost their sense of amazement after a few kids, from someone on the other side of the fence.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

An Old Ritual Remembered

It's my sister's wedding day today. Somewhere, about twenty minutes away from me, she's probably rushing around, going over her lists of things to do. She's picked a fantastic partner, and I think the event this evening is going to be just like her- fun, friendly and colourful. I'm ready to celebrate every aspect of this marriage.

However, as I do my own rushing around, getting ready, I'm reminded of another ritual, one that used to take place almost thirty years ago. I'm staring at myself in the mirror, hair chock-full of rollers, and all of the sudden, I'm seven years old again. My grandmother, who died when I was twelve, is twisting my stubborn little locks around tubes of pink foam with her soft, wrinkly hands. In an hour or two, she'll take them out, and coo praises, even though I look like Shirley Temple in a wind tunnel.

Today, we're having a wedding, the pinnacle of tradition. There will be vows and rings and speeches, a big dinner and lots of dancing. As I said, I'm elated to be part of it, but I'm also humbled and surprised at the tiny ritual that's caught my attention, and thankful that even those who aren't with us can still attend the big event.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Attack of the Little Fish

We've become addicted to hyperbole.

Reality shows (I know, the name is ironic) feature participants whose every emotional drama and bodily function is the stuff of Greek tragedy. Every new invention is set to change our entire way of life. The common person on the street is ready, willing and able to speak volumes about subjects he or she knows nothing about. Bloggers like me spend hours firing our musings into the ethos, hoping someone will notice.

While I'm relieved that the world is changing in such a way that everyone can have their say, I'm a little concerned at our collective insistence that we're all entitled to be important, all of the time. It seems that the same mechanisms that allow us to get up on our soap boxes and be heard could be the same one that makes us feel small in the first place. Let's face it, our global village is getting considerably more populated. It could be that we're all now acutely aware of the size of our "pond", not to mention the fact that all of the rest of the little fishes out there can now swim right in our faces.

I'm confident that this pendulum, like many before it, will someday swing the other way. We'll gain confidence in our own individual "specialness" and get over the need to scream it from rooftops at every opportunity. As a wise person once mused, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Until then, I'm not ashamed to admit that this little fish, like her contemporaries, is willing to wait until everyone else acknowledges her awesomeness. Hey, I'm only human.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Business, With Two X Chromosomes

Becoming an entrepreneur was a little intimidating. When I began, I had absolutely no experience in the business world. I knew nothing of keeping books, balancing budgets, devising marketing strategies or conducting meetings. I was a confirmed "artsy", and until then, I'd been quite content to let someone else sweat over profits. It was my role to be creative and dynamic, to inspire and delight.

When we (my husband and I) decided to give small business a go, I did what I thought a person was supposed to do. I read books, dusted off my stodgy pantsuits and prepared to get aggressive with our competition. I braced myself for phones that rang incessantly, and memos to be written. I bought into the Donald Trump, Hollywood-ized version of business, the one full of predators and life-or-death situations.

Four years later, I'm happy to report that my experience of small business ownership has been completely redefined. For one thing, I've found that there is still room for creativity. Indeed, our success as a company has depended on us thinking in wacky new ways. It also isn't as fiercely competitive as I had feared. Perhaps it's the recession, or just a new social trend, but collaboration seems to be as popular as corporate head-butting.

My greatest relief was to find that business wasn't the "boys' club" I had feared (I use gender stereotypes only when necessary). Perhaps it was because I actively sought other successful women, or because I happened to fall in with the right group at the right time. Whatever the reason, time and time again, I've found myself in the company of female entrepreneurs who've managed to represent our half of the population with style and grace. Moreover, they've done so on their own terms, making their living by doing what they truly love. Happily (and perhaps not surprisingly), they've also attracted male business partners who seem relieved at the chance to earn a living while still having a life.

Tonight, I'm attending an open house full of successful women. They come at business from a variety of angles- baker, counselor, artist, designer, but they all bring a different brand of fantastic to their business. Perhaps someone should write Donald Trump and let him know...