October 13th, 2011

Big brands are lining up to harness the clout of online moms

I could have filled an entire book with all of the things I had to say about this, but at least I seemed to have the last word in the article. Sadly I feel things have gone much to far to be turned around now, the article illustrates this perfectly, (though a part of me still holds hope for a smaller niche of mom blogs who do not believe in mixing parenting with advertising money). This supposedly democratic medium has already been eroded to such a great degree that I no longer trust in it. To be honest it has gone much further to the dark side than I ever could have imagined, (whole conferences dedicated to matching women up with advertisers and free stuff). I attended BlogHer several years ago and will never attend again, given the aisles of advertisers giving away free stuff so that you will talk about it on your site (even basted turkeys, yes it’s true). I have since turned down several of these “conferences” which exist solely to make money for advertisers.

I wish I could write here all of the things that didn’t get printed. I will try to find time to do so. But I have a little one who needs my attention. So for now the article will have to suffice.

I will still continue with my own little war against it. I do not attempt to win the war, but to exist as a voice for the opposition (there seem to be not many of us). My problem is really with our culture at large that values money over more important aspects of living (love, health, education, connection). Since giving birth to my children I have become more passionate about this than ever. What kind of world do I want them to live in?

I have a quote that says it better than I can right now:

We need to ask questions like ‘Why do we think that economic growth and high levels of consumption are so important?’ The conventional answer would be to point to the economic consequences of not having economic growth. But in deep ecology, we ask whether the present society fulfills the basic human needs like love and security and access to nature, and in do doing, we question our society’s underlying assumptions.

from Arne Naess’s 1973 paper “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement”

It is the asking of questions that is important to me. I feel that is my important work now.

October 10th, 2011

1. I love all of my readers. You guys are the best. (Especially “Folks call me Johnny”, who makes me laugh at least once a week. I almost peed myself several times.)

2. Today was a wonderful day. Happy baby. Happy Momma. Happy family.

3. For Elizabeth: I would recommend the Pema Chodron lecture “Getting Unstuck” (available from Sounds True). It is also available in book form. It is just easier for me to listen to lectures currently, and hers are really fantastic.

4. My dog got sprayed by a skunk a month ago. He still smells. He is sleeping by my feet. Can you conjure that smell right now? Try it.

5. My “Adfree” interview went really well. I realize after not talking about the matter for a couple of years I had so much built up about it and I completely unleashed it all in one fail swoop. Actually there is a lot more in there but I will save it for another time. I have never been more passionate about questioning advertising than I am after having my children. I want to reinvent the whole world for them. But if I can’t do that then at least I will speak out against what I feel is wrong. I will let you know when the article is out/up later this week, after I read it myself first. I’ll give you a hint, it’s a Toronto newspaper.

6. The feedback for “Finish This Book” is really amazing so far! Seeing people working on the pages thrills me to no end (and makes me a bit jealous because I really want to do it too but as I mentioned, time is short). I want to tell you to go see what people are doing in the Flickr Group, but I realize that you probably shouldn’t go because it will give too much away (the book is in part a mystery after all). So don’t do it. Save it for yourself to discover. You’ll thank me for it.

7. The fall weather makes me reminisce about my bookstore, where I worked before I became a full time illustrator/author. On the cold days we always had a fire going and you could cosy up in the big, feather stuffed couches and read to your heart’s content. It is a magical place, with creaky wooden floors and beautiful paintings with secret hiding places behind them (true story). I haven’t been there for a few years now. I wonder if they carry my books?


9. I left number 8 intentionally blank.

10. Number nine didn’t really have much content to it.

11. Neither did ten now that I think about it. To make up for it I will write about the next thing that comes into my head. Right now…

12. My feet are cold.

13. I didn’t promise it would be interesting. I should probably go to bed now.

October 5th, 2011

a list

1. the colic is not yet finished. my little one has ceased napping during the day and is not a happy camper. I should not have celebrated.

2. I found out recently that I am a “post consumer”, after doing a google search on “how to make your own shoes”. I should have known. This prompted a new book idea.

3. I get a new book idea every week (on a good week I might have several). yes, it’s true. Some make it. Many don’t. I write them all down.

4. I had thought that not many people were reading this blog as I have not been posted as frequently lately. Then I found out a friend’s site was swamped with traffic after I linked to her. oops.

5. So, um, hi there! Apparently you are still here in large numbers.

6. I got a new book idea while having pre-labour contractions, though I didn’t really know they were contractions at the time. I thought I was just feeling a bit “crampy”. My body was telling me that time was short, so I did a book proposal in 48 hours and submitted it before real labour began.

7. I use “U’s” in my words. Favourite, Labour. It’s okay, I’m Canadian.

8. My wikipedia page used to say I was American. Someone fixed it though. Thank you.

9. For anyone out there who still has a problem with my adfree viewpoint, there was a nice piece on NPR today about TV shows that are ads themselves. Talk about blurring lines.

10. On that note, I am being interviewed for a largish newspaper tomorrow about adfree blog. Nice.

11. I scored a review for Finish this Book in a magazine that I really love and respect, but I can’t tell you yet who it is. I’ll give you a clue though, it’s kind of a literary magazine. I’ll let you know when it’s out. It’s kind of a dream come true. I just hope they like it.

12. I got two good reviews for Finish this Book on Amazon. The first one is really wonderful. It was also reviewed in Nylon, and hit a bestseller list in NYC!

13. I am going to make my own shoes. Did you guess that already? I’ve been reading this blog in preparation. Plus he has a beautiful Vardo.

September 27th, 2011

1. My beautiful sweet little girl Ida. It has been an intense, colic filled three months. I don’t even have the words for it really and to be honest I don’t wish to dwell in the past as I am completely ready to move on. Those of you who have been through it know EXACTLY what I am talking about. I know because some of you have written me. The best advice I received is, “there is no advice, you will figure out what works best for your baby”. We tried absolutely everything, and it changed on a daily basis. What saved me? The sling, the rocking chair I bought in desperation one day, the swing, my husband forcing me to go sit in the woods for an hour when I hit rock bottom, three hour sleep chunks, staying in the present moment.

2. My little girl’s huge smiles and constant cooing. Behind the colic was one happy baby!!! She is so adorable it should be illegal.

(I apologize to readers that I do not post photos of my babes online as I wish to protect the space and privacy of my family. It has become more pertinent as my work has gained popularity in the last few years. More importantly I believe we do not yet understand the repercussions of making our children’s early years public. I wonder how it would feel later in life to have so much of my world exposed? It is sometimes a hard choice for me because I so enjoy reading about and seeing photos of other families and people I care about in the online world. But I feel I need to err on the side of caution with this one. I want my children’s early years to be their own. I may write more about this at some point. Bag of worms, now open.)

3. Gypsy soup for dinner. We are celebrating the three month mark!

4. Gifts in the mail from far away places.

5. My new book. I am really not boasting, I just feel so very proud. I make things that I love and I share them with the world. Seeing others living within the pages fills me with a deep joy.

6. Wallace Stegner.

7. Danny Gregory’s new movie, which makes me want to run to my journal and watercolors!

8. River Cottage. I could watch it over and over. (oh yeah, I already do.) Hugh is a household name in our house, as in, “That’s just what Hugh would do!”

9. My family. We are still learning to be four, and there are many bumps along the way. But we are deeply happy even in the midst of the chaos.

10. Malabrigo Gruesa. I can’t get enough of it and must do something to curb my addiction.

September 20th, 2011

I had to laugh when I finished my lunch yesterday. I’ve been getting a lot of owl visitations lately. In preparation for giving birth I found an old book plate with a drawing of a beautiful Great Grey Owl (Strix Nebulosa). He was hung in my bedroom to watch over me and officially named “Harold”.

The night I went into labor much to my amazement I heard an owl screeching at about 3 o’clock in the morning. I had never heard one before in all the years I have lived here. So my chosen animal guide helper was calling his friends I think. It must have worked because the birth went amazingly well and my little girl popped out with an explosion of water (my water broke right before she appeared).

I have been learning a lot about animal medicine from my dear friend Pixie. I would encourage you to be open to some animal magic in your own world! They bring you some really great messages if you open your ears and mind to them.

September 8th, 2011

If you could create your own empire what would that look like?

That question actually relates to Finish this Book, but you’ll have to buy it to find out more. It is officially out there in stores and is already getting some nice reviews. I am working on my own answer to this question currently and it involves writing a manifesto.

Some things to report:

There is a giveaway at Wired’s Geek Dad blog.

here is a sweet review.

p.s. and what does this have to do at all with fungus. absolutely nothing. i just like that photo.

p.p.s. still living in the “House of Colic”. hoping for a bit more relief soon as we hit the three month mark in three weeks. to say it has been challenging is a bit of an understatement. we persevere.

August 22nd, 2011

One of my favourite houses in Flesherton is for sale (no it’s not mine), but I have spent many magical evenings there. You can see the listing here. It would be perfect for a family of artists, one who would like to grow a vegetable garden and have lots of space to create. Located in a small village with a bakery, two good restaurants, a cafe, a new library, an amazing cheese shop and all the nature you could want. And you could be my neighbor a few doors down (hence the plug). We will spending our summers in Flesherton from now on. This house has a really great energy, the family who is selling it are dear to my heart. Any takers?

August 18th, 2011

every night I walk several hours.
my baby has decided she does not like to stand still.
my husband and I take turns walking.
it has turned into a kind of poem.
a sleep deprived repetitive motion during which I notice the sound of the leaves and hear my feet hitting the ground.
tap tap tap tap tap tap
most nights I notice the sky, the clouds, the sunset, the hills in the distance.
little gifts amidst the chaos.

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