I’ve gone international! Now appearing in… Florida?

You’re probably going to laugh at this. You’re going to roll your eyes, and you’re going to try not to laugh at with me, but you’re not going to be able to help yourself.

Guess which newspaper I’m in today?
Give up? The Tampa (!!) Tribune!

Guess which section?
The food (!!) section.

Guess why?
C’mon, guess!
Why, candy swap, of course. It makes perfect sense now, doesn’t it?

Last week, a reporter from the Tampa Tribune was thinking about doing an article on candy swaps, and he came across my posts about the candy swap hosted by Andrea earlier this year. He interviewed both Andrea and I, and we’re featured in his article, “Gimme Some Sugar“, that appears today. Fun, eh? It’s not in the online edition, but the paper edition may feature this picture of Tristan and Simon, opening my candy swap bounty from Bethany, that’s in the original post. (I tried to copy the photo here, but after two hours – grrrr! – of fighting with Blogger Beta, I give up!)

Maybe it was my Canadian accent, but somehow he transcribed my candy beneficiary Nancy as Melissa. Sorry, Nancy, I really do know your name – honest!!

The interview was fun, as the writer and I compared childhood notes on such favourites as Pop Rocks, Bottle Caps and Fun Dips. But did you know they don’t have Mackintosh Toffee in Florida? Scandalous! Maybe it’s a Canadian thing? Anyway, the writer was very entertained by the idea of the very satisfying ritual of thwacking your Mack on the table to break it into bite-sized pieces of caramelly joy.

Speaking of childhood fun, please pardon the non-sequiter but I have to tell you about the Christmas present I bought for the boys yesterday online. Shhh!

It’s from Cranium, the company that makes Cadoo and Balloon Lagoon and our favourite, Hullabaloo. It’s called Super Fort: a 73-piece fort building kit. How cool is that? It comes with foam tubes – some rigid, some bendy – for building the structure, and magnetic connectors. It also has a handful of colourful cloth panels for walls, floors and ceilings, and clips to afix them. It’s all designed for little hands, ages four and up. I can hardly wait until Christmas to see them open it up!! I love that feeling, when you know you’ve found a perfect gift. The Canadian Toy Testing Council agrees – they gave it their highest rating. And best of all? No batteries and no volume switch!

Heck, I guess this resolves the two-beds or bunk-beds question. We’ll just throw a couple of pillows and blankets in with the box, and we’ll be golden!

Mixed messages

I’m having a good couple of days. Pardon my enthusiasm, but I had to update you on Tristan’s school foibles.

You’ll remember a couple of weeks ago, we got called in for a parent-teacher confab after a mere eight days of school, causing me to believe we should perhaps stop saving for Tristan’s education and instead start saving for bail money.

Yesterday, we got the first ‘goal worksheet’ back in Tristan’s communication folder (because he alternates between a French and an English teacher, he hasn’t been back with the other teacher since the week of our conference.) Five goals, five happy faces for five goals achieved. Go Tristan!

And from the department of mixed messages, we also got a lovely little certificate signed by the principal saying Tristan was “Star of the Week” for October 2 through 5. I understand from our daycare provider, who has older children at the school, that this is an honour bestowed upon a student by having the certificate hang in the hallway outside the principal’s office for a week, then sent home to the child’s beaming parents. I have no idea of the significance of this honour, whether he was nominated by a panel of his peers, or whether he will be able to add it to his curiculum vitae some day, but Tristan was plenty proud and so am I.

And speaking of honours, one of you lovely peeps have nominated me (or rather, nominated blog) for a Canadian Blog Award again this year. I am in great company, with nominating nods – so far – to many of my favourites, including Beanie Baby, MUBAR, Martinis for Milk, Breadcrumbs in the Butter, Bub and Pie, and a peek inside the fishbowl. I’m honoured and touched by your nominations – thanks!

Almost famous

Remember waaaaaay back in early September, when I mentioned that I had been to a blogger meet-up with Andrea and Kerry? I never did get around to writing more about it, but that night there was a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen there, and she was intrigued by our discussions about the free stuff bloggers get (and you know how I love the free stuff) and the agonizing I was doing at that time over running ads on the blog.

Well, this morning the feature she wrote was the cover of the Tech Weekly section, with a giant photograph of Tristan and I, framed in our laptop monitor! How cool is that? I so wish the photograph was in the online edition, because it really is a lovely shot. Maybe I can scan it and show you later on.

The article itself was great. The reporter compared four Ottawa bloggers and our different approaches to blogging for profit. I know one of the other bloggers (Hi David!) and met another one of them at the blogger meet-up. It was a lot of fun to be part of the process, too. While I’ve had letters to the editor run a few times before, this is the first time I’ve been part of an actual article.

I had to laugh when I saw she had written, “Postcards from the Mothership provides an intimate look at Donders’ life. The federal government employee recently told readers about her pregnancy before she told her bosses.” Hmmm, as of this morning I still hadn’t gotten around to telling some of those bosses formally yet. You think communications exectives read the paper much? *cringe* Then again, I’m not sure all of them knew about blog, either. (Hi, big bosses!)

I laughed out loud when I read that the reporter, Alexandra, worked in a plug for me. In discussing ads on blogs, she quotes me saying “‘Blogging — for me, at least — is so very personal that allowing ads on the blog seemed a slippery slop to selling myself and my kids and our personal experiences,’ she says” but then continues on with “while pointing out that she’d be willing to consider a book publisher’s offer.” Random House, Harper Collins, House of Anansi – are you listening?

The best reaction was from Tristan, though. Newspapers have an elevated status around our house already – the boys know nothing happens in the morning until Mommy has read the newspaper. The picture of us is almost a full half-page, and he is absolutely tickled by it – and by the fact that you can see his new-for-school Scooby Doo backpack in the photo! We were both up a few minutes before the rest of the house, so I had time to show it to him before anyone else was up. He practically bowled Beloved over shoving the photo up to his bleary, half-opened eyes, and wouldn’t let me take Simon out of his crib until Tristan had positioned the paper just right for optimal viewing.

So, if you’re here as a result of the Citizen article, welcome! Pour yourself a coffee and feel free to join the conversation – we’re a friendly lot around here. Me, I’ll be out looking for extra vanity copies of the paper. For Tristan’s baby book, of course.

Edited to add: thanks to Andrea – although I hate to foil her enterpreneurship! – I have this scan of the photo from today. Props to Citizen photographer Ashley Fraser, who took this and about 100 other pictures that day, and was incredibly patient with both Tristan and me!