Gates McFadden

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We asked Gates McFadden (@gates_mcfadden) if she had ever had anyone tell her that they went into the medical field because of her portrayal of Dr Crusher. She said that there had been many stories like that, and that they were always the most precious to her.

She loved Keladry (of course!) and posed with the TARDIS for us!

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Éric’s 2017 Resolution – Mid-Year Review

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last December I set forth some pretty optimistic goals for this year’s resolutions. Let’s see how well I’ve done so far.

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1. Write 3000 words a week. (Ongoing)

I have not been accomplishing this… unfortunately. I’ll continue to try in the months ahead.

2. Complete The Copper Tarnish by March. (Failed)

The more I wrote the less I liked this novella and so in the end I’m shelving it and I plan on re-writing it someday in the future.

3. Start the next Elizabeth Investigates. (Ongoing)

The Hound of Baker Ville was supposed to be the next Elizabeth book I write, but the more I plotted, the more I realized it fit better as book 6. Now I can add a bunch of reveals and twists that will make it so much more exciting.

I still plan on starting book 4, which will be called The Mystery of the Dancing Lights. It’ll be a summer camp novel in two different time periods where we’ll learn more about Jackie’s father’s youth.

4. Read 30 books. (Ongoing)

At half way through the year I’m at 13 books. Only a few behind. Lots of time to catch up.

5. Write a Monthly Serial Story. (Ongoing)

So far so good. I have 5 episodes done and the sixth will be on Thursday (hopefully).

You can start reading at Part 1 of Database of the Ageless Kings here.

6. Test, Produce, and Develop 2 new coffee flavours. (Succeeded)

Both Green Apple and Marshmallow have been great successes. Yum!

7. Playtest the new content for FADDS and get it ready for submission in 2018. (Ongoing)

I’ve been casually editing it and adding a little more to the powers. I’m looking at hopefully a September playtest.

8. Continue to ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs. (Ongoing)

So far so good, we’ve been through sickness, vacations, baby stuff, and now me going back to work and stayed true to our five day schedule. Yay us!

10. Prepare A Case of Synchronicity submission to my publisher and Everdome for pitches at Can-Con. (Ongoing)

I’m currently editing Everdome and have finished about a third of it. I think a few good days and it’ll be ready for the Alpha-Reader/Weditor. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it out to 2-4 beta readers before Can-Con at the end of September.

A Case of Synchronicity,  or book 3 of Elizabeth, has been through beta readers and needs another pass before it’s ready for submission, but I think this will be a late November or December job.


So far not bad; only 1 failure is pretty good by me. Maybe I’ll beat my 65% success rate from two years ago.

I’m not adding anything this year. Normally I would add some, but the next 6 months are going to be a crazy marathon of stuff. It’ll be a challenge to get everything done on this list.

How are you doing on your resolutions?

Éric

Dear Dragon – Conventions and Sleep

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Dear Baby Dragon,

You’re almost nine months old. I’ve gone back to work and I’m missing you terribly.

Over the past nine months, you’ve been to a lot of activities and conventions. Throughout those events you’ve been absolutely wonderful. During the events, you make all the other parents jealous with how cute, easy going, and friendly you are.

The only downside to bringing you to conventions and other events is how it seems to really drain you. So many people and so many things to look at has you completely overstimulated for a few days after. You get ridiculously clingy and a little grumpy. It’s like having people around you all the time for a few days and then not having anyone, makes you worry that you’re alone.

It makes me really happy that we can share all these things with you. I’m excited and envious of you growing up in the Ottawa geek and writer’s communities. I hope you continue to enjoy them as you grow older.

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On a different subject, GO TO SLEEP! Sigh. You used to hate going to sleep but once you were asleep you were good. Now, you seem to have issues with staying asleep. I’m hoping its only because of your teeth. You’re teething pretty hard right now and I know it hurts.

Please go back to sleeping easily soon.

Love you lots,

Your tired Papa

Blush: Nursing

I'm getting good at taking SFW pictures of Keladry nursing!

Please note: This post is not meant to shame those who formula feed, stop nursing “early”, or continue nursing “late”. This is about my own personal nursing journey, and how I will be choosing to interpret the research I have done. I respect and rejoice in everyone’s decision on how best to feed their own babies. Any comments that shame anyone will be deleted. This is a safe space.


Nursing was very easy for me, minus a little hiccup overnight the first night. Keladry enjoyed chewing even back then, so I thought I was doing something wrong because it hurt. However, in the morning, things looked brighter (literally and figuratively) and we were able to progress quite well. Lanolin helped immensely.

I'm getting good at taking SFW pictures of Keladry nursing!
I’m getting good at taking SFW pictures of Keladry nursing!

At this point, Keladry is 8.5ish months. We feed her solids at every meal. She hates purees, so we give her tiny pieces of whatever we’re eating. And I’m nursing in between the meals. I’m also nursing before bed and when she wakes in the night.

Last week, my mother asked when I was going to stop nursing.

I had no idea. It certainly doesn’t feel right to stop at this time.

So I decided to do some research. And why not write a blog post about it?


The World Health Organization recommends nursing exclusively up to 6 months (we’re past that, so that’s good) and weaning around age 2 years. Personally, I currently feel like that’s a little old, but who knows how I’ll feel when she gets there? I think it feels old because I’m hung up on the number. But I can easily see how the comfort of nursing, and that bond felt with the child would push past any weirdness I feel. I really think that I’ll nurse until Keladry gives me an indication of wanting to stop.

If Keladry wants to stop before 1 year old, I would have to feed her formula until her birthday. At that time, I would be able to switch her to whole cow’s milk. Whole milk is important for babies because they need the extra fat content.

As for feeding solids, Keladry started showing an interest in our food at 2 months. She would track the food we put in our mouths, and open her mouth too. We held off feeding her anything until we got the go-ahead from her doctor just after 4 months, which is earlier than WHO recommends, but she was so enthusiastic about eating! So we fed her a little bit at each mealtime, and we didn’t cut down on nursing. When she had her first cold at 5 months, we cut out food and exclusively nursed so that she’d get more antibodies. I think that this plan worked okay for us. I would not recommend feeding solids earlier than 6 months without the approval of the baby’s doctor.

A note about extended nursing: It is not unusual for a child up to 4 years old to nurse. The health benefits are numerous, and it’s a shame that society pressures families to stop nursing because of their discomfort.

I found a number of really good sources for how to stop nursing. Oddly enough, two are from Australia. Please note; these references refer to “breastfeeding” as opposed to “nursing”.


References

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/breastfeeding-deciding-when-to-stop

http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/feedbaby.htm

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/lactation-suppression


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.

Back to Work

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Today is my second day back at work after a wonderful eight and a half months on parental leave.

I expected it to be weird (like visiting your old high school or a previous job) but it wasn’t, it was depressingly familiar. It almost felt like I hadn’t left.

Some things had changed but mostly it was the same old job. That’s both a good and a bad thing. I mean I’m glad I don’t have to learn an entire new job but I was hoping something would have changed a little.

Thanks to my freelance work, I haven’t slowed down or lost much of my ability, which is really nice considering I was thrown into a project right away.

from meme.com
from meme.com

The hardest part is being away from Dragon and Jen. I really enjoyed doing my freelance work and taking breaks to snuggle, change diapers, or play. It’s going to be really hard not seeing them all day.

Not being there for first words or first steps will really hurt but until I win the lottery or sell the movie rights to my books, I’m stuck here.

Back to work,

Éric

Comiccon 2017 Report

Thank You!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

With my week off and 2d6 Con drain, I forgot to talk about Ottawa Comiccon 2017. First things first:

Thank You!You made this years’ comiccon the best we’ve ever had, both in sales and in great company. We had a lot of people coming by to see Baby Dragon (who was quite the trooper) and a lot of return customers.

A great big thank you goes to Lindsay (GiLove2Dance) for sharing a table again this year and helping with Dragon. It was nice to get a break when she stole the baby and walked around.

We’re almost recovered from Comiccon now, so it’s time to start thinking about our next events. Our next selling event is C.O.N. Creative Ottawa Nerds Craft Show. It’s one of my favourite shows.

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Thank you again, and hope to see you June 10th,

Éric

Dear Dragon – Your Uncle

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Dear Dragon,

It’s a beautiful sunny 23rd of May and it’s your Uncle Dan’s birthday. You haven’t seen much of him yet because he’s really busy. Sometimes busy is an excuse adults use, but not in this case.

Your Uncle loves you a lot. I know he does because when I was younger, he lived in Ottawa while I lived in Val Gagné. I didn’t see him much then but when he came home, he was there for his annoying little brother. I never felt that he wanted to be somewhere else or that he was bored hanging out with me.

He was my favourite person and he would have done ridiculous stuff to make me happy.

Your Gramma told me about one time when I was very young but still older than you are now. I was sick and had to go to the hospital. She needed to get a ride from someone because she didn’t have a car. At that age I took Toutou (my teddy bear) everywhere and I brought him to the doctors with me, and of course I forgot him at the office.

I got home and took the medicine the doctor told me to and I snuggled in bed, only to realize I left poor Toutou at the hospital. I was devastated and wouldn’t go to sleep. I’m pretty sure I screamed… a lot.

There were no buses in Val Gagné and she couldn’t get a ride. Dan rode his bike all the way to the hospital and back. It was twenty or more kilometres one way.

He was my hero and that’s just one of the many things he’s done since.

So you may not see him as often as you see your other Aunts and Uncles, but he loves you, would do anything for you, and is a lot of fun to be around. Kinda like me, but cooler.

Love you lots baby Dragon,

Your Papa

The Importance of Taking a Break

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Some mornings I wake up thinking about all the things I have to do and I panic. I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling paralyzed. I’m not afraid of work, or working a lot. I’m terrified of forgetting something.

Since September, I’ve increased the amount of things I do and I’m not just talking about taking care of a baby Dragon. I’ve written a few more short stories, added a few more jobs, laid out more books, and roasted more coffee than ever before.

I’m extremely lucky both in the quality of my clients and that I had this wonderful opportunity to watch my child grow up right before my eyes. That said, other than a week at Disney that was a lot of fun but not relaxing, I took a few days to myself after Christmas.

I’m starting to feel like butter spread over too much bread. I know my limits, and with my parental leave quickly running out, I need some time to recharge.

If you don’t force yourself to take some time off from doing all the little things that stress you out, you’re never going to get the chance.

So I’m taking next week, the 15-19 of May, off to relax, watch some TV, and play some video games. Hopeful the weather will be nice and I can take the Dragon to the park. No plans, no big obligations, just me, my wife, and baby Dragon.

After that week, I have to start preparing for my return to work, and I’ll have 3 books to work on, along with more conventions.

Later Days,

Éric

Revenge of Bumkins

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

A few weeks ago I complained to Bumkins about their product. I received an email two days later asking for pictures of the defective products, our address, and receipts. I sent all the information and have yet to receive an email reply.

What I did get instead was a facebook comment:

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Now, I expected they were going to send a refund. I was wrong; instead they sent a “Gift Package.”

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I complained that, “…they are not one size fits all. Although our six month old daughter is long and thin, it seems ridiculous that we should choose between deep red indentations that irritate her skin or changing her clothing three times a day.”

So who over at Bumkins thought that sending more diapers that don’t work was a good idea?

On top of that, because it was a “gift” and came from the US, we had to pay $47 of taxes and duty for the package.

Here’s my reply to Bumpkins:

Hello,

I sent an email complaining about the quality and poor fit of your diapers and was asked to send my address, images, and receipts.
Today I picked up your package, which cost us $47 in taxes and duty. I’m not sure why you thought, after our complaint, that we’d want more diapers that do not fit and fall apart. We didn’t request the package and if you’d asked we would have said it wasn’t what we wanted.
We have now spent over $300 on your products and packages. Your gesture, although well meaning, is both insulting and useless.
The Wonder woman bib is cute though.
Regretfully
Éric and Jen Desmarais

There’s a lesson in customer service that we can all learn here. Don’t assume that people are complaining just to get random free stuff. Talk to your customers and don’t assume.

The Wonder Woman bib is cute, but not $47 worth.

Later Days,

Éric