Tie a MADD Canada red ribbon and show the world you pledge to drive sober

Across Canada, local chapters of MADD Canada are launching the Project Red Ribbon campaign. From November 1st to the first Monday after New Year’s Day, local Chapters together with area businesses are asking residents of their communities to tie a MADD Canada red ribbon to their antenna, side mirror or other visible location on the vehicle and/or on their key chain, purse, backpack or briefcase.

The red ribbon is a small but powerful symbol. It signifies a person’s commitment to drive safe and sober during the holiday season and throughout the year. It also serves as a tribute to all victims who have been killed or injured in impaired driving crashes.

Project Red Ribbon targets the Christmas and New Year holiday season because it is the busiest time of year on most social calendars; with so many social gatherings and holiday toasts, there is a high risk for impaired driving.

And this year is especially uberlicious because it marks the 25th anniversary of Project Red Ribbon and a 25-year-long partnership with Allstate Insurance Company. Can you imagine? How often do you hear about a 25-year-long corporate partnership? Love it!

In that time, Allstate Canada has been a supporter of many of MADD Canada’s programs, including Project Red RibbonCampaign 911 and the School Assembly Program, as well as numerous statistical and research publications, resources for victims and other resource, education and awareness materials. Not to mention, Allstate Canada is the Title Sponsor of the 2012 Project Red Ribbon campaign.

In honour of the 25th annual Project Red Ribbon campaign, a special statement is being released by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Member Statements are being read in the House of Commons and the Senate. Across the country, provincial/territorial proclamations, statements or other observances to mark Project Red Ribbon are happening in: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Québec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon and Nunavut.

It breaks my heart and is so unfortunate that we continue to need campaigns such as this. Sad that impaired driving isn’t a thing of the past. Despite federal and provincial/territorial laws and penalties, police enforcement and awareness efforts, and despite the obvious risk of crash, death and injury, people are still getting behind the wheel impaired. On average, every single day, 4 Canadians die and 174 are injured in impairment-related crashes. That’s almost 1,500 deaths and over 63,000 injured every year. Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death in Canada.

It’s unacceptable that this year tens of thousands additional family members and friends will have to cope with the loss of a loved one or with a serious injury, all because someone chose to drive impaired. Impaired driving is not an ‘accident’ – someone makes a decision to get behind the wheel impaired. It’s 100% preventable.

So….this holiday season:

  • Plan ahead for your holiday events, and encourage your families and friends to do the same.
  • Take a cab, take public transit, arrange a designated driver or plan to stay the night.
  • And remember, if you see an impaired driver, call 911 and report that driver. The call may just save a life.

You can get your red ribbon by donating online at MADD Canada’s web site, visiting one of MADD Canada’s many sponsors’ outlets, or contacting your nearest MADD Canada Chapter or Community Leader.

Everyone in Canada (and around the world) has the power to stop this senseless and needless crime.

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Did you know about the Project Red Ribbon campaign? Will you wear your red ribbons with pride? How else do you publically display your commitment to drive sober? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

On August 1, 2009, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver and my stepson’s life changed forever. In honor of Donna and Jordan Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on the Web.

Text MADD to 45678 to donate $5 today. Report impaired drivers – CALL 911.

More blog deliciousness here:

Is driving stoned as bad as driving drunk? Apparently, not in Canada!

I was deeply saddened by a recent news story about the acquittal of a Saskatchewan driver on impaired driving charges – even after she admitted to smoking pot 2.5 hours prior and failed coordination tests. The judge said that while the prosecutor was able to prove that there was marijuana in her system, he failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the pot actually impaired her ability to operate a vehicle.

And this isn’t the first case where a pot user has been acquitted of impaired driving. There have been similar acquittals in other jurisdictions.

In our own personal impaired driving story we ran into the same issue. The blood analysis showed that the driver who killed Mamma K had marijuana in his system. Score, right? To me, it should have been a done deal right there. But nope. The prosecutor told us that the marijuana wouldn’t be taken into account because there is no way (yet) to PROVE that the pot impaired his driving.

Seems to me Canada’s drug-impaired driving laws, which were introduced in 2008, need their own overhaul. According to the news story, MADD Canada representatives and advocates are calling on federal lawmakers to adopt drug-intake thresholds similar to the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit which would thereby remove some of the subjectivity contained in Canada’s drug-impaired driving laws.

Yeah think?!?!

I guess there are many jurisdictions in the United States, Western Europe and Australia that have already adopted such standards. Perhaps we should follow their responsible lead?

The best part of the article (or at least most laughable) was the comment by a spokesman for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson who said “Our government takes impaired driving very seriously. This is why we increased the penalties for impaired driving while giving police new tools to better investigate drug-impaired driving.” (Source: Canada.com news story)

Barf! Seriously?!?!?!

As you know from my emails with Minister Nicholson’s office (mine to himhis response to me…5 months latermy heated rebuttal - NOTE: these links all open as PDFs), his comment falls on deaf ears from me.

First of all, we didn’t only need increased penalties for impaired drivers…we needed MINIMUM sentences as well. What’s the point of increasing maximums when they are NEVER used??? Just to “look” good???

Second of all, better tools for police to investigate drug-impaired driving are rendered USELESS if violations can’t be ENFORCED?! DUH! You need both the laws and the teeth to uphold it. Otherwise, what’s the point.

I find it so frustrating when I read comments such as that because it does not speak to how much this government is doing. It speaks to how much this government wants to LOOK like its doing. But in reality, it only showcases how OUT OF TOUCH the government is on what the real issues are, how Canadians are being affected and what impactful solutions need to be implemented.

What needs to happen for our Government to stand up, take notice and make real change? How many more innocent people have to die or be injured? I’m at a loss.

What do you think? Do you think driving stoned is as bad as driving drunk? How can we identify an appropriate impaired level for driving under the influence of drugs? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

On August 1, 2009, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver and my stepson’s life changed forever. In honor of Donna and Jordan Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@maddcanada), YouTube, and on the Web.

More blog deliciousness here:

  • I am so pumped. I just downloaded Evernote and then came across Kristin Nador’s post on using Evernote to increase your blogging productivity – fabulous tips and tricks. I am so excited to get started!
  • Jenny Hansen started it. Now I want me a QR code of my own! Got yours?
  • Very interesting post by Nathan Bransford who thinks you should NOT send your Tweets to Facebook. What do you think? I am not so sure because I have found a number of fabulous blog posts etc this way so it’s not a deterrent for me. Join him in the comments for discussion.

Beautiful tribute ideas to honor loved ones

On July 28, the local Wellington County (Ontario) chapter of MADD Canada will be releasing 1500 butterflies into the air in memory of the close to 1500 victims killed by impaired drivers in 2011. Taking place at a local park, a bench will also be dedicated in memory of those victims as well as the survivors of impaired driving crashes.

My heart tugged at the thought of such an amazing and beautiful tribute. I wish I could be there to see it in person.

In 2010, we held a one-year anniversary memorial for Mamma K where the family came together to honor her spirit and remember. We had a head stone erected and we buried some of her ashes there. We laid flowers at her grave. We all shared stories and memories about her.

And we all wrote her a little note that we attached to red (environmentally friendly) helium-filled balloons. Together, we released those balloons into the air to be carried to her in heaven. I remember how we all stood for a long time watching those balloons sail off into the sky. The tears rolling down our cheeks. The emotion and the love that filled the air. It was one of the most moving and beautiful tributes I’ve ever been a part of.

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As hubby and I become more and more involved with our local Chapter of MADD Canada, we are gathering ideas for different kinds of memorials and tributes to hold for victims and survivors. What kinds of tributes have you seen or been a part of that have wowed you?

On August 1, 2009, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver and my stepson’s life changed forever. In honor of Donna and Jordan Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@maddcanada), YouTube, and on the Web. And answer their Call to Action (the post is dated 2010 but the Call to Action is ongoing)!

More blog deliciousness here:

Kegel panties?! Because tighter is better…

Jenny Hansen did a timely undies chronicles post yesterday that had me oohing and aahing over the latest innovations in double-duty bras and texting adult underpants. Definitely worth the read folks! Timely because I had me an undie chronicle of my own all lined up for y’all to swoon over today. Jenny’s gonna lose her shit over this one! Squeeeeee!

It all started on the weekend. Hubby and I had the pleasure of hanging with friends who are expecting a baby in the near future. Having never been pregnant and given my totally curious nature, we dove right into a lengthy question and answer session. One of my friend’s concerns was regarding the vajayjay; will it go back to its former glory after childbirth or will it be forever stretched into an echoing canyon?

Heart breaking for her anxiety, I went out in search of answers or some kind of product that could help. Girl (you know who you are), this post is for YOU!

Allow me to introduce you to….the PantyO; the kegel exercising panty…because tighter is better!

Shut the front door. I know!

This panty may look like any other slightly bejeweled panty but it’s a panty that packs a punch with a kegel exercise extension (about one inch in height) sewn right into the crotch of the panty.

Inside the PantyO (www.pantyo.com)

That’s right…when you put the panty on; you insert the silicon extension into your hooha to give you a “focus” point to perform your kegels.

No more wondering if you are squeezing the right muscles; when you clench your cookie and she grips that cool cucumber like there’s no tomorrow, you’ll know your working your kegels and that a tighter twat is around the corner.

And for my friend with the concerns about her vajayjay after having a baby, kegels help restore the pelvic wall after pregnancy and labor. BAM! Girl, I got your back!!! I mean shoot…what are friends for, right?!?!

And that’s not all. The benefits and importance from performing kegels goes beyond muff magic. They also:

  • Strengthen the pelvic wall for pre-pregnancy and easier labor (shut up?!?! Seriously?!?!).
  • Improves bladder control (always a plus).
  • Helps tighten vaginal passage which can increase sexual pleasure (sold!).

This is one workout that’s easy to do anytime, anyplace. Fire on your PantyOs and head out shopping, working, or watching TV knowing your vajayjay will thank you (and reward you) for it later!

Basic PantyO

The PantyOs comes in two styles. You can get the cheeky PantyO for $85 (as seen above) or the more basic PantyO for $52 and can order either here. Both are made from 100% spandex featuring Swarovski’s Crystals and the pantyO silicon exercise extension.

I wonder if this would make a weird or awkward baby shower gift? Hmmmm…

It’s Twisted Tuesday and that means it’s time to enjoy a smile, giggle or laugh…here’s hoping I’ve provided it in spades…enjoy!

More blog deliciousness here:

Rocking the rag with reusable cups

Disclaimer: To my male readers, I apologize but this post isn’t for you. Dang. Although you might want to pass it along to your wife, sisters or female friends.

Ladies, are you sick of fearing “the string” peaking out when wearing swimwear when on your period? Or maybe you are fed up with avoiding swimwear all together? What about the clogged toilet scares or the dirty looks from the septic guy? Or how about the shame of shunning your thongs, g-strings and c-strings for famine undies during that time of the month? Or maybe you are like me and sick of the tactical tampon carrying techniques we have to employ? Most of the time, I feel like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible sneaking to the bathroom with my arsenal of period protection gear?

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Well NO MORE!

Move over tampons, back off pads….HELLO DivaCup!

The DivaCup is a non-absorbent cup that you insert into your hooha during your menstrual cycle to collect the flow. It can be worn for up to 12 hours before emptying, washing and reinserting although for heavier flows, one may need to empty more often.

Shut UP!?!?!?! I know!!

But…how do I get it in there…and then BACK OUT?!?!?!

According to the DivaCup website, to insert you simply fold it in half twice and with your vajayjay relaxed (cause mine is always super mellow and relaxed when inserting an object), you push the curved edge into the opening. It has little holes around the top edge to aid in suction. Hmmmm….

To remove, you pull gently on the stem until you reach the base of the cup at which point you pinch to release the seal and continue to pull down. They claim the “contents” shouldn’t spill and you simply pour them into the toilet, wash, and reinsert. You are good to go for another 12 hours.

Now…I gotta tell you. I wasn’t really sold on the product the first time I read about it. Ok, it’s cool. I knew I’d definitely blog about it but BUY it and TRY it? Hmmmm…not so sure…

That was until I met someone, in person, who uses it and LOVES it! We were at a girls-only party a few weeks ago and after much wine, the topic of Aunt Flo came up (do not ask me how…) This friend of mine SWEARS by the DivaCup and said she’s never going back to tampons or pads ever again. She said it’s soft and smooth and when inserted properly does not leak. And she said it’s COMFY! MORE comfortable than a tampon. So comfortable, she said she forgets it’s there entirely.

Best yet, she said you’d be surprised how “easy in and easy out” the thing is. After the first time or two, when you get more used to it, she said it takes all but 2 seconds to pop it in. And it’s worn low in the vagina so it’s not difficult to “find”. Removal was a bit trickier but she said that once you get the hang of it, it’s a snap. Her advice; be sure to use the middle finger and DON’T PANIC.

DivaCup makers say it can be worn during all activities like traveling, running, biking, camping, swimming, diving, yoga, extreme sports and more. About the only sport you can’t do when wearing the DivaCup is have sex.

This would be great for me considering our high propensity to engage in redneck activities that usually involve a lot of banging, bumping, and bouncing. I don’t know how many times after hitting a wallop of a washout in the Rhino that I’ve said to hubby “I feel like my tampon just catapulted up my vag and into my throat…” NOT FUN!

Not to mention the “Green” factor here, which is a total double whammy. Whammy #1) think about the billions of tampons and pads that are dumped into our environment each year. Gross. Whammy #2) think of the green staying in my POCKET not having to buy an arsenal of feminine products each month!

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The DivaCup gets great product reviews all over YouTube. I found quite an extensive one:

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Check out the DivaCup’s YouTube channel for more videos.

And this revolutionary period product ain’t new ladies. Can you believe the menstrual cup has been around since the 1930’s?

Back in the day, they were made from rubber latex and millions were sold. However, over the years companies shut down and the cups got hard to find. A mother in search of the product actually ended up reintroducing the menstrual cup back to the world about 15 years ago. And in 2003, her and her daughter revamped the rubber/latex version to the current DivaCup, which is made from soft, top-quality silicone. It’s patent-pending and ISO certified.

Why am I only hearing about this fabulousness now?!?! I’m going to have to go have a chat with my mother.

Have you heard of and/or tried the DivaCup or a menstrual cup? Does it work? Good or bad? Would you try one? Come on ladies…share the wealth…

It’s Twisted Tuesday and that means it’s time to enjoy a smile, giggle or laugh…here’s hoping I’ve provided it in spades…enjoy!

More blog deliciousness here:

MADD Canada annual conference helps people heal

The last weekend in April, hubby’s two sisters traveled to Oakville, Ontario to attend MADD Canada’s 19th annual National Conference for Victims of Impaired Driving. Over 2 days, they gathered with 200 other people who have suffered loss or injury due to impaired driving, a bond no one ever wants to share and yet tens of thousands of Canadian do.

The participants attended sessions on a wide range of topics from living with injuries, parenting after the loss of a child, understanding the criminal justice system etc. There was also a special stream for younger victims, aged 25 and under.

One of the most amazing things was that the Conference centered around a Candlelight Vigil of Hope and Remembrance on the Saturday night. In a powerful ceremony, participants paid tribute to the loved ones they had lost or acknowledged the injuries caused by impaired driving with a photo, short reading and the lighting of a single candle for each victim.

Last year, hubby and the Dude attended the same conference and both said it was one of the most enlightening and supportive events they had ever attended.

Both years, the Saint John chapter of MADD Canada sponsored the Kennie family attending the conference so there was no cost to them to take part.

Sometimes people ask me what MADD Canada does for the victims other than advocate for change and create awareness. I can tell you that this conference has played a huge role in helping my family members heal from this devastating tragedy; it is an incredible place of help and support.

MADD Canada has volunteer-driven groups just like the Saint John chapter in more than 100 communities across the country, and they offer: grief and bereavement support; support through the criminal justice system (a representative of the MADD Canada Saint John chapter attended each and every court session with us); assistance with victim impact statements (they helped us write ours and showed us examples of good ones); help with understanding victims’ rights; a lending library; brochures, community referrals; and trained victim service volunteers.

I could never thank MADD Canada enough for all that they continue to do to support victims as well as create awareness and advocate for change.

How have non-profit organizations supported you in your time of need?

Two years ago, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver and my stepson’s life changed forever. In honor of Donna and Jordan Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@maddcanada), YouTube, and on the Web.

More blog deliciousness here:

Traditional versus self-publishing – the writing world is changing

There’s been a lot of buzz in the social media sphere about traditional vs self-publishing. And I’ve been caught up in it reading like a fiend. Here are a couple blog posts that I found very informative:

There are a lot of perspectives and information out there right now.

Amanda Hocking, who has sort of been deemed the poster child of the self-publishing movement recently due to her much publicized success, gives us a glimpse into a world of self-publishing dreams come true. Word on the street is that she self-published and has sold more than one million books and generated more than $2 million in sales.

That being said, on her blog she also gives us a glimpse of real life. Self-publishing is not without incredible hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Her two blog posts Some Things That Need to be Said and UPDATE What I Can Say Right Now bring to light to reality behind achieving such success and give us a great, realistic perspective of what it’s like to self-publish.

The issue that struck a chord with me is when she wrote about not wanting to run her own corporation, which is essentially what it means to self-publish. She blogs about not having much time to write because of all the other responsibilities she’s had to take on, the issues she’s run into with the editing process, and the issues around readers getting access to her books. It’s not all unicorns and cash.

What I also love is the reality check she gives us:

I guess what I’m saying is that just because I sell a million books self-publishing, it doesn’t mean everybody will. In fact, more people will sell less than 100 copies of their books self-publishing than will sell 10,000 books. I don’t mean that to be mean, and just because a book doesn’t sell well doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. It’s just the nature of the business.

Touché!

And while her success thus far in the self-publishing world has been incredible, I think her most recent post (The Blog) where she tells readers she’s taking a traditional publishing deal with St. Martin’s Press to publish four books tells us that self-publishing and traditional publishing are working together to provide more opportunities for authors and more choice for readers.

In the end, what I’ve learned is that with either traditional or self-publishing, there are no guarantees of wealth, sales, or success in the writing world. That being said, I don’t know about you, but I am pretty pumped up about being a writer in this day and age because there just seems to be more and more doors opening to enable great writers to CREATE and CONTROL their own path to success. And that bodes well for all of us!

What do you think? Is the world of book publishing changing? How will you capitalize on it?

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