Happy Halloween!

This year, the Potato was the Bumblebee for Halloween. I couldn’t convince the Bee to go as a Sweet Potato, though.

October 31, 2008. the cutest kids ever!. 2 comments.

Obama 95, McCain 34

That was the outcome of the election at the kids’ school today. When I walked in the door tonight, both of the kids were wearing their “I Voted” stickers, and the Potato came running up to tell me that he had voted for Barack Obama.

Five kids in the Bee’s class (including the Bee), and one fifth grader administered the election and presented info on both of the candidates, so we had a pretty interesting dinner conversation about it. Two weeks ago, she and the Peony had to write up a couple of paragraphs about where the major-party candidates stood on health care–the other kids did education. Last week, she and the other kids in the gifted & talented program registered everyone to vote, and decorated the ballot boxes.

It should come as no surprise, to regular readers of this blog, that the Bee had strong opinions, not just about the candidates but about her classmates’ voting patterns. Apparently there was one kid who said he was voting for McCain because he’s white–which the Bee thought was ridiculous. We also talked about how it isn’t okay to base your vote on age, gender or whether the person is gay or straight.

Four years ago, when I was working to elect John Kerry and the Bee was a tiny kindergartener, she was devastated that her school voted to re-elect Bush. I’m happy that it worked out in her favor this time, since she was so much more involved in the actual process of the election this year.

October 29, 2008. '08 election, growing up. 3 comments.

with the election

now less than a week away (can I get an amen!), I hope you didn’t think you were going to get anything other than a bunch of election-related links to video.

First up, stars of my favorite show were knocking on doors for Barack–how cool is that? We’ve had some stars come to our little swing state, too, but no one as cool as Sonia Sohn, I’m sorry to say. This is teh awesome-ist.

If only they had managed to get the guy who played Clay Davis! On second thought, maybe that wouldn’t have been such a good idea…

Next up–I know this one has been around for a week or two, but it’s still worth viewing–Conservatives for Change!

Then, of course, there’s this gem–the election PSA based on a beer commercial. What could be better?

And finally, what might just be my favorite YouTube of all time. Insanely catchy TI hook plus sooooo incredibly determined 7th graders. Plus? It’s non-partisan. Which makes up for the poor video quality. This is the bomb, IMHO.

October 28, 2008. '08 election. Leave a comment.

Happy Anniversary, sweetie!

Lame-o that I am, I didn’t get you a present. I did make sure that the kids would both have sleepovers, though, so we can go out to dinner tonight!

Love that we have wonderful restaurants in town that we can just walk to, so we don’t have to worry about drinking and driving. Hate that I have to drive 100 miles at 7:30 tomorrow morning, so I can’t be too hung over!

The tenth anniversary is supposed to be celebrated with tin or aluminum–to show that after ten years, a marriage might be dented but it still good. We’ve had some dents along the way, but I’m still looking forward to the next ten years.

October 24, 2008. thoughtful parenting. 8 comments.

vote, give, act

If you’re in California, please vote against Prop. 8 for true equality. If you’re in CA or a neighboring state, consider volunteering for Equality California. If you’re neither of those things, consider just giving them some money.

H/T to AngryBlackBitch for pointing out the 8 Against 8 blogger campaign.

October 22, 2008. '08 election, politically motivated. 1 comment.

lipstick

The summer that I turned 21, I had an internship in Boise, Idaho. For this Jersey girl, Idaho (even relatively liberal Boise) was a major culture shock. The internship I had was ridiculously underpaid—I think I made $100 per week, plus free housing—and there were some weeks when I lived on cigarettes, grapefruit and beer (oh, was I a thinner landismom then!). I was living far outside my comfort zone, and struggling to get by from week to week.

There was one week, though, that I splurged and bought a L’Oreal lipstick. I think it was an exorbitant price like $7 or something. Every time I put that lipstick on, I felt a little bit better about myself. I might be riding a bike everywhere, but dammit, I had lipstick!

I still wear L’Oreal lipstick every once in a while, and the smell of that lipstick still gives me that feeling. The day of the primary this year, while I was driving back and forth between various Get-Out-the-Vote staging locations, around lunchtime I stopped at a drugstore and bought myself a new one for luck (while it didn’t help that particular day, at least it no longer represented 7% of my weekly income). Even at 40, there’s still a newly-independent 21-year-old woman inside me, and the easiest way to reactivate her is to take a whiff of L’Oreal.

I’m not a big lipstick wearer on the daily. I tend to put it on only for formal occasions—mostly, I’m a lip gloss kind of girl. I wear lipstick on the days when I need a little bit of extra confidence, or when I’m going to be projected onto a big screen or be on TV—although I guess those days fall into the first category too.

I think I’m like many women in that way—women who don’t dress up and put on a full face everyday, but save the makeup for special occasions. (I did break down and start wearing mascara every day, earlier this year.) If 2008 isn’t the Year of the Woman, the way that 1992 was, it might be the Year of the Lipstick, with both of the female candidates (and attendant animal references) having brought a little tube of makeup to the forefront of the presidential campaign.

There’s something very emotionally charged about the wearing of makeup. Whether it’s taking us back to the moment when our first girlfriend lent us a bottle of nail polish, or the day that our mom showed us how to put on eyeliner, or the first time we opened a brand-new lipstick that we bought with our own money, makeup has emotional valences for many women.

I cast my vote for president today. As a political organizer, I rarely get to vote in a polling place on Election Day. I almost always vote absentee, because “of the nature of my employment on Election Day.” I’m not always happy about that (and it means ceding the cool “I voted” sticker, which this year, sadly, will also keep me from getting free Ben & Jerry’s!).

I voted, of course, for Barack Obama. My lipstick will be making a reappearance on Election Day, which is another day that I’m going to need a little extra confidence. But my lips will be talking about Barack.

October 19, 2008. '08 election. 4 comments.

well, how could I not want a sweet potato president…

H/T to Becca for this one:

Make a Potato President

October 14, 2008. '08 election. 1 comment.

the end of blogging?

Last week, both Elizabeth at Half-Changed World and Phantom Scribbler posted musings about whether Twitter & Facebook were causing a death of blog conversation. They both talked about the fact that their own personal blogging has changed dramatically since the early years, and how they felt less connected to their blogging community now than when they first started their blogs.

At the time, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about their posts. I have a Facebook page & I Twitter, and I have this. They’re not the same thing. Partly that’s due to my decision to keep this space totally private from anyone in my meatspace life–except for my husband. I have had the dissonant moment of a casual acquaintance knowing something new about me because they read it on my Facebook page. But because no one in my work or personal life reads my blog, it never sparks a conversation in my real-world existence. The only community it exists in is my blogging community.

Then last night, as I was watching the debate, I simultaneously started watching the Twitter Election Feed. (Which, btw, should really be called “Zeitgeist.”) And it clarified some thinking about the whole issue for me.

I first came to reading blogs obsessively during the ’04 election. At that point, I read political blogs (dailykos first and foremost among them) exclusively. I started my second blog then (my first literally had one post. ever. and hardly even counts as a blog), a short-lived livejournal experiment. I was trying to be a political blogger, but ultimately I found it too difficult to be both timely (given that I had a real, election-related job) and also to be circumspect about my role in the campaign that I was working on (since I was blogging anonymously).  I did comment on blogs fairly frequently, but I never found a successful formula for political blogging myself.

And after a while, to be honest, I found it pretty boring to comment on a blog post that 200+ people had already commented on. It’s one thing to read through a whole blog post, and then come up with a response to it. It’s a whole ‘nother thing to read a blog post, then 200 people’s responses to that post, and then to feel like there’s anything new left to say.

Reading the Twitter feed last night reminded me of my early days of reading political blogs. Except–and here’s the good part–I didn’t have to read all the comments. I could flip away for a minute, come back and write a tweet commenting on some part of the debate, and I didn’t have to worry about whether I was being repetitive of someone else’s comment. Because the point of that Twitter feed (at least for me) is to see what the common threads are–not to find a single voice, but to hear the voices of many. There are interesting things that I’ve found as a result of that Twitter feed (like this! and this!)–but for the most part, what interests me about it is the hot flush of feeling in so many about the candidates they support. (Anecdotally, I’d say that Twitterers were about 60% for Obama, 40% for McCain. Maybe 65/35.)

When I first found the mommyblogs, I found something that I didn’t have in my personal life–a community of strong, funny women who also happened to be mothers. A place (or set of places) where I could hang out and kibitz about potty training, or sleep deprivation, or raising anti-racist children. The fact is, it’s easy for me to have political conversation every day of my working life, and I have a spouse who is very interested in political discussion too. The reason I never succeeded as a political blogger was that political blogs weren’t filling a void for me.

But mommyblogs do.

Don’t get me wrong–my life has changed since then, too. When I first started the job I have now, I was telecommuting, and the one place I occasionally worked out of did not feature a single other working mom. I was parenting a kindergartener and an 18-month-old, and I didn’t know a lot of other moms in my community. Almost four years later, I’m the PTA president, I work in an office every day, and my office now has three other working moms–one of whom has kids the same ages as my kids. I’ve got less of a void, when it comes to the mom conversation that I once did.

But it doesn’t mean that blogging isn’t an important source of conversation for me. I miss the commenters that I had, back when I first started blogging. I’m happy, when I open landismom’s email account, and see that I have a new comment on a post. It’s just that the void that blogging is filling has gotten a little filled up, and that place inside me no longer feels as empty.

One thing that I wonder about is how my need to blog, and the communities of people whose blogs I read, will change over the course of my life? Right now, I don’t read the blogs of anyone who is caring for an elderly or sick parent. But I bet that’s a thriving blog community. I bet there will be a point when I’m looking for that. And when I need that community, I’ll know where to look.

Several people* on Phantom’s blog commented about how they first turned to blogging in the isolation of new parenthood, and that obviously happens for lots of folks. You get stuck in a house all day with an internet connection, you’re bound to start looking for some other people in similar situations. I think the interesting thing about the future of blogging is going to be what happens when the bloggers move on to other voids, other isolating experiences, other needs to express themselves. Two of my blogfriends recently went through major blog overhauls–where they went from having blogs that were clearly identified as mommy blogs, to blogs that were somewhat more heterogenous in scope. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of that, as we mommy bloggers realize that we’ve started to like the sound of our own voices–and that we don’t just have to talk about our kids to be heard.

*Tangentially, I’d like to say, that Phantom doesn’t have too much to worry about, as far as community goes, if she can still write a post that gets 53 comments. I think my personal best is 26.

October 8, 2008. meta. 9 comments.

wow

I was stunned today to read that the McCain campaign admitted that their plan to fund healthcare reform includes cutting up to $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid.

Wow.

Still reeling from the analysis that their health care plan would cost millions of Americans their health care coverage, McCain must be crazy if he thinks that this is the way to get votes in the kind of economy we’ve got right now. Plus, if you need to compete in PA and FL, does it make a lot of sense to give seniors a key reason to vote against you?

Who’s running that campaign, anyway?

October 6, 2008. '08 election. 4 comments.

don’t vote

H/T to the fine ladies at Red Whine & Boo for this one:

October 3, 2008. '08 election. Leave a comment.

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