the year in review

It’s my blogiversary today! Yes, it’s been four years of Bumblebee Sweet Potato. I have to admit, this is the year that I came close to quitting blogging, and as I’ve gone back over the posts from this year, it shows. Nevertheless, I’m still here, and here, without further review, are my favorite posts from each month of the last year:


It was around February of last year that I settled on a presidential candidate. After flirting (not literally!) with John Edwards (whew! dodged a bullet there), I decided to vote for Obama in my super-Tuesday primary. The first of many Obama-related links on my blog was this. Still good.

We also had some bullying in the neighborhood, and the Bee wrote her brother a very sweet Valentine’s Day note.


In March, we had a lice outbreak, which happily did not require a massive haircut for the Bee. The Bee also had her first experience with standardized testing. And then I wrote about my habit of sneaking into the Bee’s room to cover her hands with lotion (note to self, need to do it again tonight!). Finally, I reviewed the Iraq War, which was celebrating its fifth anniversary.


I posted about my oh-so-pomo experience of finding out that my brother was married from Facebook. The Bee was in a play, and after it was over, she got that haircut that she’d dodged in March.


May started with some of the unanswerable questions that all parents have (hmm, I may need to do an update post of this one soon). We had some more bullying this month, too. And the end of the month found me wishing that the end of school would come even quicker.


I discovered the beauty of being a boring parent, and bemoaned the tiresomeness of boring graduation speeches. Also? I’m not getting any better at keeping my friends close.


Around the middle of the year, we started having one transition after another. We went on vacation, and oh, how I’m missing those hot days now! Right after we came back, landisdad & I both turned 40, and celebrated by canceling our cable.


Continuing with our year of transitions, the Potato turned five, and I worried how he would ever sit still in kindergarten. Shortly after that, we said goodbye to daycare, forever.


My kids started attending the same school for the first time since the Bee was in daycare. And after the start of the school year, my blog (and the rest of my life) pretty much devolved into all politics, all the time. Plus, the  change kept coming, as the Bee turned 9.


I publicly wondered, for the first time, about whether the blog was over. Plus? More politics, even at school and landisdad & I celebrated our tenth anniversary. This was also the month that the McCain campaign added me to their mommyblogger listserv, but I spared you all that pain.


Well, the transitions kept coming, as we all know, and I presented President Obama with a bill for my services. Then I reflected on the fact that the Bee is in a boy-dominated class this year.


For some reason, {cough} no linking {/cough}, December saw the fewest blog posts of any month of the year. I wondered about the Bee’s expanded vocabulary, though.


So far, this year is starting off with much more of a focus on the traditional mom-blog topics, than the political. But it’s early.


January 31, 2009. meta. 10 comments.

back to the poop

Didya ever see that old SNL skit “Super Colon Blow?” A classic, to be sure.

Sadly, the real-life equivalent of Super Colon Blow has become a staple in our household, after our visit to the pediatric gastroenterologist. We’ve also said goodbye to white flour in its many, delicious forms. But that’s not all!

We had to give the poor kid two enemas. And while the first one was really unpleasant, the second one was almost unbearable. Can’t remember when I’ve had more fun! Especially the part when I had to hold him down as he screamed, “You’re torturing me!”

It’s times like these that I’m happy that I decided, years ago, to keep my blog anonymous. Because I can’t imagine much that would be worse for the Potato’s high school dating years than having this story associated with his real name.

January 27, 2009. parenting ain't easy. 6 comments.

change we can believe in

In 1992, I was a young canvasser, working for the peace movement in California, when Bill Clinton was elected president. On Election Night, a friend and I drove back to San Francisco after a day of canvassing for one of those Year of the Woman congressional candidates, and as we listened to George Bush’s concession speech on the radio, my friend opened the window of the car, and just started screaming with joy, yelling to all the passersby. We got back to the City to discover that there was a massive street party going on, and all around us, people were happy & filled with hope.

For weeks after the election, people opened their doors, invited us in, wrote us checks, gave us drinks, and let us use their bathrooms. Although most people I knew were disappointed that a DLC member had achieved the presidency, as opposed to a more progressive candidate, we were sooooo happy to see the end of George Bush I.  As we moved into the inaugural moment, people were still excited and hopeful. But the sense that they had to do something—that people in communities all over America had to stand up and support the president, if they wanted to see change happen—started to fade. People stopped throwing checks at us, and went back to their TVs, and their dinners, and their regular lives.

And nothing really changed.

Don’t get me wrong—we won some things in the Clinton years. But we also lost a lot. We lost the ability to fix the healthcare crisis in 1993, when people bought the propaganda that the big insurance companies were shelling out via their Harry & Louise commercials. We lost the battle to maintain an economic safety net, seeing the right wing win major victories on welfare reform, that pushed thousands of moms around the country into the workforce, whether they were ready to be there or not. We lost on NAFTA, and saw millions of US manufacturing jobs move overseas.

I’m the age now, of many of the people that I canvassed back in 1992. I’m a homeowner, I have a full-time job, and kids, and lots of responsibilities. But the one responsibility that I’m not giving up is the promise to my country I made when I voted for Barack Obama. The promise to keep raising my voice and demanding change, and to make sure that my congressmen (and yes, they all are men) know that I support the president in his call for change that’s not incremental, for change that is sweeping and transformative for our country.

I don’t want to be sitting here, 16 years from now, wishing I had stepped away from the TV or the dinner, or even the kids, to take action that helped change my country.

January 23, 2009. politically motivated. 5 comments.

tired of poop

It doesn’t really seem fair, but landisdad and I have been spending as much time dealing with poop lately as we did when we had an infant in the house. Since school started again after the holidays, the Potato has had an accident at school almost every day. It’s extremely frustrating, partly because I know that we didn’t handle it well at first.

We’ve taken him to the doctor, and have a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist for next week, and I’m hoping that there will be some fairly non-invasive solution. In investigating the possibilities online today, I’ve made the mistake of reading a bunch of blogs that mention the need for surgery, and I’m seriously hoping that we won’t need to do that.

At this point, the main thrust of my frustration is with the school, though. While initially sympathetic, both his own teacher and the principal have clearly gotten over their sympathy, and just want the problem to go away. We’ve talked to them about it, and kept them abreast of the medical progress–and we’ve been sending him to school every day with a change of clothes and baby wipes–but they’ve clearly gotten to the point that they just don’t think this is their problem. On Friday, landisdad had to pick the Potato up early, as he had a major accident that involved his shoes. When he got there, the principal sat him down in her office to tell him that she wanted us to come and pick him up every time he had an accident from here on.

Does it seem fair that my son should be leaving school early every day, because he doesn’t have control of his bowels?

It’s not that I believe that a kindergarten teacher should be cleaning up after my son every day. And I understand that it can be disruptive to the other kids. But doesn’t my kid deserve to get an education too?

January 17, 2009. family life. 6 comments.

Christmas Cookies

Last year, I signed up for Harper Collins First Look program, which sends out advance reading copies of books for review. I’ve signed up to get a couple of different things, but the first book that I was selected to review is Lisa Zwirn’s Christmas Cookies. In a case of somewhat unfortunately timing, it came this week. On the other hand–when is it a bad time to eat a cookie? While I don’t go around making gingerbread in July, it’s certainly possible to bake cookies out of this book year-round.

Initially I groaned–I had done so much holiday baking, and it really didn’t seem fair to review a cookbook without at least making one recipe. I started leafing through, and there were a few cookies that caught my eye, but I definitely wasn’t in the mood for doing any kind of fussy or fancy baking. I decided to make a drop cookie, since those are generally simple.

Her Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies were a delight–very simple to prepare, light and buttery. The only thing I needed to get at the store were the pecans–everything else we had in our kitchen–I hate it when a cookbook requires that you scour the earth for eggnog spice mix, or hemp-washed ginger*, or something weird. My kids liked them, although they both professed their hatred of the pecan during the preparation phase.

Generally, it’s a cleanly-laid out, readable cookbook. Her opening sections on basic cookie-making and preparation were helpful, and not overly-filled with advice like “use high-quality ingredients” (duh!). I found especially helpful the advice on storing different kinds of cookies, and it’s great that she points out which of her recipes make dough that’s good for freezing and baking later.

The one complaint I had is that not every recipe is accompanied by a picture–for regular cookies, that doesn’t bother me much, but for Christmas cookies–if I’m gonna give them as gifts, I want to see what they’re supposed to look like in advance. On the whole, if you’re looking to change up your Christmas cookie repertoire, or just add a new favorite or two, check this one out.

January 11, 2009. books for grown-ups. 2 comments.

Welcome to 2009!

Can school start again soon? Pretty please? With sugar on top?

We’ve had a good holiday, with almost 2 full weeks of vacation. We’ve been playing games, baking cookies, trimming the tree, watching videos, playing Wii, roller skating, getting hair cuts, building ridiculously complicated Lego Star Wars flying things, cooking holiday meals, ice skating, movie-watching, sleep-overing, visiting & being visited by extended family, moderating sibling (& cousin) wars, smiling when the siblings get along, tormenting the cats by being home waaaaaay too much during the day.

I’m ready to go back to work now. I’m even more ready for the kids to go back to school, and to not be in my hair 24/7. I’m ready to have an adult conversation, and not be constantly discussing what to eat at the next meal. (Do anyone else’s children do this? obsess constantly about where their next meal is coming from? I mean, honestly, you’d sometimes think that the Bee had grown up in Darfur, instead of in a world where food is readily available whenever she’s hungry.)

One. More. Day.

January 4, 2009. family life. 5 comments.