Scenes from the Potato’s birthday party

We had to relocate the Potato’s birthday party from the pool to our house, due to a rainstorm. This involved letting the kids have a huge pile of Legos in the family room, plus we told them they could watch a movie.

The kids got a little out of control during the movie, so I told them they had to go in the backyard (rain had ended). As they were putting on their shoes, landisdad overheard the following exchange:

Potato: guys, there are mosquitoes in the backyard

Best friend: we don’t care, we’re men

Boy down the street: men aren’t afraid

Potato: the mosquitoes want to suck our blood!


August 22, 2010. family life. Leave a comment.

the social niceties of social networking

I’ve been struggling to manage my Twitter feed, since I came back from BlogHer and added a bunch of new followers. Some of those were people who I met and thought were cool–so I started following them. Some of them were people who followed me, and I counter-followed them out of politeness. I’m not talking about the Twitter stalkers I picked up–the folks who are just about marketing.

But you know what? My feed is practically unreadable at this point. I need to prune.

I feel bad, unfollowing someone just weeks after I started following him or her. But I also feel bad missing the tweets of people I have real relationships with, because some new follower tweets 30 or 40 times in an hour. What are your Twitter feed standards?

August 18, 2010. meta. 4 comments.

the Potato is 7

The Potato turned 7 this week. It’s a measure of how distracted we’ve been this summer that, in addition to the fact that the day went by unblogged, both landisdad & I had to go out and do emergency shopping the night before his birthday. We’re also not having his party until next weekend, because we didn’t get it together to invite people in a timely way.

The Potato at seven is an interesting kid. He is obsessed with Legos, Wii and fart jokes, like any good 2nd grade boy.

He’s also developed a real affinity for Asterix this year, as we have most of the Asterix books–a remnant from landisdad’s childhood.

In many ways, he’s coming into his own personality—smart, asking a lot of questions, occasionally driving me crazy with his ability to turn his opinion on a dime. He’s also by far the sweetest member of our family, though I worry that his big sister is driving that out of him, sometimes.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Potato. May you have a wonderful year, in second grade and at home.

August 15, 2010. the cutest kids ever!. 4 comments.

I have a voice

I went to BlogHer last weekend, and I met some lovely women, including Velma and IlinaP, who I already ‘knew’ from these here interwebs. It was very fun to hang out with Velma, and I’m sorry that I didn’t get to spend more time with Ilina–from her 5 p.m.  Fridays posts, I know she’s my kind of gal, as far as the drinking goes. I also met some fab new bloggers, including Anita and Maegan and Melissa. I have a ton of new Twitter followers (waves) and found some new people to follow on Twitter as well, which is awesome because as we all know, I tweet a hell of a lot more than I blog.

There were some amazing things that happened that I’m glad I got to witness, especially the panel of International Activist Bloggers, who are simply kicking ass all over the place. I went to the MomsRising lunch on Saturday, and that was awesome too. I also went to a session that I found really irritating–I’m not going to revisit it here, but if you’re bored, go read my Twitter feed from Saturday afternoon.

But there was something odd about it for me, and it wasn’t until I left on Saturday night that I really figured out what it was.

I have a voice.

I don’t mean that in the “my blog is my voice” kind of way. I mean it in an “I have actual power and privilege in the world” kind of way.

And for all that I think blogging can give voice to people with no voices, I think for the most part, many of those specific conference attendees have voices even without their blogs, too.

I spent a lot of the conference feeling like I was passing for someone other than who I am–and to be fair, because I blog pseudonymously and didn’t introduce myself the way I do in the world, that’s to some degree what I was doing. I didn’t wear a t-shirt that showed my radical politics or cut-off jeans–I dressed like a suburban mom who was in the big city for a weekend.

And the thing I was most disappointed by about BlogHer was that I didn’t feel enough recognition of the privilege that almost all bloggers have, nor did I figure out anything new about how to use my own privilege to help empower other people. Almost all the sessions that I went to were in the “Change Agents” category–meaning they were aimed at people who wanted to do some cause-oriented or empowering blogging–so that seems like kind of a problem to me. To be honest, the most political thing I heard any presenter say in any of the sessions was in a session that Liz Henry did on keeping yourself safe from being hacked, where she compared the threat of danger that is raised around internet security to the threat of danger that is used to keep women from going out alone at night, or otherwise exercising agency in the world. (and can I just say–Liz Henry rocks. Squeeee!)

In some ways, my disappointment reflected the fact that I work in an environment where people talk about the importance of collective action all the time–and I know that is not the case for most people in the US. I think, though, that that means that the conference organizers have a special responsibility to help figure out–while we’re together as a collective–how our collective voices can maximize our impact–there was, for example, nary a mention of net neutrality, which seems like a pretty good target for blogger activism. And instead, what I felt was that the conference did a really good job of maximizing everyone’s individual voice.

I’m not sad I went, I didn’t think it was a waste of time, and I did enjoy the hell out of the things that I enjoyed (plus, free flash drives!). But I don’t think I’ll be heading to San Diego next August.

August 9, 2010. meta. 5 comments.