Monday, July 31, 2006

BlogHer '06 Update

I meant to post this earlier. Oops.


So here I am at BlogHer in San Jose, learning how to do more cool things with my blog and enjoying some me-time. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to be on my own and it's only been two hours!

I drove down from Redwood City (we've moved!) with Mom on a Mission, who was very gracious about ignoring my I'm-not-a-morning-person-and-oh-god-where-is-the-coffee babbling.

I'm stealing part of her blog entry from this morning, changing the answers, of course. This was from the Getting to Know You for BlogHer:

1. When did you start blogging and why? Or Talk about your blog. What can I learn about you in under 5 minutes? I started blogging as a way to regain a few shreds of my sanity. I haven't had a "real" job for about five years--before my oldest daughter was born, I worked from home as a freelance copywriter and copy editor so I don't get to spend a lot of time talking to real people and/or grownups. Blogging became a bit of an obsession until I hit a big patch of writer's block.

2. Who do you read every day, rain or shine?
I can't say that I read them every day, but I love Dooce, MomOnaMission and Huffingtonpost. I'm sure that after BlogHer I will have a vastly expanded reading list!

3. How would you describe your writing style? I write the way I would speak if I were able to to get an entire sentence out without going off on a tangent. I'm a very tangential thinker and it's harder to mask when I'm speaking.

4. What don’t you write about? Anything considered a no-no in your book? I' try not to swear too much but since I write about politics as well as parenting, it's kinda hard some days.

5. So soon we’re going to meet each other at BlogHer. Important question. How do you party? Not as much as I used to, but I do like a nice glass of wine or three. Preferably red.

6. What is your favorite thing that you wrote? What got a strong reaction from readers? Links please? I don't know that it is my favorite because it was very painful for me, but The Roadblock did get the most reaction (all in private email, go figure) and I was repeatedly told that it was very powerful.

7. Have you written anything controversial? Is blogging controversial? Well, since I do write about politics, quite a bit of it is seen by some to be controversial. Especially the posts "Rhymes With Prick" and "Snow Job."

8. Are you and your blogging persona the same person? I like to think so.

9. If you had a super power, what would it be? To be the ultimate multitasker. Oh wait. I'm a mom. I already have that power.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hey Sugar Sugar

I'm learning lots of geeky stuff at BlogHer today (Thomas will be so proud). But I also learned an important lesson at lunch: A panic attack does not prevent me from eating pecan pie.

BlogHer '06

I'm sitting here in the Hyatt San Jose, trying not to feel guilty about being here in the Hyatt for TWO DAYS! By myself. No kids. No dog. No moving boxes to unpack. If I wanted to, I could sit in a corner somewhere and catch up on my reading. But I think I'm going for the brain candy instead. Ok, so I don't really feel that guilty yet. But Thomas is at home with the girls--both sick--and swimming in packing paper. And tissues.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work

I found this in Dan Froomkin's blog for today and thought it well worth sharing. Sadly, I think that this is one of those things that crosses party lines, so it's not (really) a slam on the Bush administration. Still, so ridiculous that you can't help but laugh. Be sure to read the response by Rahm Emanuel.

"The liberal Think Progress blog came out with its list of the "four most overpaid White House staffers," by virtue of their job titles: Deborah Nirmala Misir, Ethics Advisor, $114,688; Erica M. Dornburg, Ethics Advisor, $100,547; Stuart Baker, Director for Lessons Learned, $106,641; Melissa M. Carson, Director of Fact Checking, $46,500.

And that prompted a particularly pointed floor speech by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.):

"Mr. Speaker, yesterday the President said we continue to be wise about how we spend the people's money.

"Then why are we paying over $100,000 for a 'White House Director of Lessons Learned'?

"Maybe I can save the taxpayers $100,000 by running through a few of the lessons this White House should have learned by now."

After suggesting a few, Emanuel noted the other positions highlighted by Think Progress and concluded: "Maybe the White House could consolidate these positions into a Director of Irony.'"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


At last we have a contract on the house! I'm trying not to get too excited before close of escrow in 29 days, but at last we have a contract. I was about to start calling this the House of Seven Plagues but had decided not to for two reasons:

A) There were only four:
  1. The ducks. We have lived here for three years and, in all that time, I have never seen a duck anywhere near our yard. Yet just one week after we listed the house, we were on vacation on the East Coast when we got an email from our agent asking if it was normal to have eight--yes, eight--ducks on the lawn. Did we forget to disclose that? Because, really, they're making a bit of a mess and some people will probably have a problem with that. Really?!
  2. The ants. Again, three years, no ant problems. List the house and suddenly the little &*%$ers develop a taste for dog food. I went in to the garage one morning to feed Argus and there it was--a lovely, long, unbroken line of tiny little black ants, marching across the garage and up into the bag. I don't like to kill things (I pretend it's my Buddhist sensibilities, but really I just can't bear the crunching/squishing) so I tried everything I could find to drive them away instead. I've discovered that they allegedly don't care for talcum powder, mint, chili powder and a variety of other things I would never have thought of on my own (I love Google). The talcum powder in conjunction with the vacuum actually worked but it was impossible to get all of them or to keep them out, so I was forced to leave it to Thomas who isn't quite so squeamish.
  3. The ants, part two. Thomas got rid of the ants and sprayed all around the outside of the garage. So they packed up, moved a little to the west and found a way in to the playroom instead. Fortunately, they don't seem to like the high-pitched shrieking that little girls are so good at and so they moved out again pretty quickly.
  4. The dog--not ours. A couple who either recently moved into the neighborhood or just got a dog walks said dog by our house at least once every day. The husband always walks the dog on the other side of the street, the wife on our side. And every time she walks the dog, it pees on the "For Sale" sign in the front yard. I'm guessing it was a letter for Argus, but I was beginning to take it as another type of sign.
B) My second reason for not calling this the House of Plagues is just that I really love this house. I love the tree-lined street and the way the house seems to welcome you home. I love the quiet of the back yard at mid-day when all of the dogs are sleeping and the silence is broken only by the clicking of the humming birds, the drone of the bees and the occasional chattering of the squirrels. In the spring, there is the lush smell of wet jasmine and lemon blossoms. Summer brings warm tomatoes fresh from the vine and mountains of fresh basil . . .

I'm going to miss my house and (most of) the neighbors, but I hope that the next family will be as happy here as we have been. And I know that our next home will be even better because Thomas will only have a five minute commute. Hannah can't wait and neither can I. After all, now I can put him back on KP!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Yesterday I took the day off from the whole keeping-the-house-spotless thing. It was nice. The girls happily made a mess in the playroom. I did make all of the beds and did a few loads of laundry, but I also left dishes in the sink and the coffee maker on the counter.

Did you know that people selling their homes do not drink coffee, use a microwave or even own a toaster? Our counter must be completely naked to show just how much room there is for a potential buyer's junk, so all of our stuff has to go in the garage. Well, not the microwave. We put that in a corner of the counter where it's not as obvious. And because there is nowhere to plug it in unless we drag it across the counter, we use it to store the mail and other important papers that would otherwise gather on the counters and any other unmoving surface.

Rabbits, wire coat hangers and paper. They all have a way of "mysteriously" multiplying whenever two or more are left alone together. So I'm back to work today. I have to go and empty out the microwave before the door pops off.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Elephant in the Room

WMD that didn't exist.

Yellow cake uranium that didn't exist.

Ties to Osama that didn't exist.

Secret detention facilities that don't exist.

Liars in the White House who don't exist. Ok, I made that one up.

Americans have grown accustomed to having their politicians lie to them, especially on the very long eve of an election. But this administration has made it into a higher art and the media is allowing the mistruths emitting from the West Wing to pass as "misinformation" and "exaggerations" and "fabrications" rather than calling them what they are: A bunch of big fat lies.

It's a tiny little word, lie, but one with enormous ramifications. Especially when the lies are used by a president to send our military to war. The same guy who also uses the open-ended war on terrorism to justify the abrogation of our civil liberties.

Since we can't get rid of the Elephant in the House anytime soon, let's at least acknowledge the elephant in the room: "Liberal media" or no, much of the press has continued to give the Bush administration a pass. Bush says warrantless wiretaps are necessary--must be so. Bush vilifies the NY Times--and only the NY Times--for the banking story; only a handful of newspaper editorial boards come to their defense.

Let's face it: This administration is incredibly able and talented when it comes to selling fear. Americans are afraid of the next 9/11 and rightfully so. But the most important thing I've learned is that you can't live in fear because that isn't living. And to paraphrase a very wise little fish in Finding Nemo, "If you never let anything happen to him, nothing will ever happen to him."

We can't keep "agreeing" to give up bits and pieces of our freedoms because we won't get them back. And we can't keep promising other countries those freedoms that we are willingly relinquishing. Go back to the beginning: "Give me liberty or give me death."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Little Princess

This is Charlotte in the pagoda at the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC. My friend Sarah took it during our vacation in June.

My beautiful baby.