Musings About the Internet

I sometimes use the MT blogroll to find other blogs and fun places on the internet, but if I am looking for non-parenting places and spaces I strike out on my own. These are my most recent discoveries and some long time favorites.

Feminist geek take down of the patriarchy? —

Randomness, crazy illustrations and memoir? —

Cake! Comedy! —

Gay, fashion, fierceness Mad Men!, —

Intersectionality, plus occasional comics! —

Wil Wheaton fans! —

So, there it is in a nutshell. Some of my favorite spots on the web. I used to be a big fan of Jezebel, but lately the new EIC has been taking things in a strange “lady-mag” direction and other stuff that I don’t think a casual reader of the website would mind as much. I TRY and TRY to get into DailyKos and every time I read over there, I learn something. But the pace just feels off to me… maybe that’s it. I used to adore Television Without Pity, but they haven’t been the same since they sold out to NBC. Plus I am not watching as much TV as I used to and they aren’t recapping the few shows I really do watch, aside from Project Runway.

I tweet, so I am on Twitter sometimes. Sometimes I am over there a lot, and then I will go literally months without checking on it at all. How much of a geek am I? You know who I follow? Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner. Bonus geek points if you know why I’d be following those three in particular.

I am always desperate for new blogs, websites, internet tomfoolery and such. I have a magpie-like affinity for new! Shiny! LOOK OVER THERE! So any websites you could point me towards would be heavenly.

What do you look for in a website? More and more I am finding that I need there to be a safe space for feminism, because the internet can be a depressingly misogynistic place. What about you?

I am also considering just dropping out of Facebook altogether, but I need an alternative to it. Some place that isn’t as sketchy, but that I can lure my parents over to, so they can look at pictures of my kids. I need a “safe-book” if you will.


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

I loved perusing this list at the Multilingual Children’s Association website of celebrities and the foreign languages they speak to their children. For example, I did not know that Ben Affleck learned Spanish when he was 13 while living in Mexico. Or that Orlando Bloom grew up speaking French. Pretty cool. had two helpful lifestyle articles. The first one offered practical and free tips on how to lose the last of the baby weight. The second story were four culprits preventing moms from sleeping at night.

Hybrid Mom’s print publication had an article about moms who play video games with their children. Admittedly, I do not even know how to turn on the Wii even though we have one. DH and DS play though. What about you? Are you a gamer?

Bad Grandma wrote a heart-breaking account of the baby boy she was forced to place for adoption in 1963. What a traumatic experience for women in that era. Bad Grandma also wrote about fighting cabin fever, which I am sure you ladies in the north can relate to.

Beacon Broadside ran a review of a book addressing the disparity in access to healthy foods. I didn’t know this, but our very own Alice Waters was on 60 Minutes and embarrassingly dismissed the high cost of organic food with, “some people buy Nike shoes, two pairs, and other people want to nourish themselves.” Whatever, Alice.

A career coach at BlogHer made a compelling case for why now is the time to start a business.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Cell Phone Use Among the Homeless

Cell phones are helping the homeless stay connected to the world and even helping them find work, according to an article in the Washington Post.

Check it out:

“Having a phone isn’t even a privilege anymore — it’s a necessity,” said Rommel McBride, 50, who spent about six years on the streets before recently being placed in a city housing program. He has had a mobile phone for a year. “A cellphone is the only way you can call to keep up with your food stamps, your housing application, your job. When you’re living in a shelter or sleeping on the streets, it’s your last line of communication with the world.”

Advocates who work with the District’s homeless estimate that 30 percent to 45 percent of the people they help have cellphones. A smaller number have e-mail accounts, and some blog to chronicle their lives on the streets.

When Laura Zeilinger, deputy director of program operations for the D.C. Department of Human Services, conducted housing assessments of a couple of thousand people living on city streets last summer, she was surprised by how many gave her cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses.

“Phones are really a lifeline for many people,” said Adam Rocap, director of social services at Miriam’s Kitchen, a nonprofit drop-in center for the homeless. During a string of attacks against homeless people sleeping downtown in the fall, two victims called 911 for help after they were assaulted, he said.

As the article pointed out, some people grumbled when homeless people shot a photo of Michelle Obama with their cell phones — as if a home and a phone cost the same thing. You can get a pay-as-you-go mobile phone for less than $30, according to the Post.

And this is hardly a phenomenon in the United States. The other night, my husband and I were watching the Amazing Race and he pointed out all the cell phone advertisements in this impoverished section of India. Not even the poor can escape the prevalence of wireless technology, which sounds like a good thing.


Notes from a working mother.

I have a bunch of unconnected things I’ve been wanting to post about, but none of them were really big enough to warrant a diary of their own.  So, I’m serving up a casserole.

Hey, its Saint David’s Day!  Happy “national” day to everyone Welsh!  We have snow on the ground, so no daffodils today.  I feel like I should go buy one at the store…

First up, controversy.  My office has an internal computer network that is for work purposes.  In an effort to boost collaboration across offices, they have blogs.  Yes, blogs.  Anyone can start a blog, and there is no approving authority.  However, the purpose of a blog is supposed to be work-related, of course.  A woman, an active blogger who already had a work related blog, started a blog called “Working Mommies.”  The title annoyed me, because it perpetuates that damn false notion that women have to shoulder the working parent burden alone, but whatever.  Then, the potty training post arrived.  And the entire blog was deleted by TPTB.  Howls of protest from other bloggers about censorship and other post unrelated to work that were not deleted.  Personally, I thought the blog was out of place.  As a commenter pointed out, there are a trillion places on the real Internet where you can get advice on potty training.  The blog annoyed me because I think I was annoyed that mommy concerns somehow had crossed a line into my office.  I’ll chat with other parent coworkers in the office, but the thought of mommy blogging was off, in the workplace.  Since you are the foremost mommy bloggers I know, I ask you: should the blog have been deleted?

Secondly, a bittersweet milestone.  Monday will probably be the last day I use the pumping room.  The business trip looms, and while I”m gone, pumping will be hard.  So, when I get back, I’ll probably drop to breastfeeding only in the morning and night, and just use formula during the day.  I didn’t have enough milk stockpiled to get DS through the ten days anyway, so at some point he will start only formula.  I have made some friends in the MOO room, some women who live by me.  At the same time, on busy days at the office, having to run up to the MOO is just an annoyance.  It feels weird, though, to be done with that.  I’m gloomy about the trip in general; DS turns 6 months old while I’m gone and I just know he will finally roll back to tummy and start crawling while I’m away.  :(  I feel like I already miss so much of his life because he doesn’t nap at daycare and comes home wiped out.  The teachers and other moms tell me he’s such a different baby at school; it makes me sad.

5 years ago, I never would have believed I would be this sad about a business trip to Hawaii.  Sheesh.

Finally, anger.  I was listening to Marketplace on NPR during the drive home on Friday.  I should really stop doing this, in this climate, because I get really worried.  I heard this depressing statistic: if you graduated in the 1990s and started saving for retirement, you are basically back to square one.  You have no more money for retirement than if you’d saved it under your mattress.  I am furious.  I did everything I was supposed to do: saved from the first day I started my first job, made it a priority.  And because some fat cats on Wall Street got too damn greedy, I’ve lost it all.  11 years of investments, gone.  Now what?  I’m not sure I can trust 401(k)s for retirement anymore, y’know?  Luckily, I’m at least 30 years away from retirement.  But I’m still really pissed!

(Holy crap, DS hit the keyboard and somehow deleted this entire post!!  Thank god the way-back button works here! (control-Z))


Friday Open Thread

What’s up?

Update on our Janet aka “Janetle:” She continues to wage a fight for her life. Her husband Dave, who has not strayed from her side, has been regularly updating her blog Mukilteo Musings. Let’s continue to keep this family in our thoughts and prayers.  

A doctor over at the Opposing Views blog weighed in on the pros and cons of soy. Bottom line: Like anything else, a little soy can be good for you, but a diet solely comprised of it can mess with your hormone levels. Also in Opposing Views: A topless coffee shop just opened up in Maine. Maine moms, you must weigh in!

This makes sense to me: A federal study just confirmed that eating less carbs, less fat, or more protein does not necessarily lead to weight loss, according to an Associated Press report. What counts is burning more calories than what you are consuming.

OC Moms blog had an interesting discussion whether it was possible to shelter your children from a “raunch” culture. This particular mom was wondering if she should homeschool rather than send her child to public school to protect her from negative influences.

Katy Farber over at Non-Toxic Kids listed dishes — like old china — that may contain high levels of lead as well as tips to minimize your family’s exposure.

The Motherhood had a very brief discussion about which words to google when looking for a toy for a special needs child. Also in The Motherhood: How do you politely decline an invitation to play when a child drops by unexpectedly?

Fellow MTer Mara over at her blog The Mother of All Trips discussed why travel is important to her family even in bad economic times.

Our Dana over at Mombian had an interesting article about a proposed bill in Massachusetts that could potentially impact gay and lesbian students as well as the children of gay parents. House Minority Leader Bradley Jones filed a bill that would require parents to opt into any “curriculum, or a school sanctioned program or activity, which involves human sexual education, human sexuality issues, or sexual orientation issues” in the public schools. Dana rightfully wondered whether her son, for example, would be able to show a picture of his two moms during show and tell. Good question.

I never thought I would say this, but the comments in this discussion at Ladies’ Home Journal were hilarious. Readers lit into a woman who cancelled her subscription because Ellen DeGeneres was on the cover and she is not a “lady.” “There are a lot of straight women who are not ladies either,” one reader retorted. “The majority of the world would be glad to welcome you to 2009 whenever you would like to join us,” said another. LOL!

Libby Gruner over at Literary Mama reviewed the book Coraline.

The Washington Post ran a review of the second version of the Kindle electronic reader. Honesty? I have never even seen anyone use the first version. Have any of you replaced your paper books with a Kindle? What do you think?

Via MSN: Here is an amazing spread of all the celebrities that attended the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. In more celebrity gossip: The OC Moms blog is having a discussion on the reality show Jon & Kate Plus Eight.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Grace in Small Things

Grace in Small Things was started by the blogger Schmutzie

as a daily reminder to take notice of the positive things we tend to overlook

She’s been blogging five little things she is grateful for every day since November.  In January,  I finally got up the nerve to try it myself.  20 days in and I’m loving it!  I go through most days on the lookout for things I can post.  At the end of bad days, I make myself come up with five things that didn’t suck and it brings closure to the crappy day.
Here are five of my favorites from the last twenty days.  MotherTalkers! I want to know yours!

  1.  A clean bathtub
  1.  Full coverage swimsuits
  1.  Killian’s Irish Red
  1.  Having the baby laugh at me when I yell at the older kids
  1.  Bacon with breakfast and lunch

Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Okay. I think the hoopla around Michael Phelps’ bong photo is getting a little out of hand. South Carolina police are considering pressing charges, according to the Associated Press.

There is still discussion over the California mom of the octuplets. Here is what the moms over at the OC Moms blog had to say. Here is what the dads at OC Moms blog had to say. As one dad who happens to have 12 siblings said, it will cost her $1,000 a week just feed and diaper the 8 babies. She apparently has no money, which raises all kinds of questions like how is she able to shuttle around all the kids, including the six she already had, and how could she afford IVF.

It looks like this mom does have a plan to support the kids. She wants to become a television child expert and has reportedly offered herself to Oprah and Diane Sawyer for the bargain price of $2 million, according to ParentDish. What won’t people do for money?

Also in OC Moms blog: Check out this mom’s account of opening up a Facebook account. She was surprised by the number of requests she received, including from the popular kids she did not talk to in high school. Still, she accepted them as friends. How selective are you in your friend requests? had an expert help women figure out the best jeans for them. also doled out advice on how to weather the economic crisis we are in.

Readers over at BabyCenter doled out advice on how to deal with an 8-year-old bully. Also in BabyCenter: Fantas-Eyes in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a recall of about 15,000 High School Musical manicure sets because the glittered letters on the casings contain excess levels of lead.

Attention winter sports enthusiasts: Heidi over at Outdoor Baby is posting reviews from the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah.

ParentDish had a sweet post of 15 famous men from various industries talking about their mothers. The slideshow presentation included Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

This month is Black History Month. The Root’s Michael Ross wondered why black history had to be separated from American history. Good question.

Via MomLogic: A group dedicated to the economic well-being of the Asian Pacific American community has issued a statement against Miley Cyrus for appearing in a photograph slanting her eyes like an Asian. This can’t be good for the singer who is only 16 and looks drunk in the photo. Also in MomLogic: Madonna won custody of her two sons with now ex-hubby Guy Ritchie. She plans to move the family to New York.

In more celebrity gossip: Adam Sandler sounds like a great dad. He dresses up as the main character of the books he reads his 2.5-year-old daughter, Sadie, according to Celebrity Baby Blog. Aww.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Friday Open Thread

What’s up?

Fellow MTer Mara ran a guest post on her blog Mother of All Trips by a father who attended the inauguration. Parents were discouraged to bring their children, but many African-Americans did. The pictures embedded in the post are too precious for words.

I loved this story in the Seattle Times of the Tuskegee Airmen who attended the inauguration. Thank you to fellow MTer Janetle for highlighting it in her blog Mukilteo Musings. Also, let’s keep her and her family in our thoughts and prayers as she continues to wage a battle against colon cancer.  

The Motherhood blog is discussing a Newsweek story on how Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — she is still in the news? — is lashing out at the media for misleading coverage about her and her family. Also in the Motherhood: Autism screening and funding is so high on President Obama’s agenda that it is the only disease or disorder singled out on

A mom over at New York City Moms Blog wrote a funny piece about selling girl scout cookies to her co-workers. It turns out that a couple co-workers also had cookies of their own to sell.

Katy Farber over at Non-Toxic Kids reviewed a green lunch box set. It’s nice not to have to worry about BPAs and other toxic chemicals in food containers.

The OC Weekly had an article about why midwife-assisted deliveries are becoming increasingly rare. Answer: A local hospital’s maternity ward closed. OC Moms blog also discussed the matter.

Also at the OC Moms blog: Some moms are wondering if people are ruder today than yesteryear. Do you agree that people are less polite today — not saying, “thank you” and “please” — than our parents’ time? Please do discuss!

There are a lot of good discussions over at the OC Moms blog. But I was deeply disturbed by the homophobic comments in this thread. Similarly, an article in the Orange County Register about protests at Rev. Rick Warren’s church over his role in the inauguration also spurred massive amounts of comments.

Thanks to fellow MTer GiGi for commemorating the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on her blog One Lazy Liberal. In somewhat related news, the Opposing Views blog wrote about Krispy Kreme’s controversial move to give away donuts on inaugural day. Anti-abortion groups accused the chain store of using pro-choice language in its promotion.

Also in Opposing Views: New York Gov. David Paterson is facing steep opposition to his proposed 18 percent sales tax on sugared beverages, including soda. Not surprisingly, it has been called a “regressive tax” by the American Beverage Association.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Late-Night Liberty: What Blogs Do You Read?

Tami Winfrey Harris over at the Anti-Racist Parent blog raised a good question, which solicited a lot of interesting responses from her readers: What blogs do you read?

Like Harris, I was astounded at the number of high-quality blogs that dealt with race.

At MotherTalkers, I am constantly checking out parenting blogs and updating our blogroll. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded people online and catch up on parenting news and useful information.

So I am wondering, what other blogs do you read besides MotherTalkers? Please do mention yours if you have one!


Tuesday Open Thread

What’s up?

I was about to post a picture from our trip to Sea World yesterday when I discovered that dear husband took the cable for the camera out of the case and left it at home in Berkeley. No worries. I will post the pics at the end of the week!

Overall, we’ve had a wonderful time in San Diego. We rented a Dodge Durango to fit me, Erika, our husbands, kids and my mother-in-law — and it’s been fun cruising around like a big happy family. We were astounded by how expensive the passes were for Sea World — with a hotel discount, we paid around $46 per child and $56 per adult — but the shows and rides were so well worth it. We saw Shamu, the dolphins, this 4-D Sesame Street show (Eli was in heaven, naming off the characters as they appeared) and ridiculously cute sea lions and penguins. The kids ended the day with some Sesame Street rides and in spite of the exhausted adults wanted more. We are off to Legoland today.

More stories to come….In the meantime, here are some items that caught my eye in the blogosphere:

The cause of death for Jett Travolta was listed as “seizure,” a Bahamian funeral home official told the Associated Press. Travolta’s son will be buried in Ocala, Florida.

Have you heard of the Reborn baby dolls? Apparently, they are these life-like dolls that some women have adopted as their own. They change their diapers, host birthday parties for them and treat them like real children. Here is a clip on Jezebel. What do you think?

Thank you to Stacey for posting this great Parents advice column, “50 Ways to be a Fantastic Parent,“ at her blog Fussbucket. I liked the tips she singled out and plan to try them myself.

And many thanks to Lonestar Canuck for the awesome rebuttal to “sucky anonymous Internet guy” who ragged on mommy blogs.

I think this has been said here before, but some of the discussions over at iVillage are warped. Most recently, a mother complained that her husband wants her to lose weight, keep her hair long — and bangless — and wear makeup. I was saddened by how the guy clearly was not attracted to his wife, yet this mother seemed to blame herself. Also, I was deeply disturbed by the comments that were along the lines of, “I hear what your husband is saying…” I cannot fathom my husband telling me I need to lose weight. I would be so hurt.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?