Is Blogging on Vacation a Real Vacation?

Ironically, I came across this article about blogging while on vacation while I am on…vacation.

My BIL invited us to the ski resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado, as a surprise for my SIL’s 30th birthday. They have no kids and do this sort of traveling every opportunity they get. I jumped at the opportunity to not only see them, but also my childhood best friend who lives in Denver. She is pregnant with her second child (a boy), I am her daughter’s godmother and I really wanted to see them!

We came out for only three days to Colorado because of work. I am finishing up some contract work before I am fully onboard as a MomsRising staff member, thankfully, the only paid job I will have to worry about in the new year. Taking care of my family and blogging for MotherTalkers are a part of who I am and something I will always do regardless.

So back to the question as to whether blogging on vacation is a real vacation. In my warped mind it is. I blog for fun, and am forever thinking of topics to write about. I am kicking myself right now because I didn’t take pictures of the kids sledding or partaking in snow fights to post here. Perhaps I was too enraptured in that job to do so. :)

Also, maybe it’s the high altitude and peace and quiet of this place, but I have actually been getting decent sleep. The kids have been sleeping in and I have joined them…well until at least 10 a.m.! I have to share as I am sure I am not alone in saying that I have not slept in until 10 a.m. for, jeez, 9 years? Even on vacation, I tend to get up at the crack of dawn out of habit. I try to go back to sleep, but am wide awake thinking of my laundry list of things to do and that the kids will be up in any moment.

I am not a skier so what have I been doing at Breckenridge? Visiting with family and friends, partaking in snow fights, playing card games by the fireplace and largely eating out. For this tired momma, a fabulous vacation indeed!

What are you up to this week? What are the kids doing while school is out?


Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

It’s official. My toe is broken. It’s the fourth one on my right foot, right next to the littlest toe. Honestly? I thought a broken toe would hurt more so I insisted on cramming it into high heels the weekend of Blogalicious. I knew something was wrong with it, but broken? I was told by the x-ray technician that there is nothing to do about it, but wait. I didn’t run the marathon this past weekend, and I’ve slowly gotten into an exercise routine that doesn’t put weight on my foot (elliptical machine and stationary bike at my local 24 Hour Fitness). Now I am hoping it is totally healed for the Tinkerbell half marathon in Orange County, which I plan to run with Erika in January.

What exercises are good for someone who can’t put weight on her feet?

I have long been concerned about the disconnect between politicians in Washington and the regular people who vote for them, in terms of income. The New York Times echoed my thoughts in an article about how almost all of the candidates for president are in the top one percent of income earners in this country.

In somewhat related news, California Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi was caught shoplifting more than $2,000 worth of goods at Neiman Marcus, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. This is such a bummer, as I was at an assembly hearing two years ago, in which she ignored corporate astroturfers and voted for a bill that would have gotten toxic flame retardants out of baby products. She was supposed to be one of the good ones! Ugh!

This is especially outrageous. Colorado Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, is suing Denver so that inactive voters can’t get mail-in ballots, according to the Colorado Independent. Apparently, it is a ploy to keep these voters from voting for Initiative 300, which would give them paid sick days. What a tool.  

My most recent column at Moms Clean Air Force is on mercury poisoning in the Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican communities due to a spiritual practice that involves mercury. The mercury not only goes into the blood stream and causes developmental delays and other damage, but it can linger for decades in the home. It was a fascinating — and eye-opening — article to write.

Dana over at the Mombian blog released some eye-opening facts on the ways that children of gay and lesbian parents are discriminated against.

Crunchy Chewy Mama — a fabulous blogger I met at Blogalicious! — is joining other moms in protesting an FDA ban against raw milk. I had no idea that raw milk was illegal in some states, and that it was illegal even for moms to cross state lines to get it. Have you heard of this?

A BlogHer mom of a daughter with Down Syndrome wrote of the importance of equipping children with special needs against abuse.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you? Happy Halloween all!


The Happiest States in the Country

Forbes magazine recently ranked the “happiest states” in the country, based on the way some of its residents described their life there.

Utah ranked first in the nation, followed by Hawaii, Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota.

But a report released this week by Gallup and disease management company Healthways suggests that reality is less grim in certain states. In these places, residents enjoy their jobs, express deep optimism about future prospects and even manage to stay healthy.

Utah earned the highest marks. Here residents reported a high level of satisfaction in several areas, including work environment, emotional health and their local communities. One major factor for Utah’s strong performance might be its unemployment rate: When last reported in January, it was 4.6% compared with a national rate of 7.6%.

Hawaii ranked second, followed by Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota. West Virginia ranked last, and manufacturing-reliant states like Michigan and Ohio also landed in the bottom 10.

In Depth: State-By-State Ranking
The results were based on a year-long, random-dial telephone survey of 355,000 Americans. Though the sample size for each state varied widely–with 37,000 Californians polled vs. 950 North Dakotans–each was controlled to reflect population and demographics.

In addition to state rankings, Gallup and Healthways also measured quality of life in congressional districts. The 14th district, which stretches from south San Francisco to just north of Monterey, Calif., ranked as the most content.

How did your state fare in the rankings? Do you agree?


Mobilizing Democrats — and Republicans

As fellow MTer Rachel alluded to in her open thread, the Barack Obama campaign has a sophisticated online operation when it comes to voter outreach and reaching and training volunteers.

Last night, I went to our local Obama office, which is a walkable three blocks from my house, and did some phone banking. We underwent a quick training, were given scripts and phone numbers. We made calls to Colorado residents who had visited an Obama website to remind them that the deadline to register to vote is today, Monday.

I made almost 70 phone calls, and while many people were not home, the grand majority of the people I spoke to were first-time voters and college students who had already mailed in absentee ballots for Obama thanks to the VoteforChange website. Also, I called many cell-phone numbers as a couple people even called me back, even though I did not leave a message.

As numerous media outlets, including Newsweek, have reported, cell-phone-only users prefer Obama by as much as 35 percent. While I did not read a reason for the disparity — I am guessing that these users are younger and more comfortable with the technology — the tech radio show,, released these numbers:

As the U.S. presidential campaigns aim to get out the vote using multi-channel marketing like never before, a new study by Nielsen Mobile finds that mobile may be a more effective channel for reaching Democrats than Republicans. Already, much has been said of the Obama campaign’s use of mobile marketing, including a text message to 2.9 million mobile phones announcing Joe Biden as Obama’s VP pick. Moreover, the Obama campaign has a full mobile website containing news, videos and ringtone and wallpaper downloads. Meanwhile, the McCain campaign has not been as active in mobile media, but that may make some sense since as of Q2 mobile media was slightly more popular with Democrats than Republicans….

As of Q2 2008, mobile media was slightly more popular with Democrats than Republicans.

  • Overall, 62% of Democrats are data users who use one or more data service on their mobile phone (compared to 55% of Republicans)
  • Democrats are more likely than Republicans to use text messaging (53% compared to 46%)
  • Democrats are more likely to use picture messaging and MMS (27% compared to 21%)
  • Democrats are more likely to use mobile Internet, as well (17% compared to 13%)

While the effectiveness of mobile organizing has yet to be seen, the Obama campaign is smartly using this tool to reach likely Democratic voters. The campaign recently released this cool iPhone application that organizes users’ phonebooks by battleground state and encourages them to call the people they know in those states to ask them to vote for Obama. Once they complete a call, a screen appears so they can record how those people will vote. Pretty cool.

Last night when I was making phone calls, something caught my attention. Two people who had registered to vote for John McCain actually used the VoteForChange website. No worries. The conversation was civil and I actually took it as validation that Obama’s online campaign is robust and accessible to all.


La Madre Progresista

El Piolín de Univision entrevistó a Michelle Obama sobre la importancia del voto Latino, la inmigración y sus niñas.

Univision estaba en la Convención Republicana en St. Paul, Minnesota, esta semana. Para a ver los políticos por lentes Latinos — ¡vean los videos! Estoy sorprendida que la prensa Latina no cubrió las controversias personales de la gobernadora Sarah Palin. Pero quizás es mejor que el circo que es la prensa Americana.

Según El Diario/La Prensa, muchos Latinos que apoyan al Senador Barack Obama no fueron a Denver para la Convención Demócrata por miedo que los pararan la policía.

¿Qué mas les interesa en las noticias? ¿Qué tal con ustedes?


Mother Presses Charges Against 12-Year-Old Son

Via ParentDish: A Longmont, Colorado mom is pressing charges against her 12-year-old son for taking the family van out for a spin and crashing it against someone’s detached garage, according to the Longmont Times-Call.

No one was killed nor injured in the accident. But folks in the Times-Call comments thread as well as ParentDish readers are praising the mom for her “tough love.”

“He said he just wanted to prove he could drive a car,“ Sgt. James Sawinska said.

According to police, the boy had been spending the night at the home of a 14-year-old friend. Sawinska said the 12-year-old had wanted to go cruising and that his friend drove him back home so he could get the van….

The boy was arrested a little after 2 p.m. He was checked out briefly at Longmont United Hospital before being taken to the Boulder County Juvenile Detention Center.

Possible charges include aggravated motor vehicle theft, driving without a valid license, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify police, and reckless driving.

According to police, the front end of the van was heavily damaged. The van’s windshield was smashed and still had fence pieces in it, and both passenger-side tires were flat. Police did not know the extent of the damage to the garage.


It’s stories like these that freak me out about impending teenhood. What do you think? Would you ever press charges against your 12-year-old? Under what circumstances?


Democratic National Convention Day One

For a progressive mom’s perspective of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, check out MOMocrats. They have it going on.

What’s on all the major news networks tonight? There will be biographical messages about Sen. Barack Obama at 7 p.m. EDT. At 8 p.m., the speakers will take the stage, including Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng Mya. At 10 p.m., Michelle Obama will be introduced by her brother Craig Robinson. MSN has the schedule for the week.

Sit back — and enjoy! My deepest sympathies to my east coast sisters who must wake up early tomorrow morning.


Should She Move Back?

About a month ago, I hit rock-bottom when DH was out of town and I had a stomach bug and the two kids. Man, does it suck when you have kids and get sick. What a difference from the pre-kid days when you could stay home from work and watch TV. Heh.

Anyways, I had flirted with the idea of moving back to New Hampshire to be closer to my parents and siblings there. My husband talked me out of it because he reassured me that once he was done with his book (the end of this month), he will have a saner schedule with less travel and can help me. Plus, we would lose money on our home if we were to sell it today and we do not have the money to purchase a second home. Most importantly, we love Berkeley! The warm weather, the politics, the diversity, city life and culture — this is who we are.

As if I needed more proof to stay, I smiled at the advice Salon’s Cary Tennis recently gave to a woman who, in a worse position than me, but still was wondering the same thing: should she move back home to Wisconsin — after years of living in her beloved Colorado — to be closer to her mother who is dying of ovarian cancer. Her two sisters also live there. Tennis said no.

I would not move back there now. If you want to move back there, you can do so later. Instead, right now, I suggest you maintain your own household and be ready to travel on short notice and to make extended stays.

So maintain your stable home in Colorado, and visit as often as you can. Be there. But don’t move there. You will be glad, over the months and possibly years ahead, that you can return to your Colorado home for respite. The near future will be hard enough as it is.

If you move back there now, not only might you feel trapped, but it also might not be the best thing for your family. They are under great stress. So if you relocate to Wisconsin in the midst of this stress and difficulty, you may find yourself struggling with your sisters over things none of you really understand, buffeted by powerful and unexplained emotions driven by deep, unacknowledged motives — to save your mother, to reunite the family, to recapture a happier time when your father was there, to overcome guilt about leaving for Colorado. And those struggles might divert everyone from what is really going on. This is about your mother. Your mother is gravely ill and will probably die soon. That is the thing you must face.

He is right that it may be an impulsive and emotional decision and one she may regret after her mother passes away. Of course, to each her own. I may have a hard time staying away if any of my parents were gravely ill.

But I liked his perspective in why we may choose to live where we do:

So you must be strong and have faith that you moved to Colorado for good reason and you fell in love with the state for good reason. Places that draw us do not always draw us consciously; there is some other entity in play here, what we refer to loosely as the soul, the sum of the unknown but deeply felt forces that guide us and push us without our fully understanding how and why. So you must trust that you are in Colorado for good reason, and do what you can from there.

I note with interest that it is ovarian cancer that your mom has, and that you have just had a baby, and that your mother’s children are three women. Three sisters. Three sisters whose mother has ovarian cancer. The father figure is a stepfather. This is a profoundly female universe. Your mother, you might say, did good work with her ovaries; she left many more functioning ovaries in the world. And now she is passing out of that world. I don’t know exactly what that means for you and your sisters. But I suspect that in the language of the psyche it all means a great deal.

We originally moved west for work. It was the height of the dot-com era and we smelled opportunity. Thankfully, California has been the place we have been able to achieve our dreams, which is why we cannot fathom ever leaving.

What originally drew you to your current homes, MotherTalkers? Would you rather be somewhere else? Why?

I actually dream of making enough money to bring my family here. My parents love it here, too, and have expressed interest in re-locating.


Just a quick hello

Hello.  My name is Karen, the Mamagoth.  I’m a married mom of a 5 year old, part of an open adoption.  We’re (mostly) in touch with our daughter’s other mom and her family, including the occasional visit.  I wish it could be more; maybe someday down the road…

Living out here, where the majority are Republicans, has been a bit of a challenge.  Our daughter likes it here, and we could afford a house out here  as opposed to where we were before, so we’re staying.  Our second “day” of school has been interesting.  Lots of different things: the teacher who has three kids, the oldest our daughter’s age; the young lady at the registration table with the skull-adorned laptop; the truly scary gentleman at the PTIC table, and the fellow mom who seemed…encouraging.  “Day” refers to the shortness of said day.  I think we were there for a whopping hour today, which is twice as long as yesterday.  On Friday, she’ll have her first real day of school.  First time she’s been away since we were placed.


Democratic Moms in Colorado and Their Kids to Cleanup Community Park on Tuesday

I did a version of this diary over at Daily Kos and other blogs; seemed too relevant not to bring it here (even though I’m not a mother!).

The women of WIN (WomenInformed.Net), their “WIN”-ing kids, and Democrats Work will be cleaning up Willow Creek Park in Centennial on Tuesday, June 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

School’s out, but we’re still teaching our kids the value of service.  At the same time, we are building a service-based approach to politics that values positive, tangible results year-round.

We are expecting dozens of kids and their mothers for this service event, including the Colorado Director of Democrats Work, who is a mother of twin 1-year old boys!  You can see all the details and RSVP if you’re in the area here. All of the necessary equipment will be provided, so wear some clothes that can get dirty and bring your kids!

By way of background, Democrats Work mobilizes Democrats to perform community service . . . as Democrats. We partner with Democratic and progressive organizations throughout Colorado (and other states) to help connect volunteers with visible, tangible service projects in their communities – such as cleaning up parks and neighborhoods, working at food banks, building houses, sponsoring basketball tournaments, and helping at church bake sales. Through this service-based approach, Democrats Work aims to promote Democratic values at the local level, showing our neighbors that Democrats work hard to improve their communities every day, not just at election time.

WIN is a grassroots political organization started by a group of educated women in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado in November 2004. We are educators, lawyers, artists, accountants, engineers, business owners, medical professionals, and mothers. We spend 24-hours-a-day doing the right thing for our children, our households, and our communities.

Here are the details:

WHEN: Tuesday, June 12th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon

WHERE: Meet at the pavilion in Willow Creek Park, which is on the corner of E. Mineral Drive and E. Phillips Circle in Centennial
(A map is available on our website.)

RSVP: Please click here to see all the event details and to RSVP. (You can also RSVP by sending an email to

NOTES: The first 12 grown-ups to RSVP (and their kids) will get a free Democrats Work t-shirt.