Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I’ve been holed up in a house with family and friends up in the Sierra Foothill Mountain area in California. I am just catching up on news and e-mail and read about the tragic shootings in Tucson. My heart and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Like everyone else, I am standing by for more information.

The U.S. State Department has announced that it will change the U.S. passport application to say “Parent” and “Parent” rather than “Mother” and “Father,” according to the Mombian blog. In somewhat related news: sex advice columnist Dan Savage and our favorite coach from Glee, Jane Lynch, recently spoke to Newsweek about being gay in the United States.

The Coffee Party is hosting a summit in Washington D.C. in light of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC case, which made corporations individuals who can donate unlimited sums of money to political campaigns. The summit is from January 20-22.

In other events: one of our favorite local digs, the Zeum Children’s Museum in San Francisco, will open a youth-driven multimedia exhibit on February 6.  

One of the Momocrats just created this brilliant education blog, K-12 Network News.

Who couldn’t use a little help for that “time of month”? Redbook just released helpful hints on how to curve a host of menstrual ailments like bloating, cramps, fatigue and insomnia.

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

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Review: The Zeum Museum in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Last week the kids were off from school so I coordinated an impromptu winter camp, in which I took my two kids and their friends on various outings.

On Wednesday, the Zeum Children’s Museum in San Francisco had given me five free passes (including mine) so I put together a big group, 9 kids and 4 adults total, to trek down to the city to check it out.

Now, I had previously attended a Sesame Street event at the Zeum, but it was my husband’s and other folks’ first time at this hands-on, multimedia arts and technology center for kids. The prognosis? The Zeum is worth a visit, whether you are a member or a visitor. For our group, which included kids between the ages of 3 and 7, there was something for everyone and getting them to leave the place really was like herding cats.

There were even engaging activities for the adults. My husband, a computer and video game geek, loved the “stop action animation” stations at the museum. He oversaw a project by Ari and his friend Felix, in which they created these clay models and recorded a movie about “bad guys” jumping into the sea to kill Ari’s fish. It’s pretty funny, check it out.

The fish look a lot like Ari’s platies so I am not sure how I feel about that. LOL! Nevertheless, from my husband’s perspective, he thought the museum was valuable in getting kids excited about the video technology that is going to shape our future media.

For my part, I was helping watch three 3-year-old girls, who found these huge cushion blocks to build a house. I could tell they have big brothers because when a couple big boys showed up and knocked down their play structure, the girls had no problem defending themselves. “Hey! That’s ours!” Eli and her friend Isbella told the boys as they yanked the pieces from their arms.

Eventually, they found princess costumes to play dress-up and the blocks were long forgotten. Yes, there was something for everyone, including a comfortable place for me to sit and watch the spectacle put on by the girls.

The museum is centrally located in downtown San Francisco by the carousel, shopping, lots of restaurants, and public transportation. Between transporting the kids to and from the museum on the BART train, scarfing down burgers from a nearby restaurant and lots of play, this was a great way to spend a vacation day. For that I am grateful to Zeum for the opportunity.

What do your kids do on their days off from school?

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