Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back from the Democratic National Convention

So, do you want to know what it's really like to be a blogger at the DNC?

Well, I certainly saw some inspiring speeches.

But I missed John Legend. Damn it.

On the bright side, I did not get caught in a riot like my friends did.

This guy from MySpace and MSNBC called me a MILFocrat in an interview. He did. I swear. If only he would actually post the video I could show you.

I did NOT get interviewed by Katie Couric. I found out from MOMocrat Debbie, who had found out from Jane from Firedoglake, who had found out from somebody else at The Big Tent that Katie Couric was, in fact, looking for, ahem, "The Mommybloggers," aka the MOMocrats, on Monday. Trouble is, we did not hear that she was looking for us until Tuesday.

You should have told me, Katie. I was right next to you on Monday night at the Pepsi Center.

I did see many excellent hats.

I'm not finished talking about the convention yet! So much happened that I didn't have time to write about it all while I was there. Coming soon on MOMocrats, my thoughts on:

The Mom Who Made 9,000 Obama Pins

Peta Pigs, Pot Proponents and Code Pink

Lunch with Hillary Clinton

Howard Dean's Message to Democratic Youth

An Interview with a Missouri Delegate

First Americans at the Convention

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A DNC '08 Postcard for Stephen Colbert

Hey, Stephen:

That's my husband eating a real Denver omelette while actually in Denver.

I have so many stories to tell about my trip. But I'm crazy busy writing for MOMocrats. Here are some highlights:

On our way to Denver, one of our tires blew out on the highway in rural Kansas outside a small town called Hays. It was Saturday evening at around 6:30. We do not have a full-sized spare.

As we were frantically trying to get some totally clueless people at our insurance company to give us a number for a tow company (they oh-so-helpfully offered a number to a tow company on the opposite side of the state), a Kansas state trooper stopped to help us. He pulled out a power ratchet and helped us put the donut on in half the time it might have taken us otherwise. His intervention got us to the only open tire store, the local Walmart Tire Center, just before they closed.

The Walmart people actually installed a new tire in less than an hour, and they did it correctly. (I attribute this miraculous moment of good service to the fact that this was a rural Walmart. You may not know this if you have never been to one, but rural Walmarts are usually actually staffed by competent people. So, thanks to the incredibly kind people of Hays for getting some city folk to Denver.

(Except for YOU, not-so-closet white supremacist dude. over at the next table at the pancake house we stopped at there for dinner. Upon noticing our Obama pins, you started talking to your companion accidentally-on-purpose-too-loudly about how "I know there are some people in the KKK who are not gonna let this happen, not that I want them to do anything of course, but you know that they will." Guess what, dude? You're not fooling anyone. Everyone knows you're a racist jerk. Dumbass.)

In Denver we are staying with an AWESOME hostess, Renee, who is a fan of the MOMocrats. Not only did this woman open her beautiful Craftsman home to a strange family she had never met in person, but she also stayed up until two in the morning to let us in after we were exceedingly delayed by the exploding tire incident. She has been granted permanent honorary MOMocrat status.

I have now run into Donna Brazile (as in, walked within a foot of her) five times. Yet none of those times have I been able to actually speak to her.

I was forced to decide on Wednesday between having lunch with Howard Dean, and having lunch with Hillary Clinton. (I chose Clinton.)

Isaac fell down a flight of concrete stairs right before the Clinton lunch, and really banged up his ear. The top of his ear immediately turned blue and swelled up to double it's size. I almost didn't go to the lunch, but John insisted he would take care of Isaac. The whole time I was at the lunch, I was worried about my son. Because of this, I didn't actually talk to Hillary Clinton at all.

When I saw Isaac after the lunch was over, the swelling was down and his ear barely looked scraped.

I went to the First Americans Caucus meeting today. I am fairly certain I was the only press person there not employed by a Native American advocacy group. This is not because the press do not go to caucus meetings. When I was at a Youth Caucus meeting earlier, there were tons of press there.

This pissed me off.

I am going to blog the hell out of that First Americans Caucus meeting on MOMocrats. Count on it.

Tomorrow I am going to see Barack Obama's speech at Invesco Field. I have no idea what to wear.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If You're Wondering Where I Am . . .

I'm losing my mind planning my trip to Denver.

Hope to be back soon, with reports from the Democratic National Convention!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Conversations with a Four-Year-Old: The Circle of Life

CHILD: Mommy, are we meat?

MOTHER: What did you say?

CHILD: I said, are we meat?

MOTHER: Did you just ask if we were meat?


MOTHER: Do you mean, meat, like, for eating?

CHILD: Yeah.

MOTHER: Why would you ask that?

CHILD: Well, lions and tigers eat people sometimes, right?

MOTHER: Well, lions and tigers don't usually eat people. They usually eat zebras or antelopes or something.

CHILD: But they also eat people sometimes.

MOTHER: Well, yes, sometimes.

CHILD: So, are we meat?

MOTHER: Well, if you want to put it that way, yes. We're meat.

CHILD: So what is meat made of, exactly?

MOTHER: Meat is muscles. You know, those things that are attached to your bones, under your skin, that make your body move? Muscles? Well, animals have muscles too. And that's what people eat when they eat meat. It's animal muscles.

MOTHER: (VO, internal monologue) Please don't let him swear off chicken nuggets please don't let him swear off chicken nuggets God I know I'm a vegetarian but this kid is so damned picky if he swears off chicken nuggets I have no idea what I will feed him at restaurants PLEASE DON'T BE A HIPPIE LIKE MOM TODAY, OKAY, KID?!?!

CHILD: Animals have muscles? COOL!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Images of Breastfeeding Before the Taboo

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and I've been inspired by Catherine of Her Bad Mother's recent post about receiving disapproving looks while nursing her infant son in public to pull together several early 20th century images of women breastfeeding here in North America, before the rise of formula feeding largely pushed nursing mothers out of the public eye for two generations.

The seed of this project was actually planted in my mind several months ago, when I read an article about this famous photo:

Most everyone has seen this iconic image, taken by photographer Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression as part of her work for the federal Farm Security Administration. The woman in the photo, Florence Owens Thompson, stranded by a broken-down car she was using to travel between towns looking for work, cradles her infant while two of her older children cling to her. This photograph is featured in practically every elementary school U.S. History course in the country.

But it wasn't until I'd viewed the entire series of photos taken by Dorothea Lange that day that I realized the Migrant Mother's shirt is unbuttoned.

When I saw that Lange's series included three photos of Thompson nursing her baby, it occurred to me: Not only was Thompson nursing in public, in full view of her older children and fellow campers at the site, without a blanket over her baby's head or any sort of cover, but this activity was so ordinary to her that she was willing to let a perfect stranger take her photo while she fed her baby.

Nursing in public was so normal at the time that Dorothea Lange had no qualms about asking a nursing mother she'd never met before whether she could take her photo.

And such images were so acceptable at the time that Lange turned them right in to her government employer, and they were included in the federal archives without comment.

In fact, it wasn't the last time Lange would photograph a nursing mother for the FSA:

Indeed, during the 1930s, the United States government, much like today, was very much in the business of promoting breastfeeding. Take this beautiful Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project poster:

The Library of Congress online catalog contains many wonderful examples of even earlier photographs depicting nursing mothers. In this 1910 photograph, a woman nurses her infant out in the open while hulling berries with her older children:

And the mother in this photograph, taken by photographer F. Holland Day in 1906, chose to have her portrait made as she nursed her baby:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Salad Days

"I'm surrounded by plants! It's like a whole family of plants, and this is their house. And I'm in the living room."

"I can't reach the beans at the top."

"I will pick the green beans, but you can eat them, Mommy."

"You don't want to try even just one? But you planted these bean plants, kid. The plant grew the green beans for you."

"No, I don't want to try one. Nope."

"Daddy can eat the green beans with holes in them."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shameless Plug Alert: Top Ten Reasons to Enter the MOMocrats Raffle

10.) It's a cheap thrill. Only $6 for two tickets.

9.) You might win something cool.

8.) You'll earn good blogging karma for helping out some fellow bloggers.

7.) You're my friend and you know I'd enter your fundraising raffle if you had one.

6.) Did I mention it's cheap? $3 per ticket? That's less than a gallon of gas! That's less than a gallon of milk!

Heck, in a month or two, I'm pretty sure that will be less than an apple.

5.) You want to support Powerful Blogger Ladies.

4.) This is only the second year that the Democratic National Convention has admitted bloggers as press. We at want to prove to the DNCC that bloggers play a vital role in the public discourse, and deserve seats in the press box. To that end we want to send as many MOMocrats bloggers, and cover as many convention events, as possible. But to do that, we'll need your help with travel and lodging expenses.

3.) We want to bring the convention experience straight to your monitor, with fresh, first-person accounts of events as they happen. Liveblogging. Interactive chats. Live podcasts. Video interviews. We want our readers to feel like they're right there with us in Denver. But to do that, we'll need your help to purchase some new equipment: wireless cards that will allow us to blog from anywhere. Video cameras. Voice recorders. Etc.

2.) Of the 124 blogs offered official credentials to cover the Democratic National Convention, MOMocrats is the only credentialed blog specifically focused on engaging more mothers in the political process. Sure, we'll be asking the politicians we meet there about issues that affect everyone, and are big in the news, like the environment and the economy (see #6). But we'll also be asking the politicians we meet there about education. We will be asking about child product safety. We will be asking them about child safety on the internet. We will be asking them about family leave, and discrimination against mothers in the workplace, and health care for children with special needs.

Will CNN be asking all of those questions? Will NBC? Will Fox?

1.) If you help get us to Denver (or event if you don't), we'll help take your specific questions and concerns to some of our government's top movers and shakers. If there's something you've been wanting to ask Claire McCaskill, or Nancy Pelosi, or Howard Dean, send us an email or drop us a comment. We'll pay attention.

Visit the Help a Mama Swag-o-Rama if you'd like to purchase a raffle ticket.

Vote Today in the Missouri Primary

"I don't know who the candidates are," you say?

Now you do.

"I don't know where my polling place is," you say?

Now you do.

Now quitcher whinin' and vote.