QueenofSpain Erin Kotecki Vest Reaches Social Media Milestone

Yes, that’s me.


And yes, there is more to this story that many may not know.

I’m all over the world baby. From Boulder to Barcelona.


Miss Teen PWN

I am, by nature, a worrier.

So imagine what I did when this came in the mail:

Miss teen Hala?

Do I show her?

I know when I got the really horrible, everyone got one, scams in the mail about modeling or pay-to-see-your-name in some book of smart kids, it was the sort of thing that boosted my tween or teen self-confidence.

Of course there was no way in hell we’d ever let her do it. So there was no harm in showing her, right?

But then again, we always said we’d support her in whatever she wanted to do so…

…no. No. NO. NO.



Pageants are for girls who are either desperate for money and can only get it because they are pretty or … or… I have no idea. I mean these things are judged on looks, right?

At least that’s what Sandra Bullock taught me. Well, her and Donald Trump.  Walk walk … show them how pretty you are…walk more… show them how pretty you are in different clothes. Walk more. Then answer some crazy question about current events and smile pretty for the boys.

So of course, I showed her and told her what it was all about doing my best to leave my snark behind to genuinely be able to gauge what SHE thought of all this and what SHE thought of a ‘pageant’ … did any of the girls at school do this sort of thing? I mean, we live in a ‘burb of LA, there are many child actors around and at the school and many have headshots and can turn on the cute in order to get a gig. Surely with the popularity of Honey Boo-Boo and Toddlers and Tiaras, there could be a few in her grade, right?

So I showed her and explained and waited for a reaction…

My 7-year old was disturbed by the letter. Grinning and flattered, but disturbed.

Why would they want me for a teen thing? I’m not a teen? And why would I want to do that on a Sunday- that’s when I go horseback riding at the ranch.

Case closed. Whew.

Or so I thought…

What I hadn’t counted on was her brother chiming in. I don’t know why I hadn’t counted on it…he’s always right there with us and NO ONE and I mean NO ONE cares more about his sister than big brother.

Hala, listen to me…I really don’t want you to be famous like that…ok? I’m serious.

Ok Jack, I won’t.

No, really. I mean it. That’s not how you should be famous. You are too smart.

I know I am Jack!

I know you are too.

Suddenly I was the fly on the wall witnessing one of the most touching and amazing exchanging in sibling history.

I wouldn’t do that anyway, ok?

I didn’t say you would. I’m just making sure.

Can you move over now? Because you’re in the way of the game and I can’t see my guy and he’s about to PWN you.

MOM! She just totally blew up my whole new rover I built!

Pauses a beat.

That was kind of cool.

…and all was right with the world.

This morning before school as they begged to skip breakfast in favor of more iPad time

The State of My Union

As I am sure you have noticed, I’ve stayed away from blogging my usual political rhetoric as I battle Lupus. I’ve done this for a few reasons, not the least of which is I get very passionate about politics and it gets me worked up. It’s hard to rest and recover when you are screaming at your television screen.

But I’ve realize something as I’ve sat on the sidelines, that I have known all along…
…politics is personal, and there is no escaping it.

Tonight the President will give his State of the Union address, and I am jumping back into my punditry and commentary. Not because I want my Lupus to flare worse, and not because I feel compelled to give you my take on whatever tonight’s hot button issue will become…but because I have realized nearly everything hitting the news cycle directly affects my life.

Health care reform. Violent political rhetoric. These are issues literally banging down my front door. Jobs, benefits, and the President’s new priority: education. These are issues I am dealing with every single day as an American citizen, mother, patient, blogger, and victim.

People can talk all they want about it just being ‘DC’ or it just being all hot air and men in suits…but when those suits decide the fate of things like ‘pre-existing conditions,’ ‘mortgage overhaul,’ charter school status, and motivate mentally disturbed people to shoot a Congresswoman and threaten my family…well, the term ‘just politics’ no longer seems to apply.

It’s personal. It always has been. And it always will be.

You can follow my State of the Union commentary tonight on BlogHer Chatter and Twitter.

An Open Letter To MommyBloggers

Back in 2006, as the PR companies started circling and the world was just starting to catch on to this ‘Mommyblogging’ phenomenon, I very clumsily attempted to tell Heather Armstrong the A-listers were hurting my feelings.

Of course this was at BlogHer con, and I was tipsy, so it came out very awkward and bitchy. I had heard grumblings of the cool kids’ club. I had heard complaints that all these new Mombloggers were just copycats. I wanted to know if the community I shoved myself into was, in fact, real and supportive.

Heather was, of course, gracious and understanding. She didn’t feel that way at all, she loves this community, and so on and so forth.

I felt better.

Flash forward to 2008 and BlogHer con just around the corner. I’m watching some high profile names make some pretty hefty accusations and some new and eager bloggers scratch their heads, fight back, and even second guess this amazing community.

The good thing about us bloggers, is we talk. We comment, we discuss, we post. Communicate. Sometimes we over-communicate…but at least it’s out there.

With the rise of Mommyblogging has come growing pains, competition, traffic, ad money, the works. It’s exciting and it’s frustrating. There are no longer thousands of us, there are millions and we have influence and reach.

What we can not stand to lose, is the community.

It is what makes us. It is what drives us. It is the entire reason we are who we are. There will always be flamewars and snarking and back channel chatter about who did what to whom. Human nature. But what is new is the megaphone’s power.

I learned this the hard way. I am one of the megaphone’s biggest abusers.

Like it or not, you are now widely read and widely heard. Like it or not, it comes with responsibility. Trust me, I’m the last person to like the responsibility part of it all.

Not too long ago a few entrepreneurs I know bickered over some ventures. One thought the other was copying, the other thought he was making it his own. The analogy that came up: it was like McDonalds getting mad Burger King had come to town and set up shop across the street.

I think that is a fair analogy here. McDonalds is mad Burger King is making hamburgers. However, as we all know, no one has the monopoly on hamburgers.

No one has a monopoly on snarky parentblogging either. Or the name ‘Queen’ or even who gets to be loudest at any given moment. I may protect my ‘business’ but I certainly can’t hate that someone wants to be the Pepsi to my Coke.

What we DO have a monopoly on is community. We own this one, outright. All of us. Not one of us is more of a rockstar than the other, and we all take inspiration from each other. MORE importantly, we all RELY on each other. We all know why we are involved in this blogging/twitter/fill-in-the-blank-social-media-service-here: it’s the support, the advice, the friendship.

As I have watched other communities get into pissing matches, it strikes me how much we may be traveling down that road.

Fame and fortune bring trainwrecks I guess. I’d like to see us remain the ‘closest knit community online.’

Because in case you hadn’t noticed, the world is watching.

Twitter Wake

I feel like I am kneeling at the deathbed of a loved one and whispering.

You were always so good to me

I love you

I’m sorry

Thanks for introducing me to all the jerks in Silicon Valley

Thanks for all the late nights fighting about politics

Thanks for being you

While I am hoping for a miracle cure, I am afraid they will soon send me the papers to have the plug pulled.

I’ve been using Friend Feed and Summize much more. I’ve been traveling to just SEE these people I know and love.

I don’t want to be calling everyone after your death and have them all be upset they didn’t get a chance to say good bye, or share their favorite memories. So I hope all my @friends leave their fond and fuzzy and funny Twitter moments here.

And really, if you do pull through- we’ll have a big party. A HUGE PARTY where we burn the Fail Whale and DM until dawn.



Save the Skeet!*

I got a Wii for Mother’s Day. Not a spa day. Not flowers. I DID get chocolate.

Chocolate and a Wii.

Exactly what I wanted.

While we have been playing tennis and driving Mario around goofy worlds and generally having a blast as a family, one game stopped me in my tracks.

Skeet Shooting.

Stupid. I know.

I played duck hunt as a kid. I remember the “X”s over the dead duck’s eyes. I think there was a dog. He was cute.

But I have issues with my kids shooting and playing with guns for ‘fun.’

It’s one of the things my husband and I really don’t agree on. Well, we agree to a degree, but not entirely. He’s fine with  skeet shooting. Didn’t even blink when I said ‘should we let the 5-year old skeet shoot on Wii?’

Thoughts in my head included -is it only skeet? Will he then want to shoot everything? Do I have to talk (again) about shooting and guns and safety and danger…because I am tired and I really don’t know if I have the energy RIGHT NOW to do this simply because I’m letting him play on the Wii.

Let it be know, so you are not confused and can yell at my hippie, liberal, California ass properly : I hate guns.

I hate them.

I am not from a family that hunts. I am not from a family that had a gun at home. I am not a fan.

I have had a gun held to my head.

I. Hate. Guns.

However (and this is a big however) my husband is from a family that hunts. He has attempted to convince me that shooting out back with Grandpa is an entirely acceptable past-time when we take the kids to visit the in-laws.

As you can imagine, this makes me not want to take the kids to visit the in-laws. Ever.

Of course I am not insane (mostly) and will compromise on some basic things. I’ve grilled my father-in-law as to the location and security of every gun he owns or every gun that is anywhere within 1 mile of my children.

I’ve conceded that I can see the benefit of teaching the children (I say that on purpose, because only my son is ever discussed when ‘shooting’ comes up and I think both kids need to be included) gun safety.

I have agreed that when it is age appropriate that whole ‘grandpa can teach you about guns’ thing can occur.

Then I mutter under my breath about how wrong it all seems to give a kid a gun, even if I agree education is necessary.

I’ve never allowed toy guns at home. NOT because I’m some crazy lunatic who thinks my kids will grow up violent having played with a toy gun-but because I know full well my kids will figure out guns and what they do in their own time. I am not going to speed up this process and encourage the ‘let’s run around and pretend to kill eachother’ game.

My son already turns sticks into guns. My son already talks about guns and shooting bad guys. He got there entirely on his own having never had a toy gun at home. Why would I have voluntarily given him one at 2 or 3-years old to encourage or speed up the process?

Which brings me back to the Wii.

In the end, we shot some skeet with our controllers. And my son took way too much pride in ‘accidentally’ nailing a duck.

However, he got very upset when his sister ‘accidentally’ shot a photo of his Mii (or avatar) smiling on one of the discs.

“Mom,” he said. “If that was real I would be dead. And I don’t want to be dead. Let’s play something else.”

Victory. Maybe.

*post title by Lee Stranahan, after we discussed the Wii Skeet issue on Twitter.com 

Sunday Inquisition with Queen of Spain LIVE

Starting at 7pm PDT and going…Gawd knows how long..We’re going to try Ustream tonight, since we keep crashing Stickam and YahooLive won’t let us moderate like we want…

You can join the fun here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/queenofspain

Tonight’s Guests include Tara Anderson (@tarable) of Lijit, Baratunde Thurston* (@baratunde) of Jack and Jill Politics and Good Crime Think, and Zik Daniel (@ZIK). Which means we’ll be talking widgets and badges and CRAP for the blogs-and why Lijit might be the only one you really need. Tara can also move us into the political discussion nicely as her MOM IS IN JAIL after a protest. Baratunde and Zik will no doubt get into the entire Rev. Wright FIASCO and don’t be surprised if we see a few guest appearances from some loudmouth tweets!

Since I’ve been hearing a lot of whining lately, tonight’s giveaways will center around your ability to beg and whine. Leave a comment and tell me why you need a Creative Live! IM Pro webcam to register to win, and explain to me why you can’t pick up the phone to order flowers to win a Mother’s Day bouquet from 1800-Flowers.

All other readers get a 15% discount from @mindofandre from 1800-Flowers-comes in handy with Mother’s Day next week!

As always, Lucretia Pruitt (@geekmommy) and Maria Niles (@marianiles) will be rocking things behind the scenes and chiming in-and we just *might* have a special intro with music by R. Corey Oltman (@kingtiger) and the ‘voice of god’ Doug Welch (@dewelch) to kick off Sunday Inquisition!

*Baratunde and I recently hijacked 50cent’s Netvibe’s chat room. We’re sorry in advance if you get shot for hanging out with us tonight.

****discount code for 1800flowers discounts are:

FLOWERS: 15% off any purchase OR MOM8 : $10 off a purchase of $49.99 or more

Balance: I have none

There is nothing like sitting in the pediatrician’s office covered in vomit to knock you back into the real world.

In case you were confused, the ‘real’ world is the one where you make peanut butter and jelly for a sick 3-year old who insists her belly feels great and won’t upchuck Jiff on your couch.

Of course she pukes it and of course this comes after having thrown up all over the doctor’s office, the minivan, and the driveway.

Of course I am stupid for having let her eat the PB&J, but that’s not the point. The point is messy motherhood is a reality.

Messy, pukey, “I can get nothing done because kids have not been in school and I have laundry stacked everywhere and don’t ask me what is for dinner and no I haven’t finished all the thank you notes but hey did you see I BATHED one of two kids AND emptied the dishwasher” kind of reality.

I can’t do it all. I want to do it all. I TRY to do it all. However, I can’t do it all.

And with that in mind (snort) I’m going to be speaking at New Communications Forum in Sonoma Wednesday and Thursday. Because one session isn’t enough.

The only reason I will have clean clothes for this event is because my husband did the laundry. The only reason I’m ready for my sessions is because she helped with slides.

I’ll hook up the webcam a few times and pull over some guests for you to harass. Any suggestions?

…and did I mention I will be covering the PA primary from a hotel room. SIGH. I do see light at the end of the tunnel though, and it’s just down the way a bit…I think…I’m squinting…it’s there…really