A Day In The Life

I had an entire post written this morning about how hard it is to work from home. It was complete with video of the kids interrupting me 40 times and me hitting mute on my conference call so professionals couldn’t hear iCarly in the background.

I scrapped it. Gone. Deleted.

Because sometimes I need to quit bitching and realize how lucky I am.

My office isn’t that bad afterall-


This 4th of July, We’re All Patriots

In anticipation of the holiday, this is crossposted at BlogHer.com

Patriot: A patriot is someone who thinks, feels or voices expressions of patriotism, support for their country. – Wikipedia

Depending on how you slice it, this definition of patriot either makes me the worst American ever, or one of it’s greatest patriots. It’s a toss up.

Which is probably why this 4th of July, we political types will spend too much time on our soapboxes trying to out-patriot the other.

My dissent is the height of patriotism for our country!

You don’t support our troops, you can’t be a patriot!

You don’t support our President! That’s unpatriotic!

You ignore the health care crisis, that’s unpatriotic!

But teaparties are the most patriotic thing you can do!

And so on. And so forth until we’re all donning our red, white, and blue clothing, painting our faces with stars and stripes and seeing who’s flag outside of who’s house is the biggest. Even making sure others know that we consider ourselves patriots.

As someone who’s patriotism has been called “fake” and “impossible” I know from where I speak. Just the other day on Twitter I was asked to prove  my support of the troops and asked to prove who in my family has served. Apparently to the person questioning me, my patriotism revolved around the military.

I rolled my eyes.

To others, it revolves around voting. And to others it revolves around flying your flag on a holiday and a BBQ. To some of us, it’s showing support for troops.

Let’s face it, none of us own the monopoly on patriotism. As Americans, we support our country in different ways.

I feel I support my country by being vigilant on holding our leaders accountable. ALL our leaders. I also feel I support my country by using the rights given to me- freedom of speech, for one.

I also feel it’s patriotic to help our fellow countrymen and women. This is a point of contention with myself and the other side. I call it help, they call it a hand out. I call it common decency, they call it unnecessary taxes.

Which is why I get confused over these ridiculous fights over “patriotism.”

Just Heather pointed me to one of her posts from 2006 that sums up a lot of my patriotic feelings.

“I definitely don’t need to see those planes fly into the towers yet again to see it clearly in my head. I remember it all vividly. But what I choose to remember most is how everyone came together. I remember the initial shock that it was anything other than a terribly tragic accident.

I remember the feeling of helplessness, wishing there were something—anything—I could do. I remember dashing around the house, emptying pantries, filling boxes, and stuffing bags once I found out a location nearby was collecting items for affected families.

I remember the tears in my little one’s eyes when we were done unloading the car—because she wasn’t done helping. I remember the elation she felt when I told her she could gather up any money in the car and donate it too.

I remember the normally intense homecoming float competition at my high school being abandoned. I remember the United We Stand float the classes created together, donating the remaining funds to the 9/11 families.”

BOTH sides of the aisle point to America post 9-11, those days just after, as the height of our Patriotism. Not because we were dissenting, not because we were sending care packages to troops, not because we were flying flags…but because we were HELPING EACHOTHER.

So if the true feeling and definition of patriotism is helping your fellow countryman or woman- what are you doing this 4th of July to be patriotic?

What is patriotism to you? And how are you celebrating the day? Leave me a comment or link to your thoughts on what has become a political football.

And don’t forget to wear your flagpin.

Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog and is frequently called a traitor to her country.

BlogHer Birth Stories – Or, How I Suck At Being Pregnant

I should be dead.

If this were any other time in history, I should not and would not have survived both my pregnancies or deliveries.

Because of that, I have agreed to participate in Discovery Health’s Baby Week, which you can watch June 14-19th at 8 pm E/P on Discover Health.

Why share my labor and delivery stories? Easy…because I know I am not alone. My two children would not be here if it were not for an amazing team of doctors and nurses and the advancement of medical science.

You see, I suck at being pregnant. No really, I’m terrible at it.

I don’t mean terrible in that I whine a lot and crave pickles…I mean terrible in that my body absolutely hates being pregnant. So much so, that it revolts and tries to kill me and the baby.

I would be one of those women who died in childbirth way back when. The covered wagons would have moved on after burying me along the trail.

From the moment I found out I was having a baby, I began to vomit. Both pregnancies. Both times around. And not in that cute “oh she has morning sickness, must be a boy (or girl, depending on your favorite aunt’s superstition)” kind of way…but in the “I lost 22 lbs and had to be put on heavy drugs” sort of way.

I threw up in my purse. I threw up in my car. I threw up in elevators. I threw up at stores. I even threw up at a hockey game. And once I almost threw up on the Governor of California as I was conducting an interview.

Once I got past the puking, somewhere around the end of the 2nd trimester, I went into labor.

Way too early. With both pregnancies. Yes, both times.

I had contractions. I began to dilate. And just for an added bonus, my amniotic fluid was low.

With both pregnancies. Yes, both times.

So it was deemed necessary once we STOPPED labor, that I lay flat on my back for the remainder of each pregnancy with a monitor strapped across my very, very large belly.

Something I am guessing was not possible in those covered wagon days.

And I then continued to labor, under the guidance of a dial up modem and remote nurse, for several months.

That’s right- contractions and labor for SEVERAL MONTHS.

When it finally came time to let the labor take it’s course, we had another problem (did I mention how bad I SUCK at this whole pregnancy thing?) – my first child was breech, and with low fluid he could not be turned. He also thought it would be fun, you know for added drama, to get the cord wrapped around himself a few times.

So on a gray March morning my husband and I headed to the hospital, knowing this child would not be a natural delivery and expecting just about anything, considering the way things had gone thus far.

But here is where that “amazing thing about life” part comes in…on March 24th, 2003 at 7:52 in the morning, doctors performed a c-section and pulled out a perfect baby boy.

I think we were stunned that not only had the operation gone smoothly, with zero complications, but that mom and baby were healthy.

There I was, laying cut open on a table, after laying for months upon months in my bed, and it worked. It actually worked. I had a healthy, full-term child.

As for my daughter, born nearly exactly two years later? She came with more drama. Same puking pregnancy. Same bedrest tale. Preterm labor. Low fluid.

But my sassy girl? She decided to NOT wait or let the drugs to stop the contractions work. No, she decided it was her time on March 30th, 2005 at 6:39pm.

Now, that 6:39pm is important. Note that time.

We live in a suburb of Los Angeles. And my contractions began that day around 3pm. I was in a hospital bed at 3:15pm, and by 445pm – PEAK RUSH HOUR- my doctor ordered an emergency c-section as my little peanut’s heart rate dipped and dove.

When the c-section was ordered, I made the call to my husband. 30 miles away in Los Angeles, PEAK RUSH HOUR, traffic. For those who don’t know, that is easily a one hour long commute. One and a half during peak rush hour.

Scared for my daughter’s life, I was resigned to the fact he would miss her birth.

I was wheeled into the OR, prepped for surgery, and placed on the operating table. More scared than upset, I tried not to think about it. After all, he’d have a lifetime with her. I hoped.

At 6:38 my husband entered the OR. The doctor said “cut now” at 6:39pm.

Another healthy child and mom. And a big brother at home anxious to meet his new sister.

I encourage you to go take a look at Discovery Health’s Baby Week – and share your birth story. We’ve come together as parents to discuss what we did during pregnancy and after our children arrived…but it’s rare we talk about how they got here.

I totally would not want to meet these two in a dark alley


Crashing The Tea Party

Fox News thinks ACORN is going to crash conservative Tea Parties…perhaps they haven’t met my daughter and I?

Crashing The Tea Parties>

We’re holding our own Tea Party.

In case you missed it, “anti-tax” protesters are gathering across the country this April 15th to throw “tea parties” to show their…well, it’s unclear. Stefania from MOMOcrats calls it it a tantrum,

“We’ve been puzzling over this tea party concept ever since we’ve heard about it. From what we can figure Conservatives across the country are holding parties to protest being ‘Taxed Enough Already’ (get it?) among other things. This despite the fact that President Obama has just passed the largest middle class tax cut in history. Remember during the campaign how the GOP was telling everyone that Obama would raise your taxes? Makes you wonder if Republicans 1) ever read Obama’s proposed tax policy and 2) ever read the news.”

Jane Hamsher has a more detailed round-up on how all this tea party business got started. With “business” being the key word,

“Why all the effort to distance themselves (Fox News) from the teabaggers? It’s obvious they are integrally involved — Fox has given them millions in free publicity, despite the fact that there’s no evidence of ‘ratings gold’ here. Four of their biggest stars will be appearing at the rallies, Fox Nation will be hosting a ‘virtual tea party,’Glenn Beck is holding a $500 a plate fundraiser for them and Fox has been officially promoting the entire affair as the FNC Tax Day Tea Parties…Maybe they’re afraid that if people knew that those behind the demonstrations were the very same lobbyists and influence peddlers the teabaggers claim to decry, the whole thing would be revealed to be what it is — a hollow excercise in extremist right-wing hypocrisy.”

Confused yet? Teablogging.net also breaks down the Tea Party fun,

“Who is behind the Teabags Across America movement? Well, fuck if we know. But here are a few of the Founding Fathers:

Obvs we all know about CNBC “journalist” Rick Santelli, who got the ball (heh) rolling back in February when he sort of went apeshit on the air and then all the kids watched it on the YouTube, for laffs.

Next we heard, American Spectator boy wonder Managing Editor and known anti-twittite J. Peter Freire tweeted the idea of having a “New American Tea Party,” you know, for principles.

WHOA BUT WAIT. Next thing you know, new media genius Michael Patrick Leahy is just goin cold nuts about liberty and stuff. So now HE is in charge.

And then, because nothing says “grassroots” like “big money lobbyists,” our friends at FreedomWorks got in on the act! AND THEY MADE SHIRTS.

But you know it’s really not a conservative movement until the American Family Association signs on, and sign on they did.”

So where does that leave us? April 15th will be filled with extremists, anti-Obama-ites, GOP/RNC opportunists, lobbyist, plenty of t-shirt sales, anti-union groups, and according to Firedoglake white supremacists and xenophobic anti-immigrant groups.

Wow. Quiet the gathering.

Then there are those holding virtual tea parties like Technosailor.com‘s Aaron Brazell, who says he wants nothing to do with the extremists,

“…don’t bring me into extraneous issues. My ‘teaparty’ is only focused on taxcode/system. Non-partisan.”

Unfortunately that core message isn’t getting through. It seems  just about everyone has caught on to the double entendre with the Tea Party rhetoric in which participants have been encouraged to “tea bag” the White House, or “tea bag” their Congressman.

I’ll give you a second to go look it up on Urban Dictionary.

The giggles and snickers have spread to cable news and beyond, resulting in Tea Parties not being taken seriously.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Which leaves me exactly where I started, spending April 15th having a tea party with my daughter. The 4-year old won’t give me spin, lobbyists, white supremacists, or tax-cut rhetoric. No, all I will get from her is a little sugar.

crossposted at BlogHer.com



They are 6 and 4 now. Sigh

And a fun time was had by all.

All photos by Gregg Gallagher, who rocks.

I’m in Denver

I just finished interviewing Valerie Jarrett, top advisor to the Obama campaign. She was CONFIDENT in Senator Hillary Clinton’s speech tonight and it’s message of unity.

We shall see.

We’re currently uploading video of my interview with Ms. Jarrett to YouTube, watch for it at BlogHer.com. Meantime, I’m off to go see the Senator from New York herself at a WomenCount.org luncheon.

Then I’m headed to the CNN grill. Keep your eyes peeled on BlogHer!