Are you going to BlogHer? Cuz I'm not.

I’m trying (very hard) not to feel too bad about going to BlogHer this year.  I’ve known for a while that going this year was pretty much out of the question.  Short of a completely free trip (RIGHT), there was no way I could feasibly go.  And it’s not just the money thing.  We’re going on that big cruise/Disney World/extravaganza just weeks after BlogHer is scheduled and that’s an awful lot of traveling.  So yeah, if a fully comped deal had landed in my lap, I could make it work.  Since the last time I checked such things do not exist, I am not making it work.  I’m not going.

I made no secret that last year’s BlogHer was a little… less.  It was very, very, VERY hard to go with the family.  Even with Harry staying with my parents, having to deal with Evie made it VERY hard.  And while the day care set up was awesome (SERIOUSLY, if you are thinking of going with a child, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT.  The people there were awesome and Liam had a great time), it had limitations.  Mostly in that at 5-5:30 or so, day care was over and it’s hard to go to night clubs with two year olds.  I think I was in bed by 8 that night, my heart sick with stress and frustration.  The next problem was parking.  And check out.  Sure, we could have solved that by paying for an extra day of parking and an extra night at the hotel.  But we are notorious cheapskates.  We had to be back in San Jose on Saturday to celebrate my dad’s birthday and why pay for another hotel night when we wouldn’t stay there?  And the parking was outrageously expensive and paying a whole day for just a few more hours just didn’t jive with my practical side.  So by checking out by noon, we lost a place for me to go and nurse Evie and rest and have downtime (the nursing room provided was small, filled with uncomfortable chairs and cold as heck), and we lost a place to put all our stuff.  Kile had suggested moving the van to a place down the street where he could pay to park it for a few hours and we could keep our stuff in there.  But, heart-sick again, I gave up.  The Gods had deemed the whole thing a loss.  So we left at lunch.

Even now, writing that out, I still feel so incredibly sad about how it all ended up.  No ones fault, to be sure (except maybe my own).  But still so sad.  It was just hard to manage with kids.

If I had gone this year, it would probably be by myself, sans children.  Which is awfully optimistic of myself because even though Evie is closing in on her first birthday, she shows no sign of wanting to wean and still rejects virtually every other method of liquid intake available.  So even if I took Evie with me and put her in day care, I’d need to go feed her or whatever.  Which, yeah, I could make it work.

But the point is: I’m not.  I’m not going.  It feels weird to admit that since I have gone for three years now.  I’m going to miss some fabulous ladies this year.  So you’ll have to forgive me if I avoid all discussions about BlogHer.  If I roll my eyes at mentions of roommates, parties, sessions and swag.  If I stick my fingers in my ears and go “LALALALAICAN’THEARYOULALALA”.  It’s nothing personal and it’s just me being a little bitter.  (Save me some swag, please?  I’ll be your best friend!)

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Oh, grow up already

So we’ve already established that Marilyn (which is me, I’m talking about myself in the third person, apparently) is in something of a mood this week.  But even if I weren’t, I would probably STILL write this post which is why I’m going to go ahead and publish it, even if it does push the boundaries of the sort of cattiness I prefer to talk about on my blog.

I guess my point here is: There are a LOT of whiners out there.

Honestly, I think BlogHer is almost just an excuse at this point.  These are feelings that course through the community in general and the mommy blogging community in particular all year long.  The jealousy, the bitterness, the snarking and complaining.  And I am SO SICK OF IT.

Let it be known that I am most definitely NOT a member of the “a-list” (whatever the heck that even MEANS).  I never have been, my entire life.  Shoot, according to that one website, my blog is “c-list”.  So it’s not like I’m sitting up here on some magical perch looking down on the minions or anything.  Growing up, I was never at the “bottom of the pack” but neither was I ever at the top either.  I always had a solid group of friends and was pretty content with my status.  GEE, kinda like I am now, huh?

What I’m sick of most is the people who are complaining who didn’t even GO TO BLOGHER.  But they’re blaming not going on… what… that they don’t think the a-list will like them?  WTF?  Or that they feel like the conference is one big “clique” (it’s called a spell-check, ya’ll) and they’ll be hopelessly on the outs.  OH PLEASE.  Feeling this way is one thing, but whining about it on your blog is another.  Then there’s whining about it on your blog and then inviting the “a-list” over so you can, what, get traffic?  Or something?  WTF??

What you perceive as a clique might actually be a group of friends who are happy to see one another after an entire year has passed and they are excited to spend time with each other over the course of a two-day conference.  Just because they are “a-list” doesn’t mean they don’t have their own group of friends.  They don’t HAVE to want to hang out with you.  That’s what doesn’t make sense to me.  We can’t get on these bloggers for not spreading themselves around when we do the same thing with our own little groups of friends.  No one is trying to make anyone else feel bad.  Which means one thing:  If you feel bad it’s pretty much due to your own insecurities.  Sorry to have to break it to ya.

I think T at Send Chocolate said it best in her post from earlier today:

I guess what I am trying to say is that there were over a thousand women attending BlogHer. And you couldn’t find anyone to connect with? Really? Or you just couldn’t be part of the A Crowd, and it felt too much like your experiences in high school so you sat in a corner to pout? If I see one more post that compares BlogHer to high school or college, I swear, I am going to lose it.

AMEN, sister.  Preach it.  I feel 100% the same way.  SO WHAT if the big names didn’t give you the time of day (did you even try to say hi?)?  SO WHAT if they don’t visit your blog and leave you comments and follow you on Twitter respond to your @ replies.  SO WHAT.  There about a bazillion other blogs out there authored by equally awsome women that you could always fit yourself in with. That’s the way I feel about it.  I don’t go to BlogHer harboring any notions that I’ll sit down for lunch with the Big Wigs.  But I do expect to find a bloggy friend or two, someone I know I can connect with.  And I do expect to meet new people and make new connections.

Some people want it easy.  The fame, the popularity, the respect, the admiration, the traffic, the money… Being friends with the “a-list” is a fast pass to that kind of life, isn’t it?  It just doesn’t work that way.  I don’t know why some bloggers are “popular” and some aren’t.  I imagine a lot of these “a-listers” would tell you the same thing.  They don’t really KNOW why they’re popular.  You can’t always say it’s because they’re good writers because there are plenty of awesome writers out there who haven’t been discovered.  You can’t always say it’s because they’re friends with so-and-so, because someone else is too and no one hardly ever comments on their blog.  It just is what it is.

And really.  WHO REALLY CARES.  We’re all bloggers, and if we’re mommy bloggers then we all have someone’s butt to wipe at the end of the day (and the beginning of the day, and the middle of the day… ).  How about instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you pull yourself out of your Pity Rut and engage in the community.  Find peace with yourself and with your blog and your own little niche of blog friends.  You will be MUCH happier in the end for it.

I think it caught up with me

“You know, last year after BlogHer, I felt this way too.”

“Which way is that?”

“Tired.  Emotional.  Don’t you remember my friends were asking if I was mad at them?”

“Yeah, that’s when that whole mess sorta started, isn’t it?”

“Well, of course, last year it ended up that I was pregnant.  And I always figured that is why I felt that way.  But now I’m wondering if it wasn’t just a typical BlogHer Recovery.  Because, obviously, there’s no way I am pregnant now.”

“It could be your thyroid, too.”

“…”

“Maybe?”

“Uhm… yeah.  You know, it probably IS my thyroid.  That would make a lot of sense, actually.”

***

To make a long, embarassing story at least a short, embarassing story, I haven’t taken my thyroid meds in four months.  Not since Evie was born.  See, about a month before Evie was born, my previous prescription had run out and I knew I was going to need some extras so my obstetritian wrote me a prescription for another month or two, enough to get me through until I could go see my family practitioner.  But then I lost that prescription.  And I didn’t want to go see my family practitioner because I still have guilt. It’s stupid, I know.  But you know how it is when you’re a mom (a new mom, especially).  It’s hard to make time for yourself.

Well, then our health insurance was going to change at the beginning of July.  I figured I would go see a new family practitioner then.  But then Kile had his little incident and plans changed.  Our budget had to be adjusted, and then adjusted again to account for our trip to San Francisco for BlogHer.  So I figured I would wait some more.  I’d already waited that long, why not another month?

***

I’m feeling it now.  I’m exhausted all the time.  I start yawning, often just an hour after I’ve woken up.  I never have any energy to speak of.  I’m sore all over, from my neck to my shoulders to my back to my legs.  My fingernails, of all things, have been changing and getting (there is no better word for it) sicker.  I see myself and besides just being shocked by the sudden shorter haircut (still not used to that), I am horrified by how I look.  My shape seems hulking.  I don’t like what I see.

My smile seems harder to find.  My temper has been short.  It has been a lot easier to find woe than it has been to find a silver lining.  It’s been subtle, but then again, maybe not THAT subtle.  Even now, my stomach hurts, my patience is insanely limited as everything my children is doing is driving me RIGHT UP THE FRIGGIN’ WALL.  That seemed to happen overnight but maybe it didn’t.  Maybe this has been going on, building up, a lot longer than I thought.

My attention is diverted, my inspiration is limited.  My motivation is low.  I feel, I guess, somewhat depressed.  Which is pretty typical of hypothyroid sufferers.

***

I know you’re not supposed to go off of meds.  But I never felt like meds made me feel THAT much better so I figured being off of them wouldn’t make me feel THAT much worse.  My biggest concern was weight gain, to be honest.  But going from 200mcg of levothyroxin to NONE, I guess, is enough to make even my laid-back system sit up and take notice.

I need to make an appointment.  I know I do.  But yet…  I will always be able to find an excuse not to.  Do I really want to explain to a new doctor what the deal is?  What if they think I’m full of crap and don’t believe I have a thyroid problem?  Is there going to be a huge rigamarole to get my old files from the other family practitioner?  Is it going to require me going down there because I don’t think I can do that.  Is that another excuse?

Tune in to see if I actually a) make an appointment and b) keep it.

You Need to Read – July 26

Wow.  Have I ever got links this week.  A great many of these links are various blogger’s BlogHer wrapup posts so if you aren’t interested in those, beware.  But some are not BlogHer themed and are just as awesome.  ANYHOW.  There are easily three times as many links this week as I might normally have.  So if you’re all caught up in your feeds and need something to do?  I’VE GOT YOU COVERED.  Seriously.

  • Welcome from Slackerpapa,  As I mentioned yesterday, Kile is blogging now.  GULP.  So far, he’s really into it.  I actually think it’s pretty cool (if a little freaky) and hope he sticks with it.  Because then maybe he’ll be able to see why I love it so much.  Slackerpapa.  He’s so original.  SNORT.
  • Things I Learned at BlogHer 08 (or, as I like to call it: “Facebook LIVE!”) from Greeblemonkey.  Aimee’s “twitter-style” post of short sentances that present her BlogHer experience was nothing short of brilliant.  I actually, honestly SNORTED when I was laughing, which should say something.
  • Month One: Just Write, Dammit. from Blog Nosh Magazine.  Have I mentioned Blog Nosh yet?  I’m a channel editor for the family channel over there and I’m just so danged honored to be a part of it.  And this post from Megan (fearless leader!) was an awesome reminder to just drop the pretenses and get down to why (most of us at least) we started our blogs: just write!
  • In which I lose my Kool from a little pregnant.  I would have lost my “kool” too.  Who the heck did this woman think she was?  I HATE this kind of attitude when it comes to childbirth.  I’m pretty sure I’ve exhibited this before many times and you all are sick of hearing about.  So you go, Julie.  Rock your repeat c-section self!
  • A Single Syllable from Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.  Oh. My. Heavens.  YES.  I love P-Dub as much as the next gal and I enjoy her folksy humor and awesome photography and drool-worthy food (see below), but every now and then she puts out a post like this one that just SPEAKS.  I do know this syllable and have seen my husband do something similar and it is just heartbreaking.  I hope they find their dog too because I’ve sorta been there and it’s not happy.
  • Cloth Diaper Laundry: Not so scary after all! from Baby Cheapskate.  Hey!  I wrote this!  I was so happy to participate in Baby Cheapskate’s “Cloth Diaper Week” and I hope my little post about laundry helped people realize that it’s REALLY not that difficult.  I’m hardly an “expert” but it works for me and hopefully can work for other people who are looking for information too!
  • i will never learn…and i suffer from the wonk-eye from Cheaper Than Therapy.  I think I kind of love Ali.  That’s all I need to really say about that.  Other than I apparently need to learn the same lesson regarding business cards as she does.
  • Sound Advice and Some Photos from Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper.   I loved her story about the slide (OMG, seriously?  A bar you have to slide into??) and her AMAZING list of links.  I only got to say hi to her in passing, but I kinda wish I could have hung out with her.  And now I have a hankering for Dr. Pepper.
  • Egg-in-a-Hole (See Alternate Names Below) from The Pioneer Woman Cooks! She forgot “Eggs in a frame”.  That’s what we always called them.  My family used to always make this when we went camping and to this day, when I ask that Kile make them for breakfast they always taste like foggy, cool mornings and pine trees and giggling brooks to me.  I love this breakfast, you HAVE to try it.
  • The One Where Some People Will Get Too Disgusted To Ever Return from misszoot.com.  She needn’t worry because I AM EXACTLY THE SAME.  I sit on the toilet seat.  SO THERE.  Anyone else feel the same?  Read this post.
  • Maybe I Am Not The Joiner I Thought I Was? from Sizzle Says.  I pretty much felt exactly the same as Sizzle did about the conference (except I was lacking a PR person… must have one for the next conference).  And can I just say (again) that is freakin’ adorable?  Cuz she is.
  • It might burn from PAPATV.  I met this guy at BlogHer and found him to be pretty awesome.  And his blog?  Even awesomer.  And this post (admitedly like a week old or more)?   AWESOMEST.  I laughed pretty dang hard.
  • I got more and more to do and less and less to prove…. from Running Stitch.  Have I mentioned yet how much I love this woman?  Oh, just about FIVE TIMES this week so far.  What’s one more time?  I thought she not only had some awesome pictures, but some awesome words to sum up this year’s BlogHer.  I love seeing it through her eyes.  And you know?  It WAS beautiful.
  • Because you were hoping for another BlogHer Update Post and I always deliver from Rhi in Pink.  I was so happy to meet Rhi at BlogHer and I loved her post-BlogHer post.  I only wish we could have found more time to hang out because I think she and I are very much on the same wavelength.
  • Who do you think you are? from Rancid Raves.  I also love this woman.  And her BlogHer summation was fantastic in a way that I’ve just come to expect from her.  Plus, I totally agree with her about the bringing the baby to BlogHer part.  Mine wasn’t teething but she may as well have been.  Babies?  They crimp our style.
  • The Princess & the Pantyhose (aka Blogher ’08) from amalah . com.  Can you believe I don’t think I even SAW Amy at BlogHer this year?  For shame.  (Of course, if I had I would have been far too shy to introduce myself.)  Once again, she has charmed me with her particular brand of storytelling and while I wasn’t able to experience a lot that she did (aka The Macy’s Party), I can see it through her eyes.  Awesome.
  • BlogHer ‘08 Part I: A preemptive strike from loraleeslooneytunes.com.  I don’t have to tell you all that I love Loralee because you know by now that I do.  But I haven’t told you that I love this post.  She, rather successfully I thought, shows us that we all have these awkward feelings when going to BlogHer.  We are ALL in the same boat.
  • BlogHer 08: The beginning, middle, but not so much the end from Mom-101.  I loved her words about the community keynote because I felt exactly the same about it.  SO amazingly inspiring.
  • CheeseburgHer 08 from Suburban Turmoil.  OMG, I can’t believe I missed the Cheeseburger Party AGAIN.  Next year, I SWEAR.  I loved the re-telling of it though and the pictures are PRICELESS.  Who knew a couple of sacks of McDonald’s Cheeseburgers would equal SO MUCH FUN?  (Watch, next year friggin’ Micky D’s themselves will be sponsoring this bad boy.)
  • The Best of BlogHer 2008 Awards from Motherhood Uncensored.  I loved Kristen’s “Unofficial” awards here, particularly the award for best swag as that was a big hit around here too.  I hope to see these awards next year too (you hear that Kristen?  Now you have to do this EVERY YEAR).
  • Spoiled, Not Stupid from Queen of Spain Blog.  Erin often makes me want to pump my fist.  I don’t always agree with her, but there is almost always a lovely grain of TRUTH to what she’s saying.  Maybe we should request more?  Or should I be happy with what I get?  Good questions.
  • The Fool-Proof Friend-Making Strategy from Mandajuice.  Making friends while being a mom is freaking IMPOSSIBLE.  I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.  She gives some great strategies here.
  • The Heather Armstrong Experience from EmilyPie…For Realz, Yo.  Reno, represent!  Until I found Emily, I thought I was quite possibly one of the only bloggers in Reno.  At least, the only one who is found in this particular circle of female bloggers.  So reading her post about wanting to go to BlogHer and hoping to meet Dooce and then meeting her and getting a picture?  Made me all kinds of happy for her.
  • jealousy, envy and bitterness. WHEE! from moosh in indy.  I gotta love the pictures of Casey busting a move on the dance floor.  And for the most part, what she says is true.  If you don’t have fun at BlogHer, it’s pretty much your own fault.  But in a nice way, of course.

I’ve heard some really nice things said about my links list and I thank each and every one of you for coming back, week after week, and checking out these awesome links that I pull together.  It means so much to me.  Anywho.  I’ve got a bunch of people who are hassling me to get out the door for a day of shopping so I guess I’d better get going.  Have FANTASTIC weekends, everyone!

BlogHer 08: And that's all I have to say about that

This is the LAST BLOGHER POST! (everyone who was unable to attend cheers) (even those who were able to attend are cheering because DUDE, enough already) I’m just going to clear up some odds and ends.  And then we can be on our way.  (Well, this is a damn, dirty lie because my YNTR post tomorrow will heavily feature post-BlogHer posts, but at least they won’t be MY post-BlogHer posts!)

Okay, I want to talk a little about my session.  This is the first time I’ve done a panel-type session and you know what?  Kinda fun.  Seriously!  I actually kind of enjoyed being a part of it.  It didn’t feel so much like speaking as it did leading a group discussion.  I kind of got into that.  The only bad part was losing half our audience before it was all said and done.  We started out with a pretty packed room which was VERY COOL.  I was excited!  And before the time was up, we’d lost a good half of those people.  I guess we weren’t exciting after all.  Which, you know, is okay.  Elisa herself had encouraged people to not be afraid to leave and find sessions that DO speak to them.  But on the other hand, this is a session led by INTROVERTS.  And I replayed all those people standing up and walking out in my head a good 50 times that weekend.  Was it something I said?  Do I offend?

All I want to say about drama is this: You cannot go to an event like BlogHer with sky-high expectations.  If you read nothing but “a-list” bloggers and you have dreams of going there and becoming their BFFs, well, you’re probably going to walk away disappointed.  Yes, even if they have responded to your comments or whathaveyou.  Because they’re going to be busy (as we all are at BlogHer) and they’re also shy like a lot of us are and I don’t know about you, but giant free-for-alls like this wear me the heck out.  And I’m NOT under a spotlight.  Doesn’t excuse out and out rude behavior but I didn’t hear of TOO many stories like that this year, thankfully.  It’s best to go in with the expectation that you want to meet up with people who you read who also read you and connect with you and with the hopes of meeting new people.  Because BlogHer is FABULOUS for meeting new people.

Also: Some people will look for drama even where there isn’t really any.  That’s just the nature of the beast sometimes.  People like to rubber-neck.  So sometimes we are the community’s own worst enemy.  We need to knock that off, seriously.  It’s not doing anyone any favors.

All in all, I had a great time.  Next year I want to do some things different (don’t I say this every year??):

  • I want to go SANS KIDS.  No children.  Nadda.  NONE.
  • I want to room together with a bunch of buddies so we can stay up late braiding hair.  Or drinking at parties.  Or, heck, both.  Think of the money savings too!
  • I want to stay an extra day or two (or three).  I want to be there the day before for any pre-parties and I want to be there the day AFTER, to decompress and sight-see.  I’m talking four nights in the hotel.  I don’t want to feel rushed.  I want to soak it all in, damnit.
  • I want to make GINORMOUS efforts to meet people that I decide beforehand I want to meet.  Mrs. Flinger and Jennifer?  THAT MEANS YOU.  Among others.
  • I want to take so many pictures that it literally makes my flickr account WEEP.
  • I want to go to several parties.  I want to have alcohol at some of these parties (if not all).  I most especially want to go to a CheeseburgHer party as I have now missed it TWO YEARS IN A ROW.  And those cheeseburgers look yummy.

I think that covers it.  Now, let us never speak of it again.  Until next year, of course.

***

In other news: OMG, my husband has started a blog.  A daddy blog, of sorts.  I think.  Though he has yet to mention our actual CHILDREN, but whatever.  (Who am I to talk?  How often do I talk about the kids, really?)  Anyhow, I think he got a look at all the fun we had at BlogHer this year (and all the guys who were there getting all the attention) and decided he wanted a piece of that pie.  Whatever his reasoning, stop by and say, “Whatup, yo?”

BlogHer 08: Oh. My. Stars. The LINKS.

I hope you all enjoyed the virtual landslide of photos I had from BlogHer this year (*cough*).  I’m really rather upset with myself that I didn’t take more.  But it was SO hard to do anything when I had Evie with me besides just deal with Evie.  See, looking back, it would have totally rocked to have had a personal handler with me the entire weekend.  Someone to help me deal with Evie, to bounce her when she was fussy and work their voodoo on her, make her calm down.  I could have handed Evie off to said personal handler and maybe even taken my laptop out.  Shoot, forget the laptop, I could have actually gone to sessions!  But if I had had this mythical other pair of hands, I could have also taken out my camera and taken pictures.

Oh, hindsight.  Why are you always so clear?

Business cards!

Anyhow, the point of this post is to highlight everyone that I got a totally awesome business card from.  I have a respectable pile (as you can see), but I wanted MORE.  Next year, I SWEAR.

  • We’ve got a beautifully designed card from Christine at watchmenowatchme.com.  I didn’t know her before BlogHer, but after a lunchtime interlude where we got to watch her bitch out her bank on the phone, I feel as if we’re bonded somehow.  She truly was a cool gal and I’m totally stalking her now.
  • Then there is Dawn from kaiseralex.com.  Like Christine, I didn’t know her before BlogHer but I know her now and I think she’s pretty spectacular (and not just cuz of the bewbs on her card).
  • I have an adorable little card for Carly of andsosheblogs.com.  I knew her beforehand, even met her at last year’s conference but I was so glad to spend some extra time with her this year.  She is truly a wonderful, beautiful gal.
  • I also got to meet Mary Ostyn from Owl Haven.  She is one of the people who says she recognizes me (or rather, my blog) and I get all bashful-like.  Shucks.
  • I got to briefly meet Minnie from screamything.com and thankyoufornotbeingperky.com.  She was absolutely beautiful.  What is with all the beautiful women at BlogHer?
  • I also ran into Fausta at BlogHer and got her card which went into my pocket and got totally wrinkled up but I flattened it as best I could because I like order that way.
  • Who can forget the incomparable Loralee of Loralee’s Looney Tunes?  Everyone is talking about her, post-BlogHer.  I’d say she was a hit.  And you know what?  She was even MORE wonderful in person than she is online.  Which is quite a feat, mind you.  LOVE HER.
  • I met Christine (aka YoungMommy) from From Dates to Diapers and almost didn’t realize it was her at first.  And she?  IS BEAUTIFUL.  Why I’m surprised at this point, I don’t know.  But also a total sweetheart.
  • I have the most adorable card from Sizzle and can I just say she is STUNNING in person?  And I can tell she’s the sort of gal that everyone must love to be around.  She’s got a gorgeous smile and she seemed to be everywhere at this conference.
  • Of course, I have an adorable pink card from Rhi in Pink.  She was absolutely awesome to me at the conference and even gave me a pair of pink sneakers (I wear them all the time now).  I’m proud to share Mini Owen with her.
  • I even managed to score a card from Megan from Velveteen Mind (who is just such a sweet and lovely woman in person, even moreso than on her blog).  She had a lot of balls in the air this conference and she seemed to handle them with the utmost grace.  I want to be her when I grow up.
  • Another absoutely gorgeous woman, Stephanie from metropolitanmama.net.  If I’m remembering correctly, she sat at my table at one point and I had to make a point not to stare because she was seriously GORGEOUS.
  • I got the cutest little card from Nicole from Apron Strings Aflutter.  I didn’t know her or her blog before, but I’m definitely checking it out now.  And that is the power of a sweet woman and a cute card at BlogHer.
  • I met, thanks to Carly and Rhi, Sallie Boorman of APCO Worldwide at our table (I think it was breakfast?).  She was so sweet and so pretty (are you sensing a theme here?) and so not one of the Evil PR People you always hear about.  She truly was a fabulous person.
  • Speaking of PR and Sponsors, I also talked to Shannon at the Sprout booth and she was so sweet.  Sometimes these conversations can feel so manufactured, but I got the feeling this gal and her co-workers were nothing but genuine.  SO SWEET.  AND SO PRETTY.  (and I totally want Sprout now)
  • On Day 1, at breakfast, I met Julia from idealist.org, where she’s a community outreach coordinator and blog manager.  She was very apologetic about her corporate card and made sure to jot down her NYC blog on there as well.  I’ll definitely be checkign her out, she was a super nice gal.
  • I got an adorable bookmark from a lovely gal known as “Sugar” (how sweet is that!  pun is TOTALLY intended, btw) for her blog Living… In Theory.  She was seriously a darling gal and (do I even have to say it?) totally gorgeous.
  • I scored a card from the fabulous Michelle Mitchell of Scribbit.  She is seriously stunning in person, with her blonde hair and tallness and just simply oozing grace and professionalism.  Another gal I wouldn’t mind becoming when I grow up.  I need to take notes from her, seriously.
  • I briefly met Annette Tonti who works for a company called mofuse and I’m seriously going to look into it because now that I’m getting an iPhone (details to follow), I’m extra interested in having a mobile version of my blog.
  • I got to meet Missy!  Seriously, I was so glad when she hopped down from her makeover chair MID-MAKEOVER to come over and say Hi to me.  That was so awesome.  And her accent?  ADORABLE.  And she?  GORGEOUS.  I think I pretty much adore her.
  • Surely by now you’ve all been hearing about Brian at papatv.com.  He was pretty awesome (and hot) and his card made me laugh.  I wish I could have hung with him more like Carly and Rhi got to.  But seriously, there were a LOT of guys there this year and I thought that was awesome.
  • Kelli, aka Cagey, handed out the most adorable business cards, which were actually bookmarks, styled after her blog.  This was in order to hand them out with the “Sleep is for the Weak” book in which she is featured (*coughbuyitcough*).  I love Cagey.  I love her and I love her adorable little daughter and intensely wish I lived closer to her so I could go over to her house for playdates.

And then there was my most favorite “card” of all:

Brit's "business card"

This was from Brit at Running Stitch and she MADE THEM HERSELF.  Seriously, she had a whole stack to pass out.  And I thought that was the coolest thing EVER.  She even had the url to her Etsy shop on the back and I thought that was just damned genius.  She is mad talented and has made me so many wonderful things I can hardly keep track.  I love her.  She is a salve on my soul.  And she makes me laugh like no one’s business because she’s funny as hell.  It would NOT have been BlogHer if I hadn’t gotten a chance to hang with her for the short time that I was able.

Then there were all the people that I talked to that I didn’t get cards from (and, one can safely assume, I didn’t give cards to either.  Like an IDIOT.).  But I want to mention them because I did meet them and they do deserve a link.  I’ll just have to see if I can remember them all!

There was the lovely Kerry from Crunchy Carpets who I happened to see walking down the hall while Loralee and I were chatting and I hollered out to her (as if I have confidence or something!).  This was on Saturday, shortly before I had to leave so I am SO glad I got a chance to talk with her.  And her accent?  DARLING.  Scottish AND Canadian.  Too cute.

There was also the amazing Kristen from better now.  I’m sure I never would have had the guts to speak to her had I not been with Loralee at the time.  This woman is drop-dead gorgeous and so sweet and tall and lovely and smart and… well, even her beautiful blog doesn’t do her justice.  And her blog is beautiful.  So go read it.

Let’s not forget Michelle (aka sparksfley) from Sparks and Butterflies.  She watched my baby for me during my panel and didn’t even miss a STEP with it.  She also started the whole “disclaimer” thing pre-BlogHer to prepare people for the real thing and can I just say?  I think she exaggerated.  She is a lovely person, beautiful and sweet and I’m sure I didn’t get to spend as much time with her as I would have liked.

I also (almost literally) ran into Y just before we left on Saturday.  I got a chance to hug her and tell her that she made me cry during the community keynote the day before and can I just say?  Y is simply lovely in person.  I know she’s lovely on her blog (which I enjoy like no one’s business), but in person?  SO MUCH MORE.  She is a true, genuine heart.  Take it to the bank, people.  It’s true.  I adore her.

I spoke with Monty and Mamacita on Friday morning and never got their cards!  Shame on me!  Well, I’m here to tell you that besides being completely lovely women, they are funny and sweet to boot.  I am so glad I got a chance to interact with them while I was there, because now I sorta love both of them.

I also (so briefly) saw Califmom and she was awesome.  I mean, I sorta knew she’d be awesome from all her Twitters pre-conference, but in person?  Awesomer.  It’s totally a word, look it up.  I didn’t get to talk to her long, but trust me.  She was awesome.  I’m sure someone else can back me up on this.

I did meet Backpacking Dad on Friday morning.  He was talking with Loralee and I managed to get to say hi, but neglected to give him my card.  This guy was a total rockstar of the conference.  I think I can count on one finger the number of times I saw him NOT surrounded by adoring women.

I got to say hi to Redneck Mommy too!  OMG.  She’s so pretty.  And so nice too!  I was pretty much entirely intimidated because she is so… well, COOL.  But she really came off as entirely approachable and sweet.

It was very brief and totally in passing, but I also got to say hi to Crystal from Boobs, Injuries and Dr. Pepper.  Another gal who was completely beautiful and so sweet and friendly.  I wished I could have gone to her session, so I could have heard more from her.  I really admire her quite a bit.

Whew.  I think that’s it.  If I missed ANYONE, please let me know.  See, even with all these people I got to see and say “hi” to, there are so many that I didn’t and that is what haunts me.  I am starting to wonder if it is even POSSIBLE to see everyone you want to see at BlogHer.  I’m starting to have my doubts.

But at any rate, this is my list of Awesome People I Saw at BlogHer.  Now go visit their sites!  Because they are Awesome!

BlogHer 08: No, I'm not done yet

It comes in bits and pieces.  There’s no way that anyone can come home from BlogHer and in one post, sum up the entire experience and then just drop the subject.  Not going to happen.  So, again, to those of you out there who missed the conference, I apologize.  But I’m not done yet.

What I need to do is post up links to the great business cards I got.  However, the greatest business card I got is MIA and I want to hunt it down and take a picture before I do that post.  So I’ve been putting it off.  (Of course, you must realize that it is only MIA becuase I refuse to unpack, like, ANYTHING.)

What I’m going to do today is post the paltry pictures I have from the conference, including one stolen picture (Forgive me, Cagey!).  I swear, if I do make it back next year, I VOW to take more pictures.  Then again, as I don’t plan to attend with a baby clinging to me, it’ll probably be easier to manage.  GAH.

Rhi and Carly
Here we have the fabulous Rhi and Carly.  I had breakfast with them on Day 1 and they watched Evie for me while I went and retrieved myself a bagel.


I totally stole this picture that Cagey took and fuxed with it in Photoshop.  But anyhow, this is me during my Introversion session, and WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH MY HAIR, OMG.

Loralee loves Diet Coke
In case you doubted it, Loralee does indeed love herself some diet Coke.  Dawn from Kaiser Alex likes diet Coke too, but not on the same level, obviously.

On the phone with asshats
Christine yells at defenseless bank employees and looks hawt doing it.

Gazing at Christine
See?  Loralee totally is picturing Christine naked right now.  (That’s who she’s looking at, btw)

Anjali, internet rockstar
Cagey’s little girl Anjali was absolutely ADORABLE and I even got to hold her a couple of times.  I could just eat her.  She was very tolerant of all the pictures being taken of her.

I <3 this woman
I love this woman.  Even when she’s unprepared to have her photo taken.  Maybe especially when she’s unprepared to have her photo taken.

Friends
This picture disturbs me on so many levels.  Not just that it makes Cagey look drunk, but that it makes me look like a HEIFER. Still, I love these girls and we didn’t get NEAR enough time together.

Evie meets the Michelin Man
Evie starts to nut up when posing with the Michelin Man. Typical. Kile was psyched to enter the drawing for 4 free tires.  WTF?

Pool Boys
I have to include this last one taken Saturday afternoon after we had returned to my parents’ house.  Liam is rocking swim trunks and goggles I picked up in the Swag Suite and obviously having the TIME OF HIS LIFE. I think he probably enjoyed BlogHer more than anyone else.

BlogHer 08: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Before I get into what will most certainly be a long-winded and winding post, I want to say ahead of time that the people this year at BlogHer were fabulous.  And that it really looks like a lot of people had a really awesome time.  I had my own little set of issues this year but even so, there was a lot to love this year (even though the title of this post might suggest the contrary).

The Good

  • The Westin is a tip-top sort of hotel.  The room… it was FABLOUS.  I wish I had taken pictures.  It was beautiful.  White sheets, white bedspread, 10 foot ceilings, recessed paneling, floor length windows, sparkling chandeliers, glass doorknobs, plasma tv… it was plush, plush, PLUSH.  Easily the nicest hotel I think I’ve ever stayed in.  I loved that room.  And the Heavenly Bed?  Was not an exaggeration.  It was HEAVENLY.  I think I died in that bed.
  • The childcare.  KiddieCorps really did a great job with the kids.  Liam had a BLAST over there and I don’t think he missed us one tiny bit while he was in there.  They had games, movies, snacks… and a pretty much endless supply of chocolate milk.  They even took Liam down to meet GROVER (which his no-count mother couldn’t even manage to do).  When we realized we’d left Liam’s diapers in the valet-parked van, they generously and awesomely told us it was no problem and covered Liam’s diaper-shortage.
  • All the fabulous women that I got a chance to meet or reconnect with.  I’m not going to link them here because I do hope to do a links post at some point in time.  But seriously.  I got some big time warm fuzzies from some of you all and I puffy pink heart every single one of you.  If anything, I’m severely depressed that I didn’t get more time to spend with you, slobbering all over your (fabulous) shoes.
  • The swag.  There was some GREAT swag this year!  I mean, no, I didn’t get any laptop or Wii Fit or cameras or anything like that BUT… I got some great stuff regardless.  My kids loved the stuff that I brought home for them (Harry is a particular fan of the Magic 8 Ball and the bracelet/zip drive from PBS Kids).  I haven’t even had a real good chance to go through it all and see what all is there, but I love the tote bag and the Zazzle suite (where we could drop off what we didn’t want, pick up what others don’t want, etc) was a GREAT idea.  Since I didn’t need to worry about packing restrictions this year, I stopped by there and grabbed some extra goodies.  I even managed to get a go at the “Swag Suite” before we left and got all sorts of nifty stuff up there too.  And even then, I know I only got a small portion of the swag available this year.  It was amazing.  God bless the swag!
  • The Community Keynote.  So I may not have been able to go to a lot of sessions or do a lot of fun things at BlogHer this year (I missed the CheeseburgHer Party too!), but I did make most of the Community Keynote and it was AWESOME.  It was the single-most inspiring moment of the conference for me.  Listening to all those awesome women read their awesome blog posts aloud in front of that jam-packed room really brought it home to me WHY I do what I do with this blog.  What it’s all about, and how my little blog posts can change my life (if not anyone elses).  I laughed, I cried…  it was all kinds of awesome and I hope they do this every year from here on out.

The Bad

  • The food.  Now, I hate to complain because most everything was just awesome, but the food this year pretty much sucked.  I know I’m not the only one who thought so.  There was more than one grumble about the lack of bacon in the morning (it was more of a continental breakfast than anything else) and the lunches were pre-packaged sandwhiches or salads.  The only problem with that being that they disappeared like freakin’ HOTCAKES.  Apparently.  The first day, Evie was a ticking time bomb after my session finished so I had to take her up to the room to nurse her and hopefully get her to lay down and nap for a while.  By the time I was finished woo-ing her to sleep and got downstairs, the last of the lunches had been passed out.  GAH.  Thankfully, some awesome women took pity on me and took me out for a hamburger.  Otherwise, I may have very well starved to death.  I heard good things about the snacks, but the meals left something to be desired.
  • The “Lactation Lounge” was about a joke.  Seriously, it was a room with a round table and some chairs.  They had water bottles and glasses, at least, but the set up was not very inspiring for us lactate-rs.  The doors were also wide open all the time so if anyone was feeling particularly modest or had an easily distracted child, it wasn’t very private or quiet either.  Maybe next year they could have a sofa or glider or something?
  • The Westin was a pretty confusing place.  Shoot, they handed us maps of the place and I could still barely find my way around.  It took me half of the first day to even find out where all the mommy blogging sessions were at because I kept thinking that they were on the third floor when in fact they were on the first floor.  Seriously, I’m good at directions and reading maps and looking at the map on our agenda often made it HARDER for me to find where I was going.
  • Temperatures.  And this is inside the Westin, mind you.  One minute it would be freezing, the next it would be stuffy and stifling.  You never knew what you were going to get. (For the record, the lactation lounge was pretty much always FREEZING.)  There didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it either.  Maybe someone else has some insight?
  • PARKING.  OMG.  We wouldn’t have had to leave early if it hadn’t been for the parking situation.  Perhaps next year find out if there is a way to include overnight parking in the cost of the room?  Or warn us ahead of time that it isn’t included?  Because finding out the next day that it cost us $50 to have our van valet parked overnight even though we were hotel guests was pretty crappy.  And a huge part of the reason we ended up leaving early.  Even better, work out a deal ahead of time with the hotel where conference participants can either check out later or at least keep their vehicles there later.  That would have been UBER helpful.  I know this is S.F. and parking is at a premium, but STILL.
  • I didn’t hand out nor recieve NEAR as many business cards as I would have liked.  DANGIT.  EVERY YEAR it’s the same old story.  Next year, I want a bag I have to drag home overflowing with other people’s business cards.  I’m so not even kidding.

The Ugly

  • There wasn’t a lot that was ugly this year.  NO, I’M SERIOUS.  No one was a total ass, that I know of.  No one was mean or rude or awful to me (that I know of).
  • In fact, the only thing ugly was me not meeting everyone I wanted to meet.  I’m still excited by all the people I actually DID meet (Redneck MommyBackpacking Dad! Boobs, Injuries and Dr. PepperKristen from Better Now!) but so sad by the ones that I didn’t (far too many to mention here and if I do it’s only going to make me feel depressed again).

So that’s it.  I think.  I’m almost certain that I’m leaving all sorts of stuff out here.  It really was an amazing trip and my head is still swimming with it all.  I wish I could have stayed there several more days at least and just soaked it all in.  Elisa, Jory and Lisa all put on a FABULOUS event.  And I truly am grateful that I was able to be a part of it.

Coming up: My session and how people who leave in the middle can make an introvert think she must be a leper AND a big round up of all the cards I received from people including LINKS LINKS LINKS!  Good times will be had by ALL!

BlogHer 08: My Problems, My Issues

I have another post in the works about a bunch of stuff I really loved about the conference.  Which, really, is a lot of stuff.  But I’m having a hard time focusing on it and I think it’s because I have something else I need to talk about first before I can get into all the “SQUEE” stuff.  I think if I don’t talk about my suck-ass self, then nothing else is going to come out as genuine, you know?

I don’t think I took a lot of my own advice about this particular BlogHer conference.  I think I let my introversion and insecurity get the better of me.  Of course, I did do a lot better than I did two years ago.  I actually approached people that I knew.  Like Loralee and Crunchy Carpets and Carly and Rhi.  I said hi and gushed all over Y from Joy, Unexpected.  BUT, I rode in an elevator with Her Bad Mother and Sweetney and I didn’t even say hi.  I exchanged some pleasantries with Julie from mothergoodmouse and I didn’t even introduce myself.

I guess I figured they didn’t want to know who I was.  I think I figured I didn’t fall on their radar and if I said anything, they would figure I was some annoying cling-on loser or something.  Which, you know, who are we kidding?  I pretty much am.  As is evidenced by my slobbering all over Carly and Rhi and Loralee whenever I got a chance.  But really, WHAT WAS STOPPING ME?  Nothing.  Not a damn thing.

Okay, *I* was stopping me.

There was no drama, no high school revisited.  I didn’t attend enough of the conference (*snort*) to witness or hear of any bad ju ju going down.  Any problem I had introducing myself to anyone was my problem and mine alone.  Because I’m a giant, flaming nerd.

I also need to discuss Friday night.  Because Friday night I was pretty much a big wet, hot mess.  The day hadn’t gone as I had planned.  No fault of BlogHer, but more of a fault of EVIE.  The poor dear wouldn’t relax out at the conference.  The noise, the energy of the women there just jangled her nerves.  Forget nursing her there, she would not focus on it.  Bouncing her worked for about 5 nanoseconds.  The best I could do with her was put her in the sling I was using and bounce up and down.  But If I stood still or sat down?  She would wake up right away and S-C-R-E-A-M.  Sorta like she did during the Community Keynote until I finally had to admit defeat and slink out of the room during the last round of bloggers.

I got up to the room and pretty much just dissolved.  We found out we had left Liam’s diapers in the van which had been valet parked and so we had no diapers for him.  STRESS.  Evie was having a hard time coming down off her stimulation high.  STRESS.  What were we going to do for dinner?  STRESS.  Kile ended up grabbing some Quizno’s sandwhiches and bringing them back to the room while I nursed Evie.  I ate, shot off a quick post, nursed Evie again and fell asleep.  At, like, 9pm.

*hangs head*

Of course, somewhere in there I also broke down into tears because Evie was rashy and upset and I was tired and I was missing all the fun and I skipped two session that day and FOR WHAT and what were we going to do when checkout happened at 12 the next day?  STRESS. Oh, and I wasn’t taking hardly ANY pictures because the camera was in the laptop bag and I quickly found out that I couldn’t carry the laptop bag AND Evie around so when I had her, I didn’t have the laptop or the camera and so I took NO pictures.  STRESS.

BLAH.  I mean, there were gals out there getting down on the dance floor and having a great old time and then there was ME, going to bed early.  Who wants to hear about me?  Am I right?  Of course, knowing that I was being such a downer was making it WORSE.

I walked down to breakfast the next morning feeling pretty bad.  Here were all these happy, shiny bloggers and there was me who was feeling so sorry for herself she could hardly stand it.  Oh the HUMANITY.  And that’s when I saw Brit and I think I about knocked her over and cried into her beautiful, hand-made bag.  (Seriously, the gal has mad skillz.)  I was so glad to see her.

Of course, then I learned like 10 minutes later that, “Oh hai! We haz to chex-out at 12 and move van out of valet at 2 or pay exhorbitant costs!”  So… yeah.  It became a question of whether or not we should try to find somewhere cheaper to store the car for a couple hours or just go back to San Jose in defeat.  Then there was the matter of what Kile would do all afternoon without a “home base” and Evie had been resistant to nursing anywhere else but the silence of our room and surely this would mean she would go thermonuclear.

Am I making this more complicated than it needed to be?

Probably.

Anyhow, I figured that it would probably make more sense to just go.  I probably couldn’t get much out of any sessions with Evie with me anyhow and I would be worried about Kile and the van… and none of our solution scenarios would account for me being able to go to the Macy’s party which is what I REALLY wanted in the first place.  So… back to San Jose it was.

Of course, this depressed the heck out of me.  I just didn’t see any other reasonable solution.  I was able to get to one last session, the one on Commercialization in the Momosphere.  I wanted to go because it’s a topic I’m interested in and I wanted to say hi to Kristen who was speaking and also co-runs the Parent Bloggers Network.  I got to attend the session, but didn’t get to say hi because it ran over a touch and Kile called me to let me know he was checking out and needed my room key.  FRICK.  So, whatever.

We met Cagey and Brit for lunch which was kinda nice (and I actually GOT lunch for a change) (long story) before we picked up Liam from childcare (OMG, they were so nice there) and then on to valet to retrieve our automobile.  SIGH.  We were leaving BlogHer, heads not quite hanging in shame, but not exactly held high either.  Driving out of San Fransisco, I felt pretty sad.  There were SO MANY WOMEN that I wanted to meet or connect with and just didn’t get a chance.  I didn’t even SEE them.  Of course, not really a surprise considering I only attended one other session other than the one I spoke at.

(OY.  My session.  I’ll talk more about that soon, I promise.  The short of it: went well but still agonize over the hemmorage of the audience.)

I went to no parties, very few sessions, I didn’t really get to visit every sponsor table like I normally would have liked to.  I didn’t have ONE SINGLE alcoholic drink the entire time.  THERE IS SOMETHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH THAT.  I missed the damned Macy’s party which I was hoping to be able to stop into if for no other reason than to buy a copy of “Sleep is for the Weak” and get it signed by all the bloggers.  Ask Kile, that is probably the one thing I moaned about for the rest of the weekend more than anything else.  I wanted that book.  I wanted it signed.  I AM SAD.  (Does anyone know if there were/are/will be any signed copies for sale?  Wouldn’t replace actually getting one all signed myself, but I still want one.)

Do/Did I feel sorry for myself?  Yes.  Still do.  Do I blame anyone else for any of it?  Nope.  I couldn’t.  If I didn’t have the best time while at BlogHer, it was because of me and other circumstances that couldn’t really be avoided.  Yes, since then I’ve thought of many ways we could have handled partiuclar issues far better than we did.  But… too late for that!

I will go into more details and talk about fun stuff, embarassing stuff, stupid stuff, bad stuff, etc and so forth… but I had to get all this off my chest first.  Heck, this already took the better part of a day to post (started this at about 4pm).  But anyhow.  I don’t want any of you feel you need to post a comment or whatever so I turned the comments off.  I’m just putting this out there, getting it off my chest, so I can move on to the happier stuff.

Thoughts inspired by road trip songs

We finally traveled home to Reno this afternoon.  By the time we left, I was in a rather MOOD, if you didn’t notice.  Leaving San Fransisco and BlogHer the way we did, was rather stressful and was really starting to take it’s toll on me.  I’m hoping that tomorrow I get a good chance to write about the whole thing in my standard wrap-up post.  Not to be confused with my standard link post which will include all links to all the business cards I gathered.  I’ll be doing that too, but maybe not until Tuesday.  Yes, you’re just going to have to be patient.

I can say that I’m rather glad I didn’t have to fly because it sounds like people are having a HELL of a time with delayed/cancelled/etc flights.  I would probably have had an anuerism.

Ahem, I’m totally getting off track here, aren’t I?

Listening to the MP3s on my cell phone on the way home (piped through the car’s stereo, of course), I had some thoughts that I felt I needed to share with you all.  Because this is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

  • Bad Medicine” is my favorite-est Bon Jovi song EVAH.  Closely followed by “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive” (in that order), but still.  It’s the best.  Hands down.
  • I miss “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” so bad.  And I still love love love the musical episode, especially the song “Walk Through the Fire“.
  • Wynonna Judd’s “Testify to Love” STILL gives me chills.
  • According to my 8 year old, “Enter Sandman” is cool because it’s a “Rock Band” song (and pretty much for no other reason).
  • Even though I’m no great fan of the Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice” makes me wanna pump my fist in the air.  You go, girls!
  • Anywhere” is the best song by Evanescence, without a doubt.  I don’t care to entertain arguments to the contrary, either.
  • How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat??
  • I pretty much pink puffy heart love the entire Moulin Rouge soundtrack and don’t care who knows it. (Especially this song right here. Oh, and this one too.)
  • We listen to a pretty freakin’ strange variety of music.

And there you have it.  TIME FOR BED.