I am home! I am exhausted! And I am (apparently) still on Pacific time, so here I am.
I am RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT licking my cable modem, because it’s just so goshdarned nice to, you know, HAVE INTERNET. (My favorite internet-connectivity—or lack thereof—moment from this weekend: Someone leaning over to me and saying, “You know, even at a conference that isn’t ABOUT THE INTERNET I can CHECK MY EMAIL.”)
We brought the system to its knees, I guess, and it turns out that I really CAN live for a few days without checking my email or blogging, though it was touch-and-go there for a little bit.
Anyway, I must SLEEP, but there are a few things to say, first, before I burst into flame what with all the unrequited blogging energy.
Just getting it out of the way up front, or Worst Allegory Ever. So, once upon a time, we had this dog. Loveable, sweet, etc. Not terribly bright. This dog, he had a barking problem. He barked all the time, at everything, and he WOULD NOT STOP. It was incredibly annoying. And loud. One of the things we tried was one of those collars that shock the dog when he barks, and theoretically it conditions him not to bark.
It didn’t work. Know why? He was barking because he was too stupid to control himself. When he got shocked, know what he did? He barked more. For the week or so that we used the collar he barked twice as much as usual. Then we couldn’t stand it any more and we took it off of him and left him alone. Then he barked less.
Moral of the story: Don’t shock stupid dogs. (Or, please stop talking about the Dumbest Controversy Ever and giving mean people so much attention. Thanks. Smooches.)
Freud said there were no such things as coincidences. What are the odds, at a conference of over 700 women, of walking into the opening keynote and sitting down next to someone I went to elementary school with 25 years ago and 3,000 miles away? I mean, SERIOUSLY. And she looks exactly the same, too. Well, her boobs are bigger. (C’mon, we were 10.) But that pretty much blew my mind right out of the gate.
Best part: What I remember about her was that she always had everything Hello Kitty that I totally coveted, and what she remembers about me (and this is funny because I have no recollection of it AT ALL) was that during some reading group discussion of what age we’d like to be frozen at, if we had to pick an age to be for the rest of our lives, apparently everyone else said 18 and I was completely adamant that I would choose 30 because I would have my own house and car by then. Um. God, I was a weird little kid. (Yeah yeah yeah… not much has changed. Other than my boobs being bigger.)
I hope I can afford one when I have my mid-life crisis. I took 5 years off of Christina’s life when I talked her into taking a test drive with me. She drove a Saturn Vue hybrid (you can see me sitting in the back in the picture there) but I went straight for the silver convertible, baybee. And I FLOORED IT out of the hotel parking lot. I mean, really, WHEN will I ever get to do that again? It had nice pick-up. And Christina’s still speaking to me (I think), so it’s all good.
I eagerly await the Flickr set. Most of us walked around BlogHer chatting and giving out business cards. Suebob asked people to pose with her red stapler for pictures. She is badass, people. Walking around with a red Swingline in her purse just as casual as you please. It’s going to be a hilarious picture set, if the few people I saw posing were any indication. I very much enjoyed my turn fondling it (the STAPLER; stay with me here).
I am a delicate flower. Friday morning, I shaved off one of my kneecaps and was rescued by Kathryn, who happened to have some Care Bear band-aids handy for just such an emergency. Saturday, I wore some very pretty shoes and then my feet enjoyed the nice warm temperature and swelled and started being sliced to ribbons. Because less than a week before I go walk 60 miles would be an excellent time to put fashion ahead of practicality. I AM SO SMART. Anyway, I was rescued that time by Suzanne, who happened to have an entire box of band-aids in her bag. They weren’t Care Bears, but still, I was impressed.
But since no one else remembers it either, I guess it was okay. I’ve already seen several synopses of the Mommyblogging is a Radical Act panel which aren’t very accurate (I especially like the one where my words are attributed to Alice, because it makes me feel smarter somehow), and at some point I’ll work up the courage to listen to the podcast, maybe, but mostly I walked away sort of disappointed. It wasn’t BAD, but it could’ve been a GREAT session and I don’t think it was, for a bunch of reasons. Meanwhile I was missing what I heard was an awesome session on Identity and Obligation, so I think I’ll listen to that podcast first.
So, yeah, there was good stuff in unexpected places. Let’s ignore the things that didn’t go as well as I’d hoped and say OH! YAY! for the sessions that were better than I’d expected. Like the closing keynote. This does NOT mean that I thought it was going to be awful, or anything, but I was unprepared to be as impressed by it as I was. More specifically, Arianna Huffington rocked my socks off, which I SO did not anticipate. I’m not even sure I can explain why. I was just very impressed with her and the panel as a whole.
There were also bimbos! Vendors, vendors everywhere. I think they were sponsors of some sort so I won’t name them or say too much but there’s a home improvement for women thing where a couple of spokesmodel types got up and tried to convince us that, like, OHMIGOD, single women sometimes own houses! And, like, want to fix things! I felt my IQ falling as they spoke. It was the ONLY time all weekend I got up and walked out while someone was speaking. Ugh. Maybe I was missing something. Maybe it was hiding behind their gigantic breasts?
Kira needs to stop making me cry. So I got this mail from Kira this morning during the .3 minutes the Hyatt internet was working, and it was all about how she’d been thinking about how it was just about 2 years ago that she and I became friends, and how back then I was floundering (in so many ways) and LOOK AT ME NOW and I don’t know, there was more, but I was already hitting reply and typing “STOP MAKING ME CRY” so I may have missed part of it. But, um, yeah. An awesome reminder that things do have a way of changing.
She’s even prettier in real life. I did get to have my sushi dinner with Karen, which made me very happy. It involved a perilous trip on the light rail and a near-poisoning of Chris, but we did it. (Chris ordered Beef Udon because she is ALLERGIC TO FISH and it came with a piece of… FISH floating in it. Which our server then tried to convince us—with all 12 words of English that she knew—was not actually fish.) I was sure this would be the highlight of my time with Karen. But NO! The highlight was watching her and Liz discuss this (link NSFW). I thought I was going to wet my pants, I was laughing so hard. Here’s Karen, looking even more statuesque and gorgeous in person, impeccably coiffed and outfitted, waving her hand in the air and saying things like “Girl, I saw ALL of your SUGAR. I did not WANT to have your pubic hair in my FACE. No. There is nothing you can say here. NUTH. ING.” Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it, but it was one of the highlights of the conference for me.
Still no brain-to-mouth filter. I managed to lodge my foot firmly in my mouth MULTIPLE times this weekend, and it’s really amazing to me that anyone was speaking to me at all by the time I left. The perhaps LEAST offensive thing that I kept doing was launching into the story of my awesome laptop bag whenever anyone complimented it, rather than just saying “thank you” and moving on. My favorite was when Chris walked up and said, “GOD, are you telling that story AGAIN?” Truly, I was the life of the party.
Edited to add: Doppleganger moment! I did a double-take when I met Liz and then explained that she looks, sounds, and even acts like my ex-sister-in-law. She looked really worried until I assured her that said woman is my favorite person in my ex’s family, and in fact, I like her better than my ex, even.
Like yawning, it’s contagious. Both of my roommates missed their flights, for different reasons. It all worked out (I hope). But at breakfast this morning one woman got sort of teary over wanting to get home and then another one started tearing up and then a third started crying and I felt oddly cold and emotionless, cracking a joke about not missing my children in the slightest. I didn’t get that huge welling up of Missing Them With Bonecrushing Sadness until my plane started descending, and oddly enough it was the wondering if Monkey lost his first tooth while he was away that set me off. I’ll be seeing them in just a few hours (eeep) and I shall love them and hug them and squish them and call them George. Well, probably I won’t call them George. But you never know.
And they were soooo great in person, and we braided each other’s hair, and also I grabbed Yvonne‘s boob for a picture, I think. I just don’t have it in me to list off people and be all OH SHE WAS SO AWESOME, because part of me really wants to do that, and the rest of me wants to slap that part of me. Honestly? Just about everyone I met was so awesome, and several people I didn’t expect to meet I really clicked with, and several people I knew I would meet but hadn’t really expected to click with were cooler than I thought they’d be, and for the most part I never found myself in the same group twice and everyone was lovely. If I talked to you, chances are I think you’re totally pretty (and that I told you so).
But there’s no place like home. I was ready to come back. Someone called me an introvert there and I laughed, but you know, I think the older I get, the more reserved I’ve become. I’m not saying that’s good or bad. But I had reached maximum saturation and was VERY happy to get home to my nice quiet house and my own bed. (I called Otto from my connecting airport and he offered to make me dinner if I diverted to Atlanta rather than coming home, which was a very tempting offer, but in the end I had to decline. I had that supa-hot A boarding pass already, you know.)
Many, MANY thanks to everyone involved in making BlogHer happen for all of us. It was truly an experience I will never forget.