Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shh! Don't tell anybody.

I want to let you in on a dirty little secret: I actually enjoy being a stay-at-home-mom.

There, I said it.

I have two beautiful children, who are actually fairly well-behaved, despite my protestations here. I can wake up as slowly as I want and wander around in pajamas all morning if I want to. Granted, the longer we stay in the house, the more likely the children are to poke each others' eyes out with the leftover chopsticks from last night's dinner, but I decide to whether that storm if I want. I don't answer to anyone except myself--oh, and Lance, but he doesn't really count.

I can pack up the car and head down to the beach, 70% of the year. Or go to any of the hundreds of playgrounds within driving distance. Or go for a walk in our quiet, safe neighborhood, where we know many of the children playing outside. I can spend an hour browsing through recipes on the internet, and then make a fantastic (or not) dinner for Lance, something I enjoy immensely, and call it work.

Best of all, I get kisses and hugs and I love yous all day long. I get songs sung off key and wildly imaginative explanations and giggles and tickles. I get to be the one who knows how to comfort, how to discipline, how to settle a fight. The older the kids get, the more satisfying this job is becoming. I actually feel good at it*, and that's a feeling that's been missing lately.


Yes, some days are pure drudgery. Yes, some days the last thing I want to do is figure out dinner, lug the kids to the grocery store and then cook. Some days the kids work my every last nerve and I would happily pay Starbucks if they would let me work the counter.

But most of the time, it's pretty fucking awesome. Now that Vivian is in school 3 mornings a week, I'm feeling even more enamored of my job, but I find that this is making me a little uncomfortable. Why? I guess because I feel like I should hate it more. I feel like it's my job as a feminist to keep working, and yet, here I am, secretly thrilled that I'm not. Also, there's the guilt: not everyone has this option, and part of me worries if I really deserve it. Definitely, if I admit to Lance that I like what I'm doing right now, that would upset the delicate balance of our relationship. ("My job is just as hard as yours" being my current mantra.) Finally, let's not forget just how unfashionable it is to like this kind of work. How many times have you heard someone complain about mothers because they can only talk about poopy diapers? There is far greater value, these days, in saying, "I am too intellectual/unique/ complex/insert your favorite adjective here to get joy solely from my children" than there is in this: "I love being a mom!"

Thing is, I am truly, madly, deeply in love with my children. I feel blessed to the depths of my agnostic soul at least once every single day that I get to share this time with them. I don't want to go back to work. I would happily do this, this mothering of a 3-1/2 year old and a 2 year old, for the rest of my life. It's that good. And I'm tired of keeping the joy to myself.

* Truth: as I'm writing about how good of a mother I am, both my children cry in their beds, refusing to nap. It's all relative, darlin'.

Things are gearing up around here

I think I've mentioned our remodel before, right? Well, we are moving out of this 1950s Californian bungalow in a few weeks to let the work begin, and hopefully by early next summer we can move back in to a 21st century contemporary--or is it modern?--2 story home. No, I have not found us a place to live in the duration yet, though we do have 3 appointments on Thursday.

Here's the rub: we are going to Hawaii with Lance's parents (I know, I know: we are spoiled, spoiled people) from September 19th to September 30th. Construction will likely start October 1st. That leaves me just about three weeks to find a place to live, divide this house into three piles: garage sale, storage, & temporary rental, and pack it all up. In other bad-timing news, guess who's pre-school is closed this week?

But. I'm not really complaining, though I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised if I did. After all, we're going to Hawaii (and the nasty brother-in-law is not coming, thank you Lord Jesus, praise be to God etc. etc.) and I'm getting a bigger, better house out of the deal. Pretty fucking exciting, no matter how much work it is. Yes, the financial strain is terrifying, but I'm keeping my eyes on the prize, as they say, and hoping for the best.

Here some photos for your viewing pleasure.

Current abode:

What the new house will look like:
(Actually, this rendering was our original plan that turned out to be WAY TOO EXPENSIVE, so imagine this house but smaller, without that "two-story volume" thing. The tower thing, you see what I mean? Oh, and we do keep the tree, evening though it doesn't show up in the picture)

Whaddya think? I know many people have issues with modern (you should hear my mother-in-law's suBtle hints), but to us it's different and elegant and, well, cool.

Best of all, it will have insulation!

Most importantly, thank you for all your kind comments and emails regarding my post at the Basement. It helps, tremendously. And it means a lot to me.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I just would like to know

Where in my job description it says: "remove maggot infestation from trash cans".

Because I really didn't see that one coming. I would have taken a picture so you could appreciate the true horror, but I couldn't aim the camera without hurling.

Also? Clearly, Lance is not the better spouse, since his last merry words to me, as he skipped off to work this morning, were "Have fun with the maggots!" Not to mention, he spent the whole day Saturday (as in 6:30am until naptime) surfing and called this fair trade for the 3 hours I spent out with the girls Friday night.

Post Script: Probably not a good idea to ask your wife, while you are eating a dinner of fried rice, "So, how'd it go with the maggots today?"

True story.


Isaac hates getting his haircut. Really, really hates it. He screams, he wails, he begs to be anywhere but in that chair. Even the promise of a lollipop, or a showing of Bob the Builder, or a million dollars, doesn't calm him down. We have tried the various kid's places with little success. He screams and whips his head around like he's having a seizure, I try to hold him still and keep his hands out of the way of the scissors, we leave 10 minutes later with an uneven cut and a store full of toddlers staring at us in awe. My mother-in-law has tried, with limited success. (I'm not sure what she does, as I haven't been there for a cutting. But he returns to us with uneven hair, and many tales about the hair cut.) All other hair treatments have been at home, with Lance as the barber and me as the strait jacket, briber, pleader & distracter. Never much success there either.

I should note here that Isaac was born with a full head of hair. His first haircut, at 3 months*, went off without a hitch. But the next one, at 7 months, was a complete nightmare, and they haven't gotten any easier since then.

Consequently, we often let Isaac's hair grow to be fairly shaggy, and then when we do cut it, try to cut off as much as possible, just to prolong time between cuts. We've been talking up the "buzz cut" to him for a few months, hoping that he's getting old enough so that the clippers won't scare him so much and we can actually shave his head. He got a little excited about the idea, too, especially since one of the kids in school (after an unsupervised incident with scissors) arrived with no hair one day.

This weekend, we all trooped off to the barbershop, where Lance gets his hair cut. Oh, the excitement! "What a big boy! Just like Daddy! And your friend Leo! And you will get a lollipop if you can be good!"

No dice. As soon as we got him near the chair he started screaming. But. The barber seemed to know just what to say. Lance was able to sit in the chair, with Isaac on the stool in his lap. The barber calmed him down just enough so that he stopped screaming and hiding his head in Lance's chest. He wasn't able to get the clippers near him, but he got the hair pretty damn short, just using scissors.


I have to say I was much more impressed with Lance's barber, Tel, than I ever have been by those kids places. No TV on or balloons, and yet this guy was able to do a better job than anybody else in the last 3-1/2 years.

What do you think?



*Also, I have to admit this: when Isaac was about 6 months old we met another mother, who had older boys. She told a story of her youngest son, who, until he was 3 years old, would get so upset about hair cuts that he would actually vomit. At the time, I thought to myself, "how ridiculous. Why would anyone be afraid of a haircut?" Ha ha ha. You see, how the universe makes sure to beat me down for any superior thought, ever?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Further evidence that Lance is the better spouse (not that you needed any)

Actual text from email conversation.

Friend K to Amy: "Drinks or dinner? Anyone? Impromptu girls night? Shout out if you're in."

Amy to Lance: "Can you watch the kids?"

Lance to Amy: "This Friday? Are you crazy??? You think you can just tell me on a Wednesday you're gonna be out and leaving me with the kids on a Friday night?????
:) Yes, honey, of course. Have fun. Get drunk. Raise your skirt.
Party Hearty."

Brilliant, isn't he? In two paragraphs he manages to expose me for the nagging bitch I am while simaltaneously describing himself as the magnanimous giving partner.

Now you're all nodding your heads, thinking to yourself, "Of course. They are going to therapy for Lance's sake. Poor man. "

But I'm on to him.

(And--yay!--I'm going out tonight with grown-ups!)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tip #4

If you are making candied walnuts and have the sugar in the pan over low heat, as the recipe directs, but after what seems like a very long time the sugar is not melting, do not turn up the heat and then pop into the office to check blogs "for a second".

Billowing black smoke all over the house and bubbly black tar in the pan will not taste good in your salad.

The smoke detector at my neighbor's house went off, and while I can't be sure that the blackened sugar was the cause, I have a feeling.

(Imagine a segue here)

It is possible (and I know this will come as a shock to you) that my last post may have been a wee bit dramatic.

Thing is, therapy is hard. I don't like talking about myself, I don't like hearing all the things that I'm doing wrong, I don't like having to adjust to Lance's "style" of communicating, I don't like feeling judged. So perhaps I am projecting some of my discomfort onto Dr. Bite Me.

Actually, the funny (yeah, it's a laugh riot, Amy) thing is this: Lance and I have actually been getting along much better lately. Some of that has to do with the fact that Vivian is in school and this gives me the freedom to take a shit when I want for the first time in 3-1/2 years. Some of that has to do with the little attitude adjustment* I gave myself a few weeks ago. Some of it (maybe) has to do with therapy.

I'm not entirely sure that Dr. Bite Me is the perfect counselor, but Lance seems to like him, and I am lazy, and also that "make do with what you have and don't complain" upbringing dies hard, so we'll probably stick with him.

*Can't tell, can you?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Marriage Counseling: Session Two

Annoying: that Lance has been positively gleeful all week, looking forward to our next meeting with Dr. Bite Me .

Annoying: that Dr. Bite Me drones on and on and on past our allotted time, making me late to pick up the kids from pre-school.

More Annoying: that whenever we go see Dr. Bite Me I am so nervous (hate the talking about myself, doncha know) that I am absolutely rank with pit stank by the time we leave.

Most Annoying: that even though this visit went decidedly more in my favor I still left feeling vaguely violated, like someone had given me a pelvic exam in my sleep.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

If you're wondering where I am

Just read this.

Vivian has been in pre-school, 3 mornings a week for the last two weeks, and I am still not getting anything done, because I keep getting sucked into the blogging vortex.

Be back soon-ish.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tragic Fantasies

When I was a teenager, I went to a boarding school in Connecticut. (And yes, most of the students and teachers there dressed and acted exactly like this). For school vacations, I would take the 5 hour train ride from Hartford, CT to Wilmington, DE. Most of the other students lived in the NYC suburbs--Rye, NY; Greenwich, CT; Short Hills, NJ. Some of them also took the train, but their ride was only a few hours, with the vast majority of them alighting in Grand Central Station or Newark's Penn Station. For the last few hours of the ride, it was usually just me and the other business commuters and random grandmotherly travelers.

Left to my own devices, I often made up stories in my head about who I was and where I was going. I look young now, and as a 15 year old I looked no older than 12, so often times I would get looks from the other passengers, wondering why a kid was on the train all alone. I ate this up. I'd put on a sad face and pretend that I was running away from home, sighing loudly and looking dejectedly through an empty wallet, then rooting around in my backpack for some crumbs. Every now and then, a fellow passenger would take pity on me, and offer me a snack, or, and this was what I hoped for every time, ask me where I was going.

Sometimes I told them that I was going to visit a sick and/or dying grandparent. Or that my parents were divorced and I was on my way to see my dad, who I hadn't seen in years. Or that I'd been expelled from school because the school bully had blamed me for the broken stained glass in the Chapel, and the teachers had believed him.

Always, the story I told was a sad one. I'm not sure why, and I'm not sure why it gave me such a thrill to imagine myself in such dire circumstances. Even if none of the other passengers asked, I still made up the stories in my head and played them out, so that when I finally got off the train in Wilmington, I'd be dejectedly lugging my bag behind me with the weight of the world on my shoulders. Once while I was waiting there for my parents, a cabbie said to me "What's wrong, little girl? You look like you lost your best friend! Do you need a ride?" How I wished I could have jumped in his cab and told the story of the tragic death of my best friend by freak accident, but at that moment my dad drove up in his Honda, so the jig was up.

Those train rides weren't the first time I imagined myself as the tragic-heroine in a poorly written after school special. When I was seven or eight, my mom would often hand me half her list at the grocery store, trying to shorten the shopping trip. I loved wandering the aisles "alone", reading my grocery list importantly, and I always pretended I was the older sister to 4 or 5 little ones, that my single mother was working two jobs and so I had to buy the groceries and make the dinner. Or I imagined that my widowed father was ill--dying of cancer, most likely--at home in bed, and so I had to walk to the store and buy the chicken noodle soup that would heal him. I even went so far as to visibly add up the prices of the sundries I was buying, so the other shoppers would see how I was struggling, and how I was valiantly fighting the odds. And of course I avoided my mother at all costs.

In 5th grade, my parents were able to move me from the local public school to the private school in our neighborhood. Our house was about 6 blocks away. For awhile, every day after school, instead of walking home, I'd scrounge up 60 cents and walk over to the city bus stop, where I'd put on my sad face again, and imagine myself as a scholarship student who lived in the projects downtown, but rode the bus to the snooty school every day in an effort to "break the cycle" of poverty. Of course, when I got off the bus 3 stops later, still in the leafy suburban neighborhood and nowhere near the projects, the fantasy dissolved, even though I tried a couple times to act like I was getting off there because I had a job cleaning the rich peoples' houses, or babysitting their kids.

I'd forgotten all about this old habit of mine, until Monday, when I had an appointment to look at an apartment not far from here. We are planning a huge remodel on our house, and need to move out for at least 6 months. I've been unsuccessfully searching for our new place in my "free" time now that Vivian is in pre-school 3 mornings a week. I try to see the places when I don't have the kids with me, but Monday I had no choice but to bring them. The apartment ended up being in a part of town that I'm not too familiar with. Okay neighborhood, but not great. The apartment building itself looked fairly run down, and as we drove up I thought, "Hmm, this is probably a little too ghetto for Lance". Still, I parked the car and decided to give it a chance. The apartment manager was a very nice, slight, graying gentleman, pleasant and accommodating as he showed us all around. As we were walking through the complex, looking at the pool and the laundry room, I got the feeling that he was regarding me and the kids with some kind of sympathy. And then, in that place between subconscious and conscious thought, I realized that I was making up a story in my head again. I had become a single-mother, toting my two young children around, trying to make a fresh start after a disastrous first marriage. And when, at the end of the tour, he asked me if I needed one or two applications, explaining that each person over 18 had to fill out their own, I felt a little deflated, having to admit that I needed two.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cosmic Re-balance

On Monday, I took the kids to the playground. While we were there, some fighting and screaming and not-sharing occurred, which forced me to separate the kids and institute a no-playing-on-the-tire-swing-if-you-can't- play-nicely-rule. I remained calm during the screaming fest, and meted out punishments swiftly and compassionately, and--miracles of miracles--the fighting ceased. Eventually, we had to abandon the tire-swing, since the fighting resumed and I needed to stick to my rules, but we got over this hump with minimal sniffles and managed to have some fun on the jungle gym instead.

As we were leaving--well, no, actually, this also happened during our stay--I glanced surreptitiously around at the other mothers to see if they noticed how well I was handling my kids. I did. I admit it. I wanted to be sure I had witnesses, I wanted some kudos, I wanted everyone else there to be impressed. And I presumed, in my head, that they were. I imagined them thinking things like, "wow, her kids are really well behaved!, and "she was completely consistent there and didn't back down!" and also "I wish I had her legs".

Kind of makes you cringe, doesn't it? First of all, what a fucking smug condescending bitch, even if it was only in my head! Secondly, and most importantly, did I not know the Mommy law of averages?? It is no secret that for every good moment you have with your kids you will have an opposite and (un)equal number of bad days. But I didn't cringe. I didn't consider the whole pride-cometh-before-the-fall-thing, not even once. (You would think that the newness of this kind of thought (good parenting? me?) would have tipped me off, but, well, it is me, after all. Self-awareness is not my strong suit.)

And so, we left the park, hopping jauntily into our luxury SUV, smiling all the way (I'm barfing here too, don't worry) and . . . headed straight into hell.

You read about the grocery visit, which occurred that same afternoon. But before that happened I decided to take the kids to Starbucks to meet Melissa. I know! Only an idiot takes a 3-1/2 year old and a 2 year old into Starbucks and expects to have a relaxing conversation with another adult! What can I say, I was still flying high on my superior mothering experience from the park.

You know what happened. The kids were good for approximately 3 minutes, long enough for me to order my drink but not long enough for me to get it. By the time Melissa arrived they had alienated all of the customers with their ear-piercing screams (Vivian's new trick: it's awesome) and bossy snatching and refusal to share (one of Isaac's old and numerous tricks: also awesome). Melissa and I stayed and chatted for a quick 15 minutes or so, while the kids yelled at decibel levels only appropriate during air shows and I ineffectually tried to quiet them by threatening to leave about 12 times. I fully expected one of the other patrons to stand up and say, "Lady, you keep threatening to leave but then you never do. Take those kids and get out of here!" It would have been fully within their rights to do so, and it only says good things about those patrons that they didn't. I have a feeling, however, that they headed over to Blogging Baby to vent their frustrations before we had left the building.

Sigh. Melissa was adorable, though. Very forgiving of the two cretins--she even had toys to hand out!--and just exactly like I expected her to be. I know I keep telling you what to read, and god knows you don't want to take advice from me (I can't even keep my kids under control for 15 minutes at Starbucks!), but still. Go read her blog, if you don't already.

Well. The Starbucks visit from hell was followed by the pooping extravaganza, no naps, and the grocery store debacle. Okay, I thought. Universe, you smacked me down good. I have learned my lesson. No more condescending thoughts! I promise!

Today, we went back to the same park (what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment). Again, the tire swing proved to be a very large point of contention, even though I had made it a point to discuss the tire swing and the behavior required to be allowed to play on the tire swing before we got there. I got down on their level, I was calm and understanding but firm, etc. etc. etc. Minute three into our park stay, a fight ensued over who was going to ride the tire swing. I got up and explained the rules again, calmly. Two minutes later, another fight. I got up and explained again, following the explanation with a warning: one more fight and we were going home. Thirty seconds later, a fight. Then began the real fun: trying to corral a sobbing and hysterical 3-year-old into the car about 100 yards away without leaving the also sobbing 2-year-old by herself for too long. Three trips later (one for the older kid, one for the younger kid, and one for my Chai Tea Latte and two pairs of sandals) I had both kids (still screaming) in the car. You can bet I wasn't looking around today to see which mothers were admiring my skills. In fact, I kept my eyes down at all times, afraid to even make eye-contact, lest one of them be laughing in my face.

I am shamed. I am humble. Please forgive me, O Creative Power of the Universe. Surely, the scales can tip back in my favor soon?

*Update: (shhh!) we did just have a particularly good afternoon, including a quick trip to the grocery store AND a meal at Rubio's. (Where, I need to add, the clerk was obviously a mom since she included two cups and two bowls of rice with the one kids' meal that I bought, and she remembered to skip the toy and the churro. Bless her.)

I thank you, O Creative Power of the Universe. I genuflect in front of you, for as long as you wish.

Quick Public Announcement

Did you cry last week, when you read the editor's note at the end of Catherine Newman's post at Babycenter? You know, the one that says she won't be writing there anymore? I did.

I have read Bringing Up Ben and Birdy since before Birdy was born. In fact, it's the first "blog" I ever read, and it was through reading it that I found Psycho Kitty, and through her that I found all of you, and thus began my own blog.

When I think about it, without Catherine Newman, my life would be very different. As much as I insist that blogging, for me, is "just an outlet", or "just a community", it is also true that those two things are incredibly important to me and my sanity. While I have no desire to make money from the blog, or become published because of the blog, I still rely on it to lift my spirits every day. It's a really big part of my life.

So thank you, Catherine, for sharing your life in such a beautiful and inspiring way for the last 3 years. Thank you for introducing me to this world of people that would become such wonderful friends.

And thank you for not going away entirely. Her new column can be found here. And look! She has a "real" blog now, too.

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's all good.

You know when you have to run to the store with the kids to get dinner, and you're already annoyed because 1. neither one took a nap today, and 2. your 3-1/2 year old who has not had an accident in 6 months pooped in his underwear before lunch and then again in his pull-up during his non-existent nap, not to mention the 2 year old for some reason has been pooping 3 times a day for the last forever, and then you go to the store and it's really crowded so there aren't any two-kid carts, which means the 3-1/2 year old has to walk along side you, which really means he runs all over the store pulling shit from the shelves and running into people and NOT LISTENING TO YOU, and when you finally get all the things you need and get in line the person in front of you (elderly, but not old) decides to write a check instead of using her check card and of course she doesn't even bother to get the checkbook out until all of her groceries are rung up and while she is ever-so-fucking-slowly writing out the numbers both kids are pulling the Slim Jims out of the container and whacking each other over the head and also begging for some Altoids and look mom there is a Nemo balloon and I must have a Nemo balloon, and you think you might actually, physically "blow your top" if you don't get out of the line and as you are watching the elderly, but not old, biddy in front of you slowly rip the check out of her book and hand it over to the check-out lady and then root around in her wallet for her id, you imagine for a minute what it would be like to reach over and grab the ball point pen from her hand and shove it deep into your own eye socket in the hopes that you will 1. pass out from the pain. or 2. die right there on the spot?

Do you know?

And then as you are walking out to the car you see a small, blonde, twenty-something breeze over to her convertible with her grocery bag of Honey Nut Cheerios and beer which causes you to actually tear up as you scream at the 3-1/2 year old to HOLD ONTO THE CART WE ARE IN A PARKING LOT AND IF YOU DON'T WATCH OUT A CAR WILL HIT YOU because once upon a time you were that girl and now you feel more sorry for yourself than usual (and this is saying a lot, actually).

But then once you finally get all the damn groceries in the sweltering car and both kids strapped into the carseats and the windows down and the AC on to give you a break from the heat, then the Curious George cd comes on (again), but by some miracle the kids are now quiet in the back and the cd is actually kind of soothing and so by the time you get home you are feeling so much better that when you pull into the driveway and turn off the car and then turn around to look at the hellions who have conspired to put you out of your ever-loving mind all day, all you can see is their blue blue eyes and their sweet sweet smiles, and so instead of marching them immediately to their room so you can have some peace you say, "Hey, beautiful children. I love you".


And they both say, in unison: "I love you too, Mommy."

These are the people that will attend my high school reunion.

I'm not kidding, either.

Via my new best friend, Jen.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Marriage counseling: Session One

Okay, let's get this out of the way: Lance totally won today.

Lance! Lance won! How is that possible? I was so sure that we'd be leaving our session today with the counselor sympathetically patting my shoulder and commiserating about what a tough road I have to hoe (road to hoe? is that right? what does that even mean?*) with Lance as my husband.

Instead, I got this: "Well, Amy, I'm not saying you shouldn't be annoyed. You can be annoyed. But you should also be aware that in this way, you are actually trying to control what he's saying." ME? Control LANCE? WTF? It is my contention that Lance is the control freak in our relationship!

Fucking quack.

I feel compelled to add this, though: Even while he was ever so (NOT) gently calling me a controlling bitch, he admitted that I was "clinically correct." Ha! As in, "actually, it's true that you are clinically correct, that his way of communicating here is not entirely honest and that we may have to take a bit longer to get to the meat of what he is saying, but that's his style, and that's okay. He's not changing his style, even though you have indicated your annoyance with it three different times in this session."

I'm giving myself a point or two for that, I don't care what anybody says. I was clinically correct! That means I am smart! And that's all I need to know.

*Wait! Now I get it: Row to hoe! You know, like the farmers, hoeing their rows. (it's starting to sound dirty now, isn't it?)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

BlogHer, the necessary gushing post

Note: I would upload my pictures to Flickr or post them here, but my mother-in-law checks out my flickr page, and she has no idea about the blog and so--it ain't gonna happen. Fortunately, I'm too much of a dork to take many pictures anyway, so you're only missing a few.

First of all, if you ever go to BlogHer, you need to room with Yvonne. Period. There is just no other way to experience it. Yvonne is fucking hilarious, (which you know, because you read her blog--right? You NEED to be reading her blog!), but also totally sweet and considerate. She knew I was a "bit" nervous about the whole meeting-700-women-for-the-first-time-in-a-new- environment-thing, so she kept checking in with me, to make sure I wasn't curled up in a fetal ball under a table somewhere. Fortunately, most people were so kind and funny that I actually DID do okay (the fetal ball came later--two bottles of wine in 3 hours later). I never would have attended BlogHer without Yvonne's insistence, and I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed myself as much without her presence. I'm so glad we've gotten to know each other over the past year or so and been able to hang out and talk (on the phone! I know!) and swap stories and be friends. Everyone at BlogHer wanted to meet Yvonne, because she's awesome, and so is her blog, and it felt great that she was the person I knew best at the whole event.

So. Yvonne was awesome, but I already knew that. Guess who else is awesome? (Again, this will come as no surprise.) NANCY! I love her! I've been reading her blog for months now--in fact, I think it is through Nancy that I fell into that whole IzzyMom--Her Bad Mother--Motherhood Uncensored circle, and I'm so glad I did, because my other circles were not there (more on that later). Back to Nancy. Nancy is completely adorable. She completely understood my neuroses (all of them) and was more than willing to sit down and chat with me for hours on end, when everybody else had other places to be. Whenever I felt overwhelmed or lonely or scared, I could search the room for Nancy, and as soon as I found her, I knew it would be okay. I felt totally comfortable going up to her and asking if I could sit with her--she was the most welcoming person there, to me, and I am truly grateful. Best part about it? I didn't feel like she was doing me any favors. I felt like she wanted to sit and talk to me, and that was a very welcome feeling for this nervous introvert. I'm sure all of you are already reading her blog, but if you haven't clicked over yet, please do it now. She is hilarious and smart--a unique combination!--and you won't be disappointed.

I'm not going to go on and on about the other women--you've been reading about them all day elsewhere in the Blogosphere today anyway. Just rest assured that I LOVED meeting Izzy (gorgeous!), Christina (who also took the time to check in with me every now and then--how sweet is that?), HBM, Kristen, Liz, Mommy Off the Record (who only showed up for the last night so we didn't get to talk enough, no fair!), Jennster (even MORE animated in real life than on her blog, and you didn't think that was possible, did you?), Becky, Lena, Tammy (totally beautiful in real life--not to mention, she sat through kid stories with incredible grace), Zoot, Mindy, Dutch, Wood & Juniper (I only shook hands with them, but what an adorable family), and so on and so on and so on. (Seriously, I'm getting carpal tunnel from all the linking, I just can't do it anymore.)

But. The best part about BlogHer? Meeting some new cool peeps! I hadn't anticipated that, for some reason, and was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of strangers, so to speak. First of all, my new best friend is Jen. Maybe you already know her. Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. Then there was Roo: gorgeous and kind and friendly all at once. Elizabeth from Table for Five was incredibly welcoming and fun, and it felt like I'd known her forever. Sue from RedStapler kept quietly cracking me up. We'd just be sitting there, and someone would say something, and then she'd make a joke, completely without ceremony. I loved it. Nancy's friend Amy (lots of Amys, Kristens and Jens at Blogher) was sweet and edgy all at once. I also met Maria from Alembic who was fascinating. You probably know Dawn, but I didn't, and now I wonder why.

In fact, there were TONS of bloggers there I didn't know and had never heard of. Reminded me just how huge the "blogosphere" is, and what a small spec I occupy. The worst thing about blogHer was the fact that my first loves--you awesome ladies who kept me company way back in the beginning and still mean so much to me--were not there. I loved meeting new people and meeting some of the folks on my blogroll, but honestly, I really, really missed the rest of you.

Seriously. The linkage on this post is going to kill me. But I do have to mention one more--and it's a bit of a name drop, though I really wish it wasn't.

Saturday night, both Yvonne and I were feeling faintly puckish (can't imagine why), and the food at the cocktail party did not look exactly welcoming. We loaded up our plates with congealed- cheese-covered-potato skins anyway, but when we ran into Beth, and she suggested we leave the hotel and get some real food, we jumped at the chance. I knew who Beth was--way back when I first started blogging I had stumbled onto her blog from a Dooce link--but I hadn't read her in a while. I am not sure why I stopped, but I think it was just one of those things--I didn't know how to use my blogrolling account very well yet and forgot to link her or maybe I thought that, as a friend of Dooce's, she sure as shit wouldn't need or want any new readers. In any event, Beth and Yvonne know each other through blogging, and so there I was, out to dinner with two "celebrities". (That is the part I hate, and which I'll write about later. Who the fuck cares if you are a blog "celebrity"? Why do I feel like people are going to roll their eyes at me and call me a kiss-ass just because I went out to dinner with them? Hate it.) Beth is completely engaging and totally refreshing. I can't tell you how nice it was to be out to dinner with the two of them, away from all the social politics at BlogHer, away from people running up and gushing over them whilst ignoring me. Nice to feel like both Beth and Yvonne respected me and wanted to hang out with me, and didn't give one rat's ass if my blog gets 10 hits or 10,000 hits a day. (And you all know it's 10,000, right?) Thanks, Beth and Yvonne, for proving to me how easy it is to be genuine and kind, even if you have a "big" blog.

And that is what I did at BlogHer. What I didn't do? Attend ANY of the conference classes, even though Trish was kind enough to sign her pass over into my name since she couldn't come at the last minute. I couldn't find the motivation to attend, and was much happier hanging out at the pool with Nancy, and Jen, and Tammy etc. (Well, okay, also Saturday morning I was puking up foam, so classes seemed less then appealing.)

All you need to know about BlogHer

This man carded me. HE ASKED FOR MY ID. I fell in love with him immediately, and I blame that for the fact that I somehow found myself puking into the toilet and passing out by 9pm on Friday night. Woo Hoo! I am the life of the party!

Actually, the more I think about it, I'm quite sure that I simply got a bad shrimp, and had a bad case of food poisoning. Maybe I should look into suing the hotel. I mean, sure, nobody else got food poisoning, but maybe none of the other 400 women in attendence Friday night ate the shrimp. Maybe there just happened to be only one bad shrimp, and I was the unlucky one to consume it. I can't imagine the hours of vomiting and moaning had anything to do with the fact that I drank 3 beers and the equivalent of one bottle of wine in 3 hours. (Social anxiety plus free wine = drunk Amy.)

By the way, if Yvonne told you on Saturday morning that she was really worried about me because I was "frothing at the mouth", it wasn't really true. I mean, there was a moment when I thought "well, puking up foam is better than puking up eggrolls" but that's all. You know Y, she's such an exaggerator! Posted by Picasa