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.)

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