In Summary

The first day of the conference was good, even though I didn't choose my panels wisely, nor did I pay enough attention to them when I got there. Whoever thought that bringing a laptop with wireless Internet capability to a conference was a good idea, you were wrong, wrong, wrong. The temptation to ignore the people in front of you in favor of the ones showing up on your computer is harrowing. I blogged through the first session so I can't tell you a single thing about it except that I kept IMing with Melissa, who was four inches away from me. At some point during a break I was astonished to meet Lori.

(Photo by Suebob.)

Earlier in the year Lori and I had swapped books, but I had no idea she was going to be in San Jose, or that I would like her so much. After lunch we decided to go to the podcasting panel together, where it soon became apparent that I was more interested in hearing about her co-ed hocky league than learning to use an application that neither of us could open with a Mac operating system.

I'm still kicking myself for missing Heather Champ's digital photography session, I heard it was fantastic. (The podcast will be up on the BlogHer site soon.) But I chose to spend those precious moments going to Safeway to buy beer with Alice.

The $$$ Generation panel was good, I paid attention for once and learned everything I was doing wrong with my text ads and how to make it all right. (Text ads are just like makeup! You have to make them blend, blend, blend.)

Then later I was back in Melissa and Alice's room trying to get through to my husband on my cell when I happened to glance through the window and saw Angela strolling through the parking lot wearing espadrilles and a charmingly appliqued skirt. I shoved the phone under my chin and nearly broke my painted fingernails trying to slide open the hotel window. Then I stuck out my head and shouted, "Angela! Angela!" And then, to put a finer point on it, I bellowed, "FLUID PUDDING!"

That got her attention. I mean, I know everyone has different boundaries about publishing photos on their web sites, but your chances of having me scream your name at the top of my lungs increase sharply if I know what you look like.

The second morning I slept through yoga, ate some breakfast with my pod, and got pumped for the Mommyblogger panel.

I'm not sure what exactly happened with this session but instead of letting the woman with the cordless microphone walk through the crowd, people spontaneously started lining up down the side of the room and handing off the microphone to each other. So instead of a free-flowing conversation, the panel started with one question -- how does everyone feel about the term "mommyblogger"? -- and never got much beyond that.

And since this had conflicted with Maggie's panel, which I had also wanted to see, podcast, podcast, podcast.

After lunch with jenB and the ladies from Stylehive I caught some of the From Here to Autonomy session, which was packed, and in which Heather in particular had some interesting things to say, but then I bugged out to go change for my panel and see if I could do something with my hair.

Turns out I couldn't:

(Photo by Karianna)

Flickr is bursting with evidence of the embarrassing turns my hair took that day so I won't belabor the point. I was happy, however, with how the panel discussion turned out. Our topic was a little vague to begin with, and my opening salvo was a little shaky ("So! Jen, Elizabeth, you both use images AND text on your blogs! Isn't that interesting!"). Jen and Elizabeth took my rather underinflated ball and ran for the endzone. Again, I'll link to the podcast when it goes up, in case you're interested in hearing the point about ten minutes in when a bright red caterpillar fell onto the table in front of us. That bug was photographed, podcast, and turned into a watercolor sketch. We made that bug into art! So there.

After that we all headed over to hear the final keynote. I liked Arianna Huffington more than I thought I would. (There's a funny story about her meeting Alice, which I won't tell because it's Alice's story, but you should ask her about it. It involves punctuation.)

I was absolutely wiped after that, but the siren call of commerce held me fast, and I got Heather and Alice to help me haul three bags of t-shirts over to a place by the pool they were calling the Swap Meet. I stood there for three hours and got rid of nearly every t-shirt I had in stock. I was so high on retail that I barely noticed that I hadn't had anything to eat for eight hours, but Jenny, god bless her for all eternity, stood in line for half an hour and returned with a Yahootini for me.

My pockets overflowing with twenties, I then went and stuffed myself with the most expensive thing on the menu while jenB, Angela, and Laid-off Dad averted their eyes from the hideous vacuum that had once been my mouth.

By the way, it was great that LOD showed up and I hope we made him feel like one of the girls. The few men who came to the conference were good about participating in discussions and drinking their fair share, and so I salute them and call out for more of the same next year in Chicago.

That was about it. Apart from driving the wrong way to the airport and making Alice almost miss her flight, and stopping for gas in Soledad, home of that famously fucked-up facility where Robert Downey, Jr. was incarcerated a few years back, I made it back home in four and a half hours, kissed my husband, collapsed into bed, wrapped my arms around my boy and watched the end of Doctor Doolittle 2 with him, ate a pile of take-out sushi, and slept for fourty-eight hours straight.

Here is my post from last year's conference.