BlogHer 2006 – Almost as comfortable as getting an enema

So. The Alpha Mom interview. Sigh. Here’s the story:

Leah Peah was asked by Alpha Mom to do interviews of various bloggers. How in the hell I got on the list, I’ll never know, but I was so excited when I got the email from her regarding it, I might have peed a little bit. I’m sure I called everyone I knew to say, “GUESS WHAT?! I’m being interviewed!”

I’m kinda regretting that move now, because they’ll be expecting the link when the thing goes live. And I am thinking I’ll reveal that about the time I reveal the circumference of my thighs. Which is NEVER.

I was actually really nervous about meeting Leah. She is one of those writers who I’ve always thought had the power to change people’s lives with her stories. She writes so truthfully, her entries are so raw and honest and she has moved me with her words in ways few have. I just knew there would be an aura of wisdom around her that I could have only hoped to be permeated by. I was right.

Leah had emailed me the set of questions she would ask days before the actual interview. I memorized my answers and rehearsed giving them so often I could do it while sounding casual and relaxed. Little did I know how much would change when I got in front of a damn camera.

When I got to the appointment, Chris made me beautiful while Mario mic’d me up. It was very surreal because I felt kinda like a rock star. They sat me down and did a few sound checks while Leah got ready. Leah then made sure I had answers to all the questions, and I responded that I did. Because, well, I did. At that moment.

Unfortunately, somewhere between Leah explaining to me how I’d have to wait a beat after she asked the question before I answered and when Mario started filming, I forgot all of my answers. (I also forgot to wait a beat after the questions…because I’m an idiot.) I was unable to speak without saying the word, “Umm…” or “Like…” I also don’t think I used any words with more than two syllables and possibly the two-syllable ones were used incorrectly. Let’s just say I suffered a complete lack of any remotely intelligent conversational skills. All while Leah stayed poised and calm and intelligent and just all-around superb.

As Leah asked me the questions, I racked my brains for my well thought out answers. With most of them? I was quickly able to salvage the precontemplated answers into a mildly intelligent answer. MILDLY. Except, of course, for the question: What is your hot parenting tip?

I’m not even going to tell you what I said, because it was the ONLY thing I could think of since I had used it in a question earlier. And when the interview was almost over? I still couldn’t remember my pre-thought-out answer. And that night? I still couldn’t remember. As a matter of fact – I didn’t remember the answer until the next morning at the airport. My hot parenting tip: Keep a collection of old clothes and jewelery around for play time/dress-up. I mean, it’s not that hot of a tip, but it’s ten times better than the one I gave. I’m a MORON.

After the interview was over, Mario had to film me nodding. Yes, you heard me correctly – NODDING. It was hysterical. The footage would be spliced in with the rest of the interview later – and they did the same for Leah. Except – Leah had to do specific nods as Mario called them out, “Interested nod. Entertained nod. Concerned nod. etc” Leah then sent me off with some Alpha Mom swag as well as a rockin’ bracelet I have shown off to everyone, “Look! Leah made this! I’m so cool!” And yes, I’m well aware that declaring my own coolness is actually quite self-defeating, but I can’t quite help it.

All in all? It was an okay experience. Meeting Leah and the privilege of being interviewed made my fumbling during the interview seem less severe. I’m just praying Mario can perform some voodoo magic and make the final product make me look at least a little intelligent. If that’s at all possible.

BlogHer 2006 – The Bastard Child of the Hyatt Family

Dude. Have you heard about the hotel we stayed in for BlogHer? Bah. Now – let me go on record saying two things: 1) I love Hyatt. I have never met a Hyatt I didn’t like. The one in Knoxville used to have a giant Christmas tree of Poinsettias and an elevator that went outside. 2) The Hyatt at San Jose was perfect for the BlogHer convention. It had the facilities we needed and the catering and the rooms all in one place.

All of that said? Strictly speaking of it as a hotel I happened to stay in this weekend? IT SUCKED. Our room smelled like stale laundry and the mattresses in our room had craters in the middle of them so that we wound up on top of each other by morning. The faucet to the bathroom broke and there was no bathtub. Only a shower. And showering with a baby is difficult because babies are SLIPPERY when they’re soapy and I just knew I was going to drop NikkiZ on her wet head. There were mystery stains on the floor and the pillows had hairs that were NOT mine on them. The elevators were dirty and the stairwell was scary. But do you want to know the worst part about it?

It was a Pepsi place. As in – of all 20 or so soda machines on the property? They ALL SOLD PEPSI. Do you know what that means? I went four days only drinking the Diet Coke that Brit and her husband were willing to share with me. I had to have Diet Pepsi the whole time. NO DIET COKE. I thought I was going to die. As a matter of fact? I did die. I died from Diet Coke deficiency and I am now nothing more than a Diet Pepsi hating ghost, wandering the world haunting facilities like the Hyatt in San Jose.

BlogHer 2006 – If I had a chance with the microphone

As many of you have read over the last few months, there has been a lot of analysis in the blogosphere of the word and the act of “Mommyblogging.” Are you a Mommyblogger? Is that a bad thing? What if you don’t write about your kids? What if someone uses it as an insult? What do you call yourself besides Hott Sexy Mama Who Blogs?

I have a short attention span and stopped caring about that debate/topic about the time I discovered that I can play games on my cell phone.

Well, I went to a Mommyblogging panel at BlogHer. The brilliant women on the panel were Mir, Sweetney, and Alice. I was really looking forward to that panel because I was hoping people would ask them the questions I wanted to hear answered.

(There was no way in hell I was going to ask because I’m a big fat chicken shit. If you doubt that? Just wait until you hear the story of The Time I Spoke To Dooce. Otherwise titled Why Am I Such A Goddamn Freak? or maybe Brit’s version titled Just Shut Up Already And Introduce Yourself to Her Because I’m Effin’ Sick Of Hearing You Talk About It. )

However, because of the recent debates over use of the word “Mommyblogger,” as well as the fact that some blogger posted an insulting post about Mommybloggers the night before the event – the panel turned out to be much more about the controversy instead of the act itself. Now – I completely understand this. Not everyone has adult onset ADD like I do and might actually not be done discussing these debates. But since I had already moved on in my head – I had some other things I wished to talk about.

SO! Without further ado – we are holding our own panel. Are you ready? I’m going to ask the questions and you’re going to respond. Either on your blog (if it inspires you to write about it) and you can leave a link. Or, just respond in the comments. I’ll post my responses and links to your entries about it later this week. Are you ready? Where’s the mic? tap, tap Is this thing on? Here we go…

1. Do your kids know about your blog? If they’re too young to know, do you plan to keep it open to them as they get older?

2a. If so – do you worry they may get embarrassed later? What would you do if they asked you to stop writing about them? What would you do if they wanted you to take it down all together?

2b. If not, what are you doing to make sure they never find it? What if they do find it?

3. Do you think our kids will appreciate the archive of their childhood? Do you wish your parents had done the same?

4. Do you go back and re-read your past parenting milestones? Do you realize you forgot a lot?

5. What about your children’s friends/teachers/moms-of-friends? What if they found your blog? Do you tell your child not to tell anyone about it or are they free to talk about it? Do you worry their teachers or other parents will think it’s weird?

Have at it!

BlogHer 2006 – My Traveling Nightmares Realized

I am still processing the insanity/inspiration/beauty/thrill that was my BlogHer 2006 experience. Until then? Why don’t I relay to you the awesome experience I had traveling across the country with and infant.

And by awesome? I mean that I may need intense therapy before I’ll ever take a plane trip with NikkiZ again.

FRIDAY: We got on the plane to Atlanta pretty easily. Between that and NikkiZ sleeping all the way to Atlanta, I was incubating a false sense of security about how the rest of the traveling would go. “This is easy!” After landing in Atlanta, we had to drag the baby, two laptop bags and two regular carry-on bags for about ninety miles to another concourse.It was then that I realized that an infant should totally count as a carry-on; if only but to keep morons like me from carrying two bags as well as an infant all over the country and back.


We ate lunch somewhere between the arrival gate and the departure gate. Paying way too much for way too little, of course. Lunch at an airport is not relaxing, especially when afterwards you find out that your already long hour-and-a-half layover was turning into a three hour layover. What do you do with a mobile infant during a long layover? You let them crawl around on the gross floor and contract god-only-knows what germs and eat who knows what crumbs all while you pop xanax and count the seconds until the plane boards.

You also say repeatedly to your life-saver of a son, “Why don’t you walk your sister around while Mommy drinks this beer?” You also may buy things like lotion from The Body Shop simply because it peaked your daughter’s interest for more than three seconds.

After an insanely long wait, and being hit with an incredibly aching back and shoulders from dragging my shit across the airport forever, we finally boarded and thank GOD, NikkiZ slept the entire flight.

SUNDAY: We left our rooms around 4:45am and drug our shit across the Hyatt complex because I’m too stubborn to ask for help, even from hotel staff. We left the hotel at 5am so I could try to get new seat assignments to get LilZ and I since we were actually about 15 rows apart. It was painfully early. The ticket lady when we checked our luggage pointed us in one direction to security. Because it was so damn early, I didn’t check the signs and just got in line at security. We made it all the way through security, even passed TWO people checking our boarding passes. Then? Some maintenance guy stopped us and pointed out we were on the wrong concourse.

I am such a dumbass.

We re-crossed the airport (dragging much lighter carry-ons this time) to the correct concourse and after we went through security, I realized there was no food past the security checkpoint. LilZ hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and in one hour we’d be getting on the plane for 4+ hours with no food in our bellies = EVIL. LilZ, being the best kid in the world just said, “It’s okay, Mom. I’m not really hungry.” I’m betting he knew my emotional stability was at risk so he was trying to keep me calm. Smart Kid.

I was feeling bad for starving my child but I couldn’t fret for long as I had to get in line to get our seats changed. As I was sitting in line there was a huge verbal war between two people on either side of where LilZ was sitting. He looked incredibly uncomfortable as I just mouthed to him, “I’m so sorry” for the nine hundredth time of the trip. I felt so bad for him and I think it was at that moment that he started considering finding another relatively sane looking woman in the concourse and offering to be her new son.

As I was in line, and the crowd for other seat requests was gathering behind me, NikkiZ decided to start screaming. Like – SCREAMING. The kind that made everyone give me dirty looks and scowls. I heard one person say, “Well, this ought to be a fun flight.” I wanted to shoot them in the face. Then, when the employees started making announcements over the loud speakers, no one could hear them over the screaming. He had to pause and spit out what he needed to say between her screams. It was AWESOME.

The computers were down, the lines were long, the crowd was rude, and I was on the verge of shooting myself. They finally took my boarding passes and promised to get our seats changed. As I was just about to burst into tears, Angela (a blog idol whose blog I’m sure you read) stopped me and asked if she could help in any way. Even though I considered handing her my screaming daughter and running for the hills, I declined her offer politely. However, the offer itself and the kindness it showed, rejuvenated me so I didn’t feel on the verge of an anxiety attack any longer. We eventually made it on the plane and I kept my boob in NikkiZ’s mouth the entire flight so she’s sleep – and she did. Much to the pleasure of the passengers of that same flight.

We were pleased to only have an hour layover at the Atlanta airport and planned to grab lunch to go to eat on the short flight home. HA! Can you guess what happened?

The hour turned into 3. Of course. And when we finally boarded the plane? We sat parked for another 45 minutes because of fueling issues. So, if we had rented a car when we landed from San Jose, we could have been home faster than flying.

So, the moral of the story? If I ever have to travel with NikkiZ but without MrZ again? I’m either hiring anyone someone to escort me or I’m shipping her with UPS. Depends on the time of year because I’m betting a box gets hot in the summertime.

Still another quickie (Edited to add more randomness)

Eventually I’ll finish the long and meaningful post about Blogher and what it’s like to meet or be around women who have inspired me or moved me or simply changed my life with their writing. Until then? More of the minutia surrounding the event.

  • The hotel was a little, um, used to say the least. And my room did not have a bathtub so I had to shower with NikkiZ and that was ROUGH since babies get so damn slippery when they’re soapy and wet.
  • Some people are WAAAY cooler in person
  • It is fun having your make-up done by an expert. It’s even more fun when he comments on how great your foundation looks and you know deep down you bought it at target.
  • I am NOT comfortable being filmed. AT ALL. I felt very alien and moronic and idiotic and foolish and every other negative word you can think of. Remind me not to take Oprah’s job when they offer it to me.
  • The one panel I was looking forward too ended up disappointing me (more on that later when I finish processing it all) but the one I just went to because some friends snuck in there was AWESOME.
  • I found new blogs to read! Who would have guessed?
  • I’m going to miss these women. I need to take them home with me.