Yeah, I have a lot to talk about. But DANG, I'm tired. For now, I'll point you to some pictures. If you want to see the few people I photographed (I was usually too busy carrying crap around to take pictures of the other attendees), visit this photoset, by clicking on this very flattering shot (which made Explore at #239, by the way) of Chris:
To see what I saw in the very little time I had available to wander around Chicago, visit this set, by clicking on the headless torso:
To see a truckload of Amy Sedaris shots, Visit this set by clicking on Amy:
I'll let someone else talk about the Dinner of Ridiculousness on Friday night, that lasted 5 hours and whose bill included a COMMA in the number, and I'll let someone else describe the French farce that was our quest to gain a hotel room to sleep in Friday night, and the rags-to-riches result of that experience.
The very quick version of my BlogHer experience, aside from the few physical difficulties discussed previously? My experience was pleasant. I did not meet, nor was I made to suffer, anybody yucky. The panels I attended were absolutely fantastic. My favorites were "It's Your Passion, Not Your Size That Matters," or "Small is Beautiful," and "Blogging is More Than Words," (this was my SUPER-FAVORITE, and the artists on the panel are all my new heroes) and "The Art of Crafts," which also has a podcast available. You can hear me on there, somewhere between 1/3 and halfway through, talking about soapmaking, and then poodles, at which point Amy calls me "cuckoo," which I think was the best part for me. Then later I read on a fansite a list of "Amy's dislikes," which included..."HOMEMADE SOAP." Wheeeeee! But she still signed my book.
I picked up my share of swag, including a DVD of a new PBSKids show, "Word World," which Bella LOVES, so if your kid is "of that age" and words are fascinating him or her, be sure and check this show out. Maybe there really is something modern that can compete with the classic episodes of The Electric Company. It's about time, I say! The only things I bought were a Land O' Lakes butter squaw who flashes her boobs, crafted by Amy Sedaris (and the delightful Karianna bought, also from Amy, a golden glittery "magic wand" for Bella!), and...an American Girl doll that I had promised my daughter.
Don't judge me too harshly for the doll. We almost never buy anything "major" for Bella, having figured out early on that it's much smarter to leave that sort of thing to the grandmothers, but somehow, an American Girl catalog infiltrated this house (I blame the previous owners), and she had a fit over the "Just Like Me" doll that looked like her (natch). And THEN, when Kelly and Shash, my fabulous roomies, sent me a link to the downtown Marriott where we'd be staying, Bella happened to be looking over my shoulder and saw the whole "American Girl Place Room Package" that the hotel offers, in which they set up tiny accommodations FOR YOUR DOLLS, and, well, as they say, the rest is history.
(cheap, of course), drop me a line. I have a 5th birthday to plan for way too soon.
Kelly had to flit off and leave Shash and I on Saturday night, but the two of us had a fine time, and Shash did not complain one bit when I began to crumple in a heap of crippled, blubbering goo. She just went and got me a Co-Cola, and in the meantime I was consoled by a delightful young woman I'd never even met, who saw me crying by the bathroom and spoke with me for several minutes, seeming genuinely concerned for my welfare. That blogger was Casey from Indianapolis (lots of great things come out on Indy, don't they, Sue?), and you should check her out. The incredible sweetheart of a woman who sat on the "cripple bench" (she had sprained her ankle pretty badly) with me at the final reception is also very much worth knowing. Her name is Cynthia. Go visit.
I did hear a little bit of griping here and there, but I've just about decided that with an event like BlogHer, you're going to take out of it pretty much what you bring into it. If you're bitter, jealous, shallow, judgmental, petty, or just a general malcontent, well, then, you're going to have plenty to complain about. If you go in with an open mind and a welcoming heart, you're going to have the time of your life...even if it nearly kills you.
Oh, one more thing: JenB was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. When I look back now, at all the trepidation and anxiety I felt about meeting so many intimidatingly wonderful women (and men--the men were representin' this year!) this time last week, I laugh. People were just as happy to meet me as I was them, a fact that still has me in somewhat of a state of wonder. And in that vein, I will pass on to you a piece of advice that my mother's been giving me for YEARS. When someone pays you a compliment (in my case, it was usually some variation of "I really love your writing."), instead of sputtering and spitting out self-deprecating drivel for half a minute, just STOP, take a breath, SMILE, and simply say, "THANK YOU!" They almost assuredly meant the compliment if they took the trouble to speak it. So to everyone I sputtered at because you said something nice? Sorry about getting spittle on you, and THANK YOU. I enjoyed you all so very much.
And thank you to my husband, who did a fantastic job with his "daddy-daughter weekend," even though it took its toll on him, which he's paying now. He was Bella's dream-date, and if you don't believe me, check out what they spent an afternoon making (speaking of CRAFTS), following the instructions from the end of the Disney "Sleeping Beauty 2" DVD--this princess was once a humble plastic bottle and a sock.
Oh, and before I forget: A very special and heartfelt thanks to Elisa Camahort, firstly for giving me the opportunity to come to the conference at all by letting me earn my way via live-blogging (which was HARD, for any of you that may be considering it in the future--take it seriously), but mostly for assigning me to the "More Than Words" session, which turned out to be the one session that meant more to me than any other, even though I THOUGHT I wanted to be at the "Momosphere" session instead. God moves in mysterious ways...sometimes through Elisa. ;-)