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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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Wednesday
Aug032005

BlogHer, BlogMe

Last Friday, I was on a JetBlue flight, surrounded by the Greenwich, Connecticut Boys’ Water Polo team who are headed to the Junior Olympics in San Jose. This was announced by the pilot, whose voice I was too busy scrutinizing for slurring or tipsy joie de vivre to appreciate what I was in for: five hours of good-natured, sun-bleached young boys wearing flip-flops and torn jean shorts and stepping over my lap every two minutes. It was physically impossible for these kids to sit still. I could hear them straining against their seat belts during takeoff. They were sweet, but I quickly had had enough of being knocked to one side while I attempted to sleep. And sometime during the flight, my lower back began to protest sitting for so long. I was in agony. I was sweating and trying to knead my lower back with my knuckles, while I considered asking one of these boys for a massage. Could you imagine? “Excuse me, young man—perhaps you wouldn’t mind palpating my lumbar region?” As I begin to unbutton my shirt. And one of their many guardians pushes me down to the aisle and locks me in a half-nelson.

 


Finally we arrived and somehow, although I was now officially all nervous and sweating, I made it to baggage claim and there was Melissa, frowning at Baggage Carousel #1. “This guy was throwing himself on the carousel trying to get at his luggage,” she said, “doesn’t he know it comes back around?”

“Shut up and come over here,” I said, and then I forced her to hug me. And I have to say, it was not an awkward hug at all. She explained that her friends have been helping her learn how to hug. Which was a good thing, because she was so adorable that if I hadn’t been able to hug her it might have killed me.

For a while everything was a blur, to be honest, because all I can think was, “Oh my god! I’m here with Melissa and she’s so cool! And I’m making her laugh!” Mrs. Kennedy observed at one point, “Alice was funny, but Melissa, you make her seem even funnier,” which was absolutely true. Melissa has the most infectious, addictive laugh that it made everyone else laugh even more. I was pretty much unbearable all weekend because nothing was as fun as making Melissa laugh. Not that she wasn’t funny in her own right, because oh God she was. If she wasn’t laughing at something I said, she was making me laugh, and we were pretty much hysterical from the moment we got in the taxi until… well, until she left.

While Melissa and I were settling in at the hotel and braying like donkeys at everything we did or said, Mrs. Kennedy called me to update us on her arrival, giving me a sneak preview of her husky incredibleness. Finally she arrived. As she attempted to check in we lurched toward her giggling and snorting. She raised one eyebrow at us and we gawked up at her and then we climbed step ladders to give her a hug. “There’s a Trader Joe’s near here,” say Mme. Kennedy. “I thought we could go buy drinks and snacks.” I like drinks and snacks, too! I thought. It’s all going to be all right!

I definitely felt like I had to grow up a little to become worthy of Mrs. Kennedy’s company. She’s hilarious but entirely sane and sure of himself, where I’m jumpy and dorky and sticking straws up my nose to get a laugh. Dooce called her “grounded,” and I think that about sums it up, and so I shall steal it. Grounded! It’s definitely from all the yoga.

I can’t fully explain how incredible it was to meet Melissa and Mrs. Kennedy. I’m struggling to make a joke here, but I can’t, for once. I had felt for a long time like they are two of my best friends, which felt awfully strange, as I had never met them. And then I met them, and they were even better than I had imagined, truly. Nicer, funnier, and hotter. I was free to make the most tasteless jokes I could think up around them and they still liked me. Or sometimes they made the joke before I did. The minute we were all together, all I could think was, Why in hell are we going to this BlogHer thing when we could hang out in the room for three straight days and have as much fun as three people are allowed to have?

However, we had already paid the money, and there were other people we wanted to see, actually. So we were off to find the BlogHer dinner.

A fellow blogger was nice enough to give us a ride to the restaurant, where the three of us proceeded to offend her sensibilities (and Ken Kato’s, who was sitting in the front seat). This was when I knew I was in the right company:



Melissa: I will now make a saucy comment about penises!

Woman: Ha, ha! I will quickly change the subject to let you know how inappropriate you are! Let’s talk about the restaurant!

Mrs. Kennedy: I will talk of penises, as well!

Me: Yes, yes! Penises, penises!

Melissa: I will top you all, with my penis talk!

Woman: Ha, ha! Cut that shit out, I am implying, as I talk once again about the goddamn restaurant!



By the end of the ride we were snorting and holding our mouths closed with our hands to keep from giggling out loud. I’m sure she hated us.

 

Then, to the dinner. Mexitalian! Italexican! It was fine, but beside the point; we were there to see our friends. When we arrived at the restaurant, there was JenB and Amanda.

Amanda was completely adorable and sweet and I want to remove her hair and paste it to my skull. And JenB! For no intelligent reason, I had always been intimidated by her, probably because she’s Canadian and she might bomb my house. And while she did threaten to do so a few times that night, she was also sweet and gracious and oh my god, so funny. In a dry, astonishingly smart way. She’s the person you want to sit next to at an event so you can catch every bit of her commentary. And then you can feel cool and glad that you’re on her side. And the “aboots” just aboot slayed me. Canadians! I also wanted some of her hair for my skull.

Suddenly, there was a blonde presence at the door, and a murmuring could be heard amongst the peoples. Could that be Heather? And was that tall redhead behind her, was that Maggie? It was. And we stood, for we were in the presence of royalty. Heather did a sly little strut over to us and I immediately removed my panties and tossed them in her direction. A friend of mine who reads Dooce just sent me an email calling Heather “The Simon LeBon of the '00s,” and I think that pretty much sums it up.


Heather’s first words to me, after we hugged, were “You are so cute.” Dooce called me cute. And, oh, god, in that Southern accent of hers. I removed my second pair of panties and handed them over.

Here’s the thing about Heather: as smart and funny as I already knew her to be, she was also incredibly gracious and warm and empathetic. When she’s listening to you, you kind of feel like you’re being heard for the first time. Then you want to sit in her lap. (And hand over your panties.) All the people who enjoy hurling abuse at her via the Internets would immediately be stricken with shame and deep regret if they ever had the pleasure of meeting her, she’s that gentle and sweet and lovely. Then again, all those people would probably also instantly fall in love with her and want her to live in their vans with them, forever and ever, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want to live in your van so you back the fuck off, you hear?

And Maggie! Another one who scared me, for no good reason except I didn’t know her beforehand so immediately assumed she was too cool for me. Which, pretty much, she was, but she still deigned to talk to me and make me eat JenB’s exotic foreign candies while we drank in our room. She’s incredibly funny and has impeccable comic timing; in addition, she was glamorous and eminently lickable. Although I held off, for both our sakes.



I wish I could tell you what Heather, Melissa, Mrs. Kennedy, JenB, Maggie, and Amanda and I talked about in our room that night. But there was a lot of drinking. At one point Heather became sincere and made Melissa cry. I remember thinking, “Hey, I’m not feeling as drunk as I thought I would feel!” and then a few minutes later I tried to string together some words and they were coming out all wrong and I put my head in my hands and said “Oh my god I was so drunk.”

After everyone leaves our room, Mrs. Kennedy and Melissa and I actually attempted to push the beds together. For a family bed! In our drunken minds, This made more sense than for us to decide who would get to sleep alone. Sadly, the beds were nailed to the wall, to stop the kinky sex perverts like us. So Melissa and I got to share a bed. Many jokes were made about spooning each other. In bed, Melissa will not stop talking and also begging us to make her stop talking. I considered making her stop by kissing her full on the mouth, but instead we listened to this: “Oh my god you guys I’m so drunk. Oh my god you guys I love you. I love you guys! I do! Oh my god you guys make me shut up. Don’t let me keep talking. Oh my god. You guys! Do any of you snore I hope you don’t snore! You guys!” Approximately 30 seconds after this monologue faded away, Melissa began to snore, loudly. And Mrs. Kennedy and I laughed at her. “You guys, stop it!” Melissa whimpered. Finally she went to sleep. And whapped me in the face several times throughout the night as she flung her limbs hither and yon.

We made it to the BlogHer conference the next day… eventually. Everyone was already there, all perky and ready for action, and we came stumbling in like a bunch of hungover adolescents, missing the opening meeting and sitting around a table, drinking coffee and wincing. People kept coming over and asking, “What group are you?” and we all responded, “Waa? Wuzza?” Then one of us realizes this was the allotted time for some kind of Birds of a Feather Meet-Ups or something. And we kept telling people that we were all just people sitting around. And then that person would get a glimpse of Heather and, temporarily blinded, stumble away.

Then Tracey entered our group. Tracey! What a surprise she was! I remembered that she had commented on my site a couple of times, and I had looked at her blog and thought, “She’s cool, I should really link to her,” and then I returned to picking my nose. My first thought about Tracey was that she was all punk rock, with her “Defend Baltimore” shirt and her white-blond hair, and then I wondered if she was going to beat me up. Thankfully she did not, even after I asked her some inane question like, “Didn’t you comment on my site? What did you say again?” Because I expect everyone to memorize their comments to me, apparently. Tracey sat with us and was incredibly funny and wondrous and quickly she was declared One Of Us. She fit seamlessly into our routine of Mocking Everything Around Us For No Good Reason.

Then there was our Flame, Blame and Shame lunch, in which I attempted to do all three to Melissa. Before the actual talk began somehow the discussion at the table turned to—of all things—vacuums. Heather intoned, “Dyson totally changed my life, y’all,” and we were hanging on her every word. We laughed self-consciously at our talk of vacuums and then we were all, “But seriously, you think the Dyson was worth the money?” and then Heather was like, “Hell, yeah.”

After lunch, Heather and Maggie left. We wept. Well, Melissa did. I’ve never met someone who cries more than I do! I like it!

Although I was enjoying the hell out of being with my friends and meeting all kinds of new people, I was also becoming increasingly annoyed by an undercurrent of derision aimed at the “Mommy Bloggers” (no matter how I try, I still hate that term). At the Mommy Blogging panel, an editor admonished us for always being the ones who attack each other and also for being upset with the NYT article. Which, um, isn’t true (for the first part) and misses the point (for the second). But whatever. If we’re not valued enough, it’s our own fault, and look, even when we get attention we whine about it. We are such whiny bitches.

Then at the closing seminar another comment was made in which mommy bloggers were dismissed, and my hand flew up. For about fifteen minutes I sat there with my hand straight up and I was going Oooh! Oooh! Ooh! Finally it was my turn, and I made up some shit about how mommy bloggers are important too, blah blah, and I wish I could remember what I said but I was too nervous. The important part was that I made Melissa cry. And that’s what I came for.

That night we got drunk again. At least, I tried. The previous night proved that I am not capable of the heavy drinking, and after a beer and single glass of wine, I knew I couldn’t handle a repeat performance. Melissa repeatedly told me how disappointed she was in me, and I attempted to Shame her by observing, “I guess it makes me uncool! That I can’t drink that much! I guess I’m not part of the cool crowd, is that what you’re saying!” and she shrugged and said, “Pretty much.”

We had worn out Eden, so we left her alone in the room and went to Tracey’s, where we laughed until we all felt sick and Melissa said, “You guys, I have to go to sleep” approximately 37 times. Melissa had to leave early the next day, so she said her final goodbyes to Tracey and Jen. And when Melissa and Tracey hugged, the Promise of the Awkward Hug was finally fulfilled. Oh, people, I wish I had had a video camera with me. I have never seen anything like it. I had no idea anything could be that awkward. There were elbows getting in the way and Melissa was grimacing like she might get slapped and Tracey was saying things like, “Wait, just put your arm over there. No, not there. Wait, ” and JenB and I were hysterical. I laughed so hard I fell down. I was lying in the hall of the Westin and I couldn’t breathe, I was laughing so hard.

Oh, there was so much more. I missed so much in this. I met many other incredible people and I didn’t even mention them here. But my poor hands need a rest, and Henry is getting up from his nap.

It was incredible. I cried all the way home because lord I love these whiny bitches.

Reader Comments (106)

After my previous post, I saw the one from the petty chicken. Were it not for your posts about the goings-on of the conference, I would not have known about your "radical act" statement. For all the posts (yours and others), I am grateful. Please do keep telling us your story.
August 5, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersij
alice, i am at home and on the blog circuit too, can i call you? or would that make us too cliquey? i want to comment stefani (i think that was your name by your email) for her thoughtful and impressive post. alice was able to articulate something very well for the rest of us. i was just sitting there thinking "FUCKERS!", because i am mature like that.

and to chickentoleavehername. i kinda' understand. i feel that way all the time. but give us the space to write this out. it is why we blog.

peace.
August 5, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterjenB
comment - commend. sheesh. i am too lame to proof (great name for a band though).
August 5, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterjenB
Thank your for the response!

The "in-between," while misunderstood, misrepresented, abused, or neglected, is the precise space for redefinition. It's the *real* space of *real* women who are mothers.

I suppose the plea I make to you, Melissa, Mrs. Kennedy and others is: Please do keep informing/entertaining us with the "unexciting, every day, in between stuff." The world needs a change. And perhaps that change will come about through voices, such as yours, that will not be silenced. I suppose I don't need to say it but I will anyway: words are powerful objects.

I want my daughter become a woman in a world with *real* choices, where she can define what becoming a woman and, if she chooses, becoming mother means. I want her to believe in her own voice even if it's marginalized. Idealistic, I know. But what can I say. It's the woman in the mother that I am coming through.

Again, please keep telling us your stories.
August 5, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersij
Hey Chicken, what you don't seem to understand is that they aren't the Mean Girls. They're not in an exclusive club. They weren't writing down snotty things about others in their secret notebook. In fact, they've mostly shared everything with us. I wasn't there, but I love the BlogHer posts and knowing that these women actually connected in real life, not just online. I like knowing that there are real living breathing human beings behind those keyboards. And, uh, some of 'em fart when they hug. Really, how Mean Girls is that, eh.
There there Chicken. I do understand the feelings you're (rudely) expressing. The problem is it isn't anyone's problem that you feel that way. You are responsible for your feelings and us writing about our fun weekend isn't the cause of your envy.

It just is and you don't have to blame us for it.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommentermelissaS
i, for one, am enjoying the Mean Girls Exclusive Party Recaps. every. damn. one. of. them.

and by "Mean Girls" i mean "Lickable Bloggers".

and don't cut your hair. it's totally hot.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermdog
Okay, that's it. I officially truly wish I had been there now. Damn.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Alice, first, greetings again to you. It was a pleasure to meet you briefly at BlogHer. I'm the one who sat next to you at the mommy blogger panel, the one who kept snatching the microphone away from the panelists. Yes, that bitchy one. The REAL Mean Girl at the conference.

So, this is to Chicken Person and I want to assure you that I understand your perspective, particularly as one who hid out in the band room with you at lunchtime. I can out-dork you any day, as I played the violin and not very well, at that. It wasn't until Sandy Fleming turned me on to high grade sinsemilla ($20/oz back in 1972) sometime in my junior year that I escaped the band room, and saw that EVERYBODY was cool, nobody was a Mean Girl and that it was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

But, I digress.

Chick, I hear your frustration. Perhaps the thing that makes the finslippy/suburban bliss/dooce/sweetney/jenandtonic/mighty girl/fussy/et al love and fart fest difficult for a so called outsider to take is that the conference was a wild success, hence there is much gloating and high fiving on one url after another. It was a bloggers confab, fer chrissakes, and thus it's blogged all over the ding dang web.

Had the Alice et al love and fart fest taken place at, say, a Cancun destination resort, perhaps these recaps might be easier to take. We all like to hear about getting together with our girlfriends and getting smashed at the swim-up bar. Personally, I like the idea of a mommy blogger meet up at Burning Man, where we would erect a giant lactating teat that would spray passer-bys with diluted soy milk.

But at this venue dedicated to bloggers, women bloggers at that, it felt official and sanctioned. The first BlogHer conference! We are pioneers! We are coolness personified! Heady stuff that can make one hurl from the dizziness.

You're actually spared from that "first on the block" crowing on Alice, et al's blogs. What I've been reading, and, in observing their lovely gathering first hand, I understood that they were reveling in each others' presence as they had never met before. Years of reading each other and there they were, together in the flesh at last, touching each others' faces like a circle of Helen Kellers. It was sweet yet dorky beyond belief. So there goes the cool girl clique theory out the window.

So, if you could glean any advice from my excessive use of Alice's bandwidth, it would be the following:

1) You might reframe these debriefs as a series of reports from a family reunion, drunken uncles and all;2) Kindly realize that it all went down in a highly publicized and lauded venue, thus making everything extra sparkly and sexy;3) Consider purchasing a small, therapeutic amount of high grade sinsemilla. It got me out of the band room in '72 and I never went back.

Weee! We're extra sparkly now!

Thank you and have a great day,GraceD

P.S., re: #3 above? I'm kidding. Sorta.







August 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterGraceD
"and don't cut your hair"

the hell? it took me HOURS to realize this? what i MEANT to say was, of course, don't GROW OUT your hair. the totally hot portion remains unchanged.



eh.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermdog
I'm in the midst of moving to Okinawa and somehow the tales of the BlogHer adventure are sucking me in more than all the details of my own move. Go figure.

I am so super pleased you all met and liked each other and gave us your impressions of each other. And I'm jealous I couldn't be in on the fun but I appreciate all the stories you swapped and shared. And yes I do believe that what you do is radical. It's about sharing the experience of womanhood without boundaries. It's good stuff and I thank you and yours with cherries all over the damn place.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
Journalcon. October. San Diego. Y'all coming to JournalCon? :)
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterthatgrrrl
quoting courtney: "I too am a mom, and have a blog, but wow i can never compare to the whit that you, dooce,melissa, mrs kennedy and jen have. role models i tell you, role models."

[clears throat]. maggie and i cleverly used our powers of invisibility to elude all detection at the conference.

so, uhh, you know.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersweetney
my apologies to courtney -- i misread your comment as one making presumptions about the mentioned ladies... clearly i'm just feeling, uhh, a little on-edge/sensitive abut this whole subject since a lot of wrong-headed, presumptious notions and claims *are* flying around out there, and people are getting hurt. anyway, my bad.

shutting up...now. sigh.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersweetney
:::meekly stepping up to microphone:::

Hi, my name is Angie, and I am the Petty Chicken. I just wanted to say that my comment last night was extremely inappropriate, and I sincerely apologize. It was completely out of character for me, and I'm really sorry.

What I am about to say is absolutely no excuse, but just to give you a little context... I spent the day caring for a friend who had some scary surgery. And- while the surgery went very well, thank goodness- her doctor wrote out a prescription for oxycotin in liquid form, which is apparently unavailable in the tri-state area. So I spent several agonizing hours trying to track down narcotics for someone I'm not related to, raising the alarm of pharmacists everywhere as a woman who has been my friend since I was 5 grew alarmingly "uncomfortable" (a word, when used by medical professionals, means you're not quite writhing on the floor in agony, but close).

I got her settled for the night, (there was much smashing of the elusive tablets into berry-flavored applesauce) went out into the blogosphere (a word that always makes me think we should have capes), and aired out my claws. I've never been a drive-by assmonkey before, and I will never do it again. It was extremely rude, and it was even more wrong for me to blithely assume that my comment wouldn't *really* hurt anyone's feelings because I'm just a lurker who never comments and... and... Illogical, unfeminist and sorry I am (to be read in Yoda voice, unless you've hit your Stars Wars limit for today, in which case I will "shut UP"- I did read your original response, Alice, thanks for originally offering to BFF me, too, had I been there. That made me feel sooo much sorrier than any amount of well-deserved, bitching-out ever could)

This is my real email address- gypsypeach@aol.com. All hate mail will be read, but if it helps.... I promise all BlogHer attendees can pick out the color of their capes first. Oh, and is sinsemilla something we could gleefully smash into berry-flavored applesauce, do you think? Thanks for listening; back to lurking.
Oh, see, now you've gone and made me like you. NOOOO!

We've all written stuff impulsively, O Petty Chicken. And I did see where you were coming from. I was so frustrated because Melissa of Suburban Bliss had just gotten flak for not posting ENOUGH.

You're nice. And I'm sorry you had such a horrific day. It would make any of us write the mean things. I am petting your head, just so.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteralice
chicken, ya done good. and i'm truly sorry to hear about your friend.

i could count on both hands the number of times i've horribly embarrassed myself on the interweb, or said things online that i've later regretted... if each hand held about 40 fingers each.

werd.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersweetney
wow.

um. yep. that's about all i can come up with. sounds like an absolutely fabulous time. i'm all jealous and stuff. ;)
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermainja
go sinsemilla
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterGraceD
posted the above, too quickly.

sinsemilla? i suppose could be smashed into the applesauce, though the smooth consistency would be compromised with little herb particles. i suggest baking into brownies or cooked into spaghetti sauce.

okay. my work is done.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterGraceD
GraceD, will you be my BFF at the next BlogHer? Uh, for no reason.

Awww, Angie. That was a great apology. I love a person who can sincerely apologize. And I hope your friend is feeling better really soon.
August 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterFlippyO
I was at a conference of women last week (a romance writers' conference in Reno) and I could have sworn I was reading about the same conference--full of laughter and friendship and too much drinking, but it is fun to see that we are all the same, whatever reason we are gathering. It is incredibly rejuvenating to get away from home and work (even if we are there for a business reason, you know, supposedly) and just connect as women with the same passions, not responsible for the dishes and the laundry for a few days, and just playing at being ourselves. It's amazing how that can give you the energy to go the rest of the year. Thanks for the recap. I really enjoyed reading it.
August 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
Oh, and I also wanted to say (look, I'm back!) that I was sorry to hear about mommy bloggers being dissed. I write for DotMoms, too, and I was aware of the recent Times article, but I guess I have a pretty hard shell about stuff like that because I've been a romance writer for a long time and am too used to being dissed amongst other "serious" writers for writing "fluff" fiction (in the opinion of certain people). Anything that is "by women, for women, about women" is an easy target for derision--EVEN BY OTHER WOMEN. Like romance writers, mommy bloggers write about things that affirm women's values (commitment, family) and since even today many women think success means taking on men's values (money, power) they're threatened by it and often don't understand it (or try to). Don't worry about it. You probably had a better time than they did. :)
August 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
word.

I am saddened and joyous all at once. Why? because I was HERE. BlogHer took place like FIVE MINUTES from my hometown. And I am STILL HERE. And I MISSED it.

Still. Pretty pretty pictures. And funny funny recaps. And I really want to know what's up with the lady with the jaunty outfit and english fleet hat, or whatever it is. Yes, that, I want to learn more about.
August 7, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterlis
This is the 100th comment, I think. I saw an opportunity, and I took it.
August 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLOD

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