12 August, 2011

Home Again

I went to BlogHer11 last week. I road-tripped with one of my bestest friends AND her mom AND her girls, and managed to be packed and ready to go at 5am. We slid past the San Luis reservoir at daybreak, and in record time were able to gobble delicious Mexican food in Southern California. I even managed to sneak a quick visit in with my Dad over those delicious enchiladas. Another couple of hours, and  I got to meet the cool group of people at Oceanhouse media. If you don't have any of their apps go check them out. Road tripping with someone who has a plan is an awesome thing. We were efficient, on time, and uhm, she drove the whole way to our destination. My stay in San Diego/La Jolla was lovely of course. Our hostess has created a welcoming, easy-to-slip-into type of place--she even has homemade jam; it is a tough place to leave (and I thank you again for having us.)

I had the best bunk mate ever. We talked, and talked, and talked, and then she told me a story about the axle on her car? Maybe, and I fell asleep. Sorry I'm so rude. Sorry I "snore lightly." But mostly I'm really sorry that we don't live closer, because She made me laugh so hard that other people couldn't even type. That tweet by Liz Ditz above should say "laughed so hard she couldn't talk for 5 minutes", but it's also likely that SJ could make me laugh hard enough to get knifed five times too. It's not often I get to have that many uninterrupted conversations with someone so smart and sassy who also has such a depth of character.  She even convinced me to do a little cooking demonstration thing with Knorr with Marco Pierre White. It was fun, Chef White was very gracious, and I got some cool free samples of Knorr stock and a signed book, and an apron which I actually really needed. And Chef White did not shame me when I basically needed a half cup more of parmesean on my risotto. I really love risotto, especially with parm and asparagus, and cooking with friends is one of my favorite things.

I danced at the evening parties. I even fell on the dance floor like I did at that wedding when my brother threw me across the wood in a reckless Tango move.. but this time I was the designated driver, so it had more to do with my tiny heels and my amazing dance partner Jen Lee Reeves, of BornJustRight. Who also made me laugh quite a bit, now that I think about it.

And of course there was that great Special Needs mini-con on Friday. I was honored to help the unstoppable Julia Roberts (not that one) from SupportforSpecialNeeds.com. I didn't do much, but she did a fantastic job setting everything up, and the 80 or so people that came were some of the vibrant, deep-thought, hilarious bloggers I know online. The speakers on the panel were Shannon Rosa, Auriela Cotta and Robert Rummel-Hudson. I think I can call Robert Rummel-Hudson a friend now, and not just because I brought him little tiny ice cream bars at one of the breaks, but because we share the same passion for wanting to come together as a group, united as parents of special needs kids, in our desire for positive change, and take on those completely uncomplicated things like health care and insurance reform.

BlogHer is one of those magic places that helps blur the lines between IRL (in real life) and online  friends, and that's a good thing, because as we get more wired in, with Google+ and Twitter and Facebook, it's hard to say I'm not "close" with someone just because I can't meet them at our Thursday morning coffee. As I sat next to Laura Shumaker at the mini-con, and later at dinner, I realized how lucky I am that I can probably hang out with her as much as our schedules allow (and we are totally going to do that as soon as my children get their buns back in school), but with BlogHer, and the whole interwebs thing, parents of special needs kids don't have to feel so isolated anymore, and anyone can hear all of the wise things Laura has to say just by visiting a website.

Things might get sort of tough sometimes, but we can find each other in the middle of the night online. On those late nights when we think that we are the only person with a ten year old who is wandering the house checking for ways to get outside, it's nice to know I have friends on another coast who can offer advice or support. We never would have had the opportunity to help each other 20 years ago, and two years ago we didn't even have a mini-conference. Talking with Ellen, from Love That Max and Shannon, of course, I know we can build on Julia's good work this year and create an entire day..let's expand that mini-con, I think we have a lot more to say, and even more to do.
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