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Blogher-Over, but not forgotten July 31, 2006

Posted by table4five in BlogHer.
17 comments

I just got off the phone with Jennster, and we agreed that it’s just as emotional not to be at Blogher as it was to actually be there. I didn’t know what to expect, but I sure didn’t think it would be three days of constant female empowerment. Every meal, every break, every minute of the cocktail parties, there was someone to meet, to talk to, to hug.

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I met my dearest blog friends, who I felt like I had known forever.

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And I met new friends that made me feel so comfortable, so accepted and appreciated.

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Now it’s over, and I feel like I’m in some kind of estrogen withdrawal. I was totally unprepared for how much energy it would take to participate fully in the entire Blogher experience. In a comment to Amy, who had said she needed to start training for next year, I suggested waking up early after drinking all night, and then standing on your feet in a sauna all day. That would be a close approximation of what it feels like to be at Blogher.

Speaking of Amy, I knew she would be friendly, but I never expected her to make me feel like I was just like her-a blogger, a woman, a mother. It was the same way with Alice, Eden, Jen and Amanda. These are who we think of as the “A-list” bloggers, yet they are not unapproachable. They came to Blogher to meet people just like I did. I heard people say they were too “scared” to introduce themselves, but not me. I figure you’re a blogger, I’m a blogger, we’re not that different. Plus Amanda was holding her beautiful daughter most of the time, and I needed my baby fix after being away from Kaitlyn.

Speaking of beautiful babies, a big thank you to Gwendomama for letting me fuss over Little E, who should grow up to marry Kaitlyn and make beautiful blonde, blue-eyed children.

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Also, a funny story about Gwen-when I met her, she was telling a story about writing a post with the word “penis” in the title, and how she got a comment from someone who thought it was “inappropriate”. I said that she should go home and change her blog header to read “Gwendomama-Now with more penis”. Look what she did. How awesome is that??!!

One more thing. Remember when I said Amy was friendly? Well, you know a person feels comfortable with you when you get this reaction to taking their photo:

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I AM A BLOGGER July 31, 2006

Posted by table4five in Blogging, BlogHer.
14 comments

Wondering why I posted Friday afternoon, and then nothing? Because the free Wi-Fi access the hotel gave us only worked once in a while, and almost never for me. There I would sit, having hauled this giant, heavy laptop across the country, watching other people connect to the hotel’s system and not being able to myself. It sucked, sucked, SUCKED.

But HEY, I’m home now, and it’s only 11:21 pm California time, so my body says I’m not sleepy. And there are no cocktails here, and my body is wondering why I have suddenly plunged it into alcohol withdrawal. Sorry, body. We’ll drink tomorrow, promise.

Photos are up at Flickr. Please, if I used your real name and you’d prefer I didn’t, EMAIL ME and I will swap it for your URL. It’s no problem.

Here’s what I have to say overall about blogher ’06-it was overwhelming, it was exhausting, and it was the best thing that has ever happened to me outside of meeting my husband and having my children.  I haven’t had more than one close female friend since leaving High School, and now I have at least a dozen. The feeling of being surrounded by women who were interested in what I had to say, and in me as a person, is indescribable.

Validated. That is how I feel now that I have been to blogher. Validated. I went from feeling like no one else could possibly know what I mean when I say “um, well, I write a blog. What’s a blog? Well, it’s like a personal website, where I post stories about my family and photos and stuff”, to feeling like I want to climb to the highest rooftop in town and scream “I WRITE A BLOG!”.

Blogging is not weird. Blogging is not just keeping a diary in online form. Blogging is IMPORTANT. Blogging is powerful, blogging is the future. Being a blogger means being a part of the way women are meeting, supporting, and understanding each other. It’s networking for our social, personal and even professional lives.

Standing there on Saturday, knowing that there were seven HUNDRED other people around me who knew exactly what it is that I do, was one of the most empowering things that has ever happened to me. Having someone ask me for my business card (I have a card!), look at it and say “Oh, Table for Five! I’ve read your blog!” was absolutely MIND-BLOWING.

And of all the things I took away from the conference, there are two that have actually changed the path I see for myself. The first is something I took away from the “Mommyblogging is a Radical Act!” session. You wanna hear it? Hear it goes:

I AM A MOMMYBLOGGER

That’s it. It’s that simple. I am PROUD to be a Mommyblogger. Before that session, when asked what my blog was about, I would hem and haw and say things like “well, I blog about my family, and other stuff“, as if it was important to add that qualifier so that the person didn’t think I was “just” a Mommyblogger. And while I’m not “just” a Mommyblogger, as evidenced by my popular Thursday American Idol Recap, or my occasional posts about politics, if I have to define myself in one category, Mommyblogger is what I choose. I titled this post “I am a BLOGGER”, because I no longer feel timid about telling my family (for example), that I write a blog. I may tell them that it is private and that I’d prefer they didn’t read it, but the next time someone asks where I was last weekend, I’m going to proudly say I was at a conference about Blogging.

The other important, IMPORTANT thing that I brought home from blogher is a realization that my self-esteem needs a big ol’ kick in the ass. For example, all weekend people were declaring that they loved me, loved my blog, were so glad to meet me, and my response to them all was something like this:

“Hi, I’m Elizabeth. My blog is Table for Five.”

“Oh, ELIZABETH! I’ve read your blog, I really like it!”

“No, REALLY? You’ve read my blog? No way.”

“Elizabeth, it’s really nice to meet you!”

“No, no, it’s really nice to meet YOU.”

(Notice the annoying self-deprecation. What the hell is WRONG with me?)

I relayed this to my husband, and asked him if he thought I was insecure. He said no. So why was it so hard for me to accept the fact that other people were interested in me? Why do I feel so unworthy? Why can’t I just say “Thank you, I’m glad you like my blog” and leave it at that?

The closing session on Saturday afternoon featured four amazing women who have done great things both with their professional lives, and with blogs. I sat there listening to them speak, and I had what I guess you could call a revelation. I grabbed one of my business cards (because my laptop STILL wasn’t working), and on the back I wrote this:

1. Find your voice.
2. Stop apologizing. Be proud of who you are and what you do.
3.Stop hesitating. Move yourself forward.
4. You ARE worthy.

My friends, you are ALL worthy. Whether you have just started blogging or have been at it for a while, you are part of a mighty force in this world. Somewhere out there is someone who wants to know what you think, how you cope, who you are. Be a blogger, and be proud.

Live from BlogHer ’06!!! July 28, 2006

Posted by table4five in BlogHer.
6 comments

Hey everybody, I’m coming to you live from the lunch table at BlogHer ’06. I’ll spare you the details of my airplane travels, except to say that I did not in fact have a panic attack on either plane, and I met up with Nancy from Mom/Ma’am/Me completely by accident at the Atlanta airport. It was nice to have a friendly and familiar face to pass the time with.

My companions here at lunch are: Tammie from Soul Gardening, Catherine from Her Bad Mother, Kristen from Motherhood Uncensored, Liz from Mom101, Asha from Parenthacks, Julie from MotherGooseMouse, Cathy from Mayberry Mom, Izzy from Izzymom, Dawn from Baleful Regards, Roo from Roo the Day, and Kari from Karianna/ClubMom. Yes, it’s a huuuuge table!

I should stop the narrative flow here for a minute and say that last night, when I arrived, it was like 9:30 pm. I ran to my room, threw down my stuff, ran back out to the pool area, and commenced immediately with hugging and squealing. And drinking, which costs a fucking fortune, but helped ease my shaky nerves a little bit. Everyone is so happy to see everyone else, it’s like a High School Reunion only if everyone you went to High School with actually liked you.

So today, at Registration, I learned that we are actually kind of a big deal. GM is here promoting their website for women, Saturn brought Concept cars for us to test-drive, and SixApart gave us swanky totebags stuffed with swag. We were front-page news here in San Jose. I imagine this must be what it feels like to be a celebrity, people giving you free stuff all the time.

After a basic Continental breakfast, we had our first discussion session. I went to “Primp Your Blog”, and picked up some interesting ideas, although I can’t use most of them here on my free WordPress blog.

Now it’s lunch, compliments of the conference. The wireless connection was down all morning but they rebooted, thank GOD.

I left my SanDisk up in the room, so I’ll upload photos later. I don’t know how well they will look, because anything taken up close is really dark. I’m trying to move farther away, plus I finally turned off the flash. Those photos might be a little blurry, but I can maybe fix that in Photoshop.

OH, I should also mention that I have met all of the “Big Ladies” except for Heather Armstrong (Dooce), although I hear she’s in the room so I’ll try to at least capture her photo. It’s unbelievable to be sitting in a room full of 400 people, all of whom share a common interest with me.

Now if I could just calm my nerves and stop shaking like a freak.

Roo says “Hi”.

That b**** can kiss my A**!!! July 25, 2006

Posted by table4five in personal thoughts.
12 comments

This is just a suggestion, but if anyone reading this is a receptionist in a dentist’s office, here’s how NOT to reply to a patient:

Bitchy Office Person: “HI!! I was calling to ask you why you hadn’t made your promised payment this month!” (With a note of contempt, you could tell she wanted to call me a deadbeat)

Me: (walking out of room so my kids don’t overhear) “I know, I owed you a payment on June 21, but that was the same day I found out my Mother-in-Law died, and I went up North with my husband to make her cremation and funeral arrangements. When we got back home, I wasn’t really thinking about bills, and then we went back up North for five more days. When we got home, we found out my husband’s Grandmother died, and then my Father went to the hospital with internal bleeding, and then I found out my Father-in-law needed major surgery. I wrote all of this in a letter that I mailed three days ago, addressed to The Office of Dr. Blah Blah, didn’t you get it?”

B.O.P.: “No, we didn’t get anything”. (No other comment, no expression of sympathy or condolence).

Me: “I know I owe you $172.00, which I don’t have right now, but I’ll send you something as soon as I can until it’s paid off.”

B.O.P.: (LAUGHING. That’s right, I said LAUGHING) “Okay then! Haha! Thanks!”  (click)

What the holy fuck?? I am just incensed at that reaction. I’m sure she’s heard lots of excuses why people can’t pay their bills, but that is just unbelievable.

I’m thinking about sending a letter addressed directly to the dentist, letting her know exactly what just happened. I’m tempted not to even pay the bill, but the dentist did provide a service for which she deserves payment. She does, however, need to know about the phone call, and that we are changing dentists immediately. Which we needed to do anyway because of new insurance, but still.

I’ll let myself calm down a little before I compose the letter, lest I fill it with more expletives than a civilized person should use. 
And again, what the fuck?? And also, biiiiiiiitchhhhh.

My kids (and hubby) say the darnedest things July 24, 2006

Posted by table4five in BlogHer, Family.
11 comments

Random snippets of conversation heard around my house this week:

(Sitting around the dinner table) 

Ryan: “Mom, did you remember to buy earplugs for the plane because otherwise your ears will hurt when the plane lands?”

Me: “Yes I did, honey, thanks for asking.”

Ryan: “You should buy some gum.”

Me: “Unfortunately, chewing gum doesn’t help my ears not hurt.”

Ryan: “No, not for your ears. You sit down in your seat, you put the ear plugs in, then you chew some gum and it will help you relax.”

He’s a wise one, that kid.

(We’re listening to Dixie Chicks “Lullaby”-the lyric is “How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough? Cause I’m never never giving you up.”)

Nathan: “Cause I’m never never giving you a hug”? WHAT KIND OF LULLABY IS THAT?”

Um, the kind Count Olaf would sing to the Baudelaire orphans? 

(I had just sprayed my arm with Dream Angels “Heavenly” Body spray)

Me: “Honey, what does this smell like?”

Chris: (Sniffs) “Um, yummy girl?”

Good answer there, babe.

I know, not much of a post, I just wanted to remember those little real-life moments. I wish I had more of them written down somewhere. Like the time when Ryan was about 3, and we were driving up the highway on-ramp into heavy traffic, and he started talking to me. I said “just a minute honey, I need to concentrate on driving and then we can talk”. And he said “okay mama, you drive, and then we’ll have a little talk”.

Or the time I was feeling down and said out loud “God, I look so fat in this” and Nathan said “Mom, don’t say that. You are beautiful.”

If you’re going to BlogHer and want my cell phone number and I haven’t given it to you yet, email me. Because I want to find each and every one of you, hug you, and possibly cry a little. I leave in THREE DAYS.

Sniff…sniff…WAH! July 22, 2006

Posted by table4five in BlogHer, Family.
8 comments


I just realized that I will be leaving, for four days. Four whole days during which Kaitlyn might crawl more than a few inches forward, and might even (sob!) cut her first tooth.

Four days during which my husband will be trying to parent three children and support his father as he has major surgery at the same time.

Four days during which the big boy-things that inhabit my house will have their task-master of a father around instead of their big pushover Mom. They may find themselves watching a LOT less TV and doing a LOT more housework. Actually, that one’s not so bad.

I know what you’re going to say. Take a lot of photos with me, and call home every day. Sure, sure, fine. But that is no substitute for soft baby cheeks pressed against mine, or big crushing hugs at bedtime.

That’s it. Someone will have to hug me EVERY DAY, so that I don’t go into severe withdrawal. You’re all okay with that, right?

Things to do before next Thursday July 21, 2006

Posted by table4five in BlogHer.
12 comments

You’ve heard about what’s happening next week, right? This little shindig I’m going to in San Jose, where I will panic over my crappy clothes, my streaky sunless tan (CURSE YOU, Dove Energy Glow!), and my annoying personal habits.

What? You mean you LIKE people who talk waaaay too much, interrupt constantly, and have a social phobia about looking people directly in the eyes? Then you’ll love me.

I only have about a frillion things to do before I leave. Things that I should be doing now, instead of swilling coffee and checking email and um, writing this post. Procrastination, thy name is Elizabeth!

My first order of business is to gather together all the stuff I think I want to take, and then put half of it back. When I travel, I always think I will need stuff I never even use at home, like two kinds of body lotion (they have little bottles of lotion in hotels!), way more makeup than I ever wear in real life, and my smooshy pillow. I know, I can’t bring a pillow. And housekeeping will be happy to bring extra pillows, even if they have been slept on by god-knows-who with god-knows-what kind of hygiene.

My wonderful hubby has just finished rebuilding a laptop for me, with Wi-Fi and everything, although we couldn’t get it working at the hotel we stayed in a few weeks ago. Even though there was a sign on the dresser that said “Free high-speed wireless Internet access!” Yeah, not so much. You may find me skulking around in the lobby looking for someone who looks like they know how to get a wireless connection working.

I went shopping last weekend, at one of those Kohl’s 50-70% off sales that they have every week, and bought new stuff. Like BRAS! And not the kind that come in a cardboard box with a picture of a stoned-looking lady on the cover either, REAL bras. The kind that cost $40 each, except these were $20 so I bought two. Do you know how long it’s been since I had two bras that fit really well?  I did have to buy underwire, because let’s face it, the girls were riding below the crook of my elbows. Now they are lifted, and separated, and they’re real, and they’re fabulous!

Ahem. I also bought new jammies, and new cropped jeans, and cute new sandals to show off my pedicure. Sandals with wedge heels, so I will appear several inches taller, and won’t be staring you all directly in the boobs as I shake your hands. Well, I might stare at your boobs anyway, but only because you know you want me to (wink wink). Ooh, and the sandals even have that thing that goes between your toe, which I KNOW I said I would never buy, but they are comfortable! Who knew? Apparently everyone else but me.

I bought a refill for my Day-Timer, which will serve as my address book, business-card holder, boarding pass holder, and wallet. I even talked the lady at Office Max into giving me a discount on it, since I know they need to move out the 2006 refills and make room for 2007. It was only about $4.00 off, but still. I also bought software and paper to make business cards, so that I don’t have to write my URL and email address directly onto people.

I’m still undecided about what to use for a carry-on bag, and what size purse to bring. I bought a cute little tote at Kohl’s, but the laptop won’t fit in it. I may end up using one of Chris’ ugly black nylon laptop cases, plus a small purse. I know, why carry a purse at all? Because I’ve been carrying a purse every day since the sixth grade, and I feel like I’m missing a limb if I don’t. And my lips might start to hurt real bad, which means an immediate coating of Moisture Therapy Lip Balm, because I don’t want to use the community chapstick, now do I?

You know what else I need to to before Thursday? CLEAN THE DAMN HOUSE. I hate coming home from vacation to a messy house. And I know Chris will be here, but he will be otherwise preoccupied with parenting our children and oh yeah, did I mention his Dad is having MAJOR SURGERY that day? I called him, my FIL that is, and told him I wouldn’t go, because I didn’t want him thinking I didn’t care about him and went jetting off to the Coast while he laid in a hospital bed. No, he said, GO.

So that’s just a few of the things I need to do before I leave. What about you? What’s on your to-do list?

My real-life blog date July 20, 2006

Posted by table4five in Blogging.
12 comments

I have been a bit distracted this last month, but how could I keep forgetting to tell you about my first meeting with another blogger? If she wasn’t such a nice person, and also quite busy with two children and two blogs, I would be worried that she might be mad at me.

After all, she was the one who emailed me the day after I found out my Mother-in-law had died and said remember how we keep talking about getting together? Would this be a good time for some company, or a really bad time?

It was absolutely a good time for company. I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts all day. It was a good time to have a friend to lean on.

And that is how I came to spend the afternoon with Becki, of Adventures of a Nervous Girl, and Cooking With Whine, and her adorable children. She even brought the fixings for lunch!

I think her little girl might have felt a bit overwhelmed by my big, noisy boys, but her son was a very good sport. He was immediately recruited for both Star Wars Light Saber fighting and water gun fights, and seemed to enjoy both. We broiled hamburgers, drank coffee, and tried to keep the kids from eating the cookies before the rest of their food.

I didn’t feel at all nervous about how Becki and I would get along. She had just written a post about how grumpy she is, but I thought she was funny and intelligent. The afternoon was over much too soon, but she had to drive over an hour and didn’t want to hit rush hour traffic. She let me keep all the leftover food. Later that night, we made ice-cream sandwiches from scoops of Breyer’s Slow-Churned Vanilla and the soft pecan cookies she brought.

Just as she was walking out the door I yelled “wait! We didn’t even take any pictures!” Which we hadn’t, busy as we were keeping five kids fed and playing together. So I grabbed the camera quick, and asked Ryan to take a quick photo.

So that’s why I’m not at all nervous about BlogHer. Having Becki sitting next to me on my couch while we sipped coffee and tried to get her daughter to eat one more bite of lunch felt completely natural. I know I will feel just as comfortable sitting next to all of you. In ONE WEEK.

The prize is a WHAT now? July 18, 2006

Posted by table4five in Humor.
12 comments


GliderToy

Originally uploaded by Tableforfive.

My kids are participating in the library’s Summer Reading Program. The theme is “Paws, Claws, Scales and Tails”, so all the prizes are animal-related. This foam glider toy is what they got for completing their sixth hour of reading.

I keep waiting for one of them to ask me “Mom, what is a cockchafer?”

To which I will reply “trust me honey, it’s something you do NOT want to get.”

BlogMe/Pieces of Sarah July 17, 2006

Posted by table4five in Blogging, BlogHer.
9 comments

Today I am interviewing Sarah of Sarah and the Goon Squad. I admit I was not that familiar with her blog before being matched up with her for this, but after seeing her brilliantly designed blog header (it’s interactive! Go see!), and looking at the Flickr photos of her adorable twins, I knew I will be going back. Her recent posts include her 100 Favorite  Albums of all time, her daughter peeing in the potty for the first time (yay!), and why she loves McDonald’s Happy Meals.

We were asked to include a photo of a “piece” of our interview subject. Sarah sent me this very unique shot of her pretty, white teeth.

Sarah

Why did you choose this photo?

I took the picture of myself snarling. I’m not 100% sure why. I guess I think it’s funny when people think I’m mean or scary. Besides, pretty seemed obvious. Has she seen how pretty her teeth are? I’m just sayin’.

6. How would you describe your writing style?

I write exactly how I talk. I don’t know if you can consider that a “style” or not. The only real difference is that I edit my potty mouth a lot.

8. What don’t you write about? Anything considered a no-no in your book?

I don’t write about my sex life – mostly because my mother and my MIL both read my blog. Plus, I can’t imagine that anyone else really cares about that.

10. How do you feel about meeting bloggers in real life? Are you nervous? Will you have great expectations? What do you hope to take away from the BlogHer experience?

I’m really excited to meet more bloggers at BlogHer. In real life I have met a couple of bloggers and it has always gone extremely well. I think if you are meeting people who you read a lot it is like you already know each other. When I relocated to DC I met Lumpyhead’s Mom (http://lumpyhead.blogspot.com/) and Mommy at Work (http://mommyatwork.blogspot.com/) and now they are just my regular friends, we go to each other’s houses and our kids play together. It’s great. I look forward to making more friends in San Jose.

11. What is your favorite thing that you wrote? What got a strong reaction from readers?

I know for sure that the strongest reaction came from my post about depression. I got so much support from everyone it was wonderful. I don’t think I have a favorite post of my own. I’m always happiest with my posts when people think they are funny and then leave funny comments.

12. Have you written anything controversial? Is blogging controversial?

Blogging certainly can be controversial. My blog is generally pretty light. t I’m working on a post about why I am not a Christian that I think will piss a lot of people off, and one time I made a bunch of people mad because I talked about organic food being a rip off. Apparently people take their organic produce pretty seriously.

14. If you had a super power, what would it be?

Either telekinesis or the Jedi Mind Trick. I’m lazy and like people to do my bidding.

15. Favorite drink?

Beer. No question.

Thanks for the interview, Sarah! I really will be coming to your blog now, but only if you promise not to snarl at me!

And now, here’s the next phase of this project. I am tagging Julie, Mary, Nancy, Dawn, Tammie, and Roo.   Read all about it here, and even if you’re not tagged, please feel free to participate. The idea is that we all get to know each other a little better before spending several alcohol-soaked knowledge-filled days together at BlogHer. You can read my interview over at Fizzle’s site.