Algernon tore that town up.
There is absolutely no way to fully explain what BlogHer conferences mean to me. I could try. I could try to tell you about the people and the joy. I could try to tell you how I was inspired by speakers and panelists. I could try to tell you how I met some new favorite people. I could try to tell you all the practical information I picked up in some of the sessions. I could try to tell you how I missed Susan. I could try to tell you about some of the very valid criticism of the conference that I heard and how most of it didn’t matter all that much to me. I could try to tell you about how much fun I had.
I could try to tell you all that, or I could just tell you about some of the silly things that stick out in my head, because it is way easier that way and the post will be only a million years long instead of six million years long. Also, maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you how Algernon got along in New York.
I got to New York on Wednesday evening because even though the conference officially started on Friday, they had a HealthMinder Day on Thursday that had a special needs track full of my people.
But before Thursday, I had to get to my hotel. I walked out of Penn Station only to find a horrifically long taxi line. And it was raining. And I was all, “There has to be a better way,” but I didn’t know how to use the subway, and I was afraid that I would annoy New Yorkers if I tried to walk down rush hour sidewalks with a suitcase, and I worried that if I walked a block away to try to get a cab, that I would self-destruct and spend the weekend curled in a ball in a doorway under my suitcase instead of at the conference.
So instead, I stood in line for an hour, which gave me a lot of time to practice saying, “I am going to 6th and 53rd. I am going to 6th and 53rd. I am going to 6th and 53rd.” Which I did. And it worked! I made it to the hotel, just in time to meet part of my gang of autism moms (and we ARE a gang) and go out to dinner at John’s Pizzeria—NO SLICES!
Eventually I ran into my roommate, Annette, and we had security called on us because we were apparently talking too loud in our room. I’m going to put that on third roommate, Algernon.
HealthMinder Day was wonderful, mostly because I got to hang out with my special needs blogging friends, who mean so very much to me.
From there I headed with some friends to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge. I hadn’t known about this facility before, but the Lodge is a place for cancer patients who are being treated in Manhattan to stay free of charge. It is beautiful and such a wonderful resource.
We were there to remember Susan by painting tiles for her that will be put together in a larger art piece in her honor.
That is also where I got to start hanging out with Susan’s best friend, and one of my personal favorite people, Marty, a.k.a. Canape. I adore that woman. She’s fun.
I didn’t go to any fancy parties this year, but I did get out of the hotel to go to restaurants and to see some of the city with friends. It was perfect and relaxed and fun.
One of my high points was the Nintendo World Store, which I went to because I got a gift card to spend there because I am a Nintendo Brand Ambassador. More on that and the joy it brought my kids later. For now, this:
Also, I might have gone to the Nintendo store and bought a chess set for my kids, but Bowser is the king, so I think it’s still okay.
The Voices of the Year reading is always one of the best events of the conference, and this year was no different. We listened to 15 amazing bloggers read their work and then there was a reception to honor them and the other hundred or so bloggers whose work was being honored.
Hmmm. I wonder who those hundred bloggers might be?
The expo hall was huge this year and I definitely made my way through it, although it was Algernon who made the most of the exhibits. I don’t do much work with brands anymore, so it’s not all that relevant to me. There was one piece of swag though that I walked all over the hotel to find.
I love my stuffed Hot Pocket with sunglasses, arms, and tennis shoes. I will call him Percival.
There is one more place in the expo hall where I caused a HUGE scene and that was at the Jimmy Dean booth. I don’t know if you remember two years ago when I ran into the Jimmy Dean sun in a 29th-floor hallway at BlogHer, but it was a big deal to me.
So, when I rounded a corner in the expo hall and saw him again, I may have shrieked a little bit. I reminded him of our meeting in 2010, but I don’t think he remembered. Then I made him take his photo with me again.
And then I made him take his photo with Algernon.
I think the Jimmy Dean people loved it. It was like there were paparazzi, all for Algernon and the sun. I may have done some extensive jumping up and down and clapping.
Then, they wanted to interview me because I probably looked like someone who ate a lot of Jimmy Dean and they were all, “How does Jimmy Dean fit into your life?” and I had to say, “Um. We don’t eat Jimmy Dean products, but I really love your commercials.”
By the time I left on Sunday, I was ready to go home and see Alex and my munchkins. I successfully navigated getting to Penn Station with Annette and got on my train and found a seat all by myself. And then at some point, I got off the train with my luggage at the wrong station and had to re-board in shame.
It was awesome. (<—sarcasm) And a very Stimey thing to do.
But at the end were these little dudes, which made the re-boarding instead of living in God Knows Where, Baltimore worth it all.
I wrote about what it is like to be away from my kids at White Knuckle Parenting this week. And last week I think I forgot to link to my column there in which I wondered if my kids would have survived in Olden Times.