Blogher: the highlights and the lowlights

August 31, 2011

Getting there

A half-asleep Belle drove me to the airport at 4:30 a.m.  I was finally going to Blogher, the grand kahuna of blogging conferences, and I wanted to be in San Diego bright and early because I had a lot to learn.  But after the toddler attempted suicide the night before, I’d cracked open a bottle of wine, and the after-effects combined with the insane hour rendered me incoherent.

As soon as I got through airport border control, I bought a bottle of water, which cost me THREE DOLLARS, and then I drank half of it and left it on the first airplane.  When I got to hell the Atlanta airport, my flight to San Diego was delayed by an hour, and I’d left my book at home, so I went to look for something to read and a water fountain.

People looked at me like I’d lost my mind when I asked if there were any used bookstores or libraries in the airport.  I finally settled for a newsstand where I paid FIFTEEN DOLLARS for a paperback book.  But no one looked at me strangely when I asked where the airport bar was.  I didn’t ask how much the bloody Mary was—I just handed over my American Express.

In San Diego, the shuttle driver tried to kill me when he made up his mind to run a yellow light and then changed it halfway through and slammed on breaks.  I was headed for the windshield when the guy sitting next to me grabbed my foot and saved the little Beans from becoming orphans.

The San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina, Room 509

The first thing I did when I arrived was to check for bedbugs.  There weren’t any.  The second thing I did was to unpack my luggage.  Neatly.

Laverne and Shirley, who were sharing my room, arrived shortly thereafter. They were bubbly and adorable.  The two mommies were in their 20s, they both had 2-year-old boys, and they had both found that matrimony was overrated, at least with their former spouses.  Five minutes after they arrived, the room turned into a disaster zone.

I’ve never seen so much unorganized shit in one place in all my life.

The expo, the conference, the people

While L&S were off doing whatever 20-something-moms do when they’re on vacation from two-year-olds, I went to explore the expo.

In a word—overwhelming.

Photo courtesy of Shell Cranwell of MommySaversFortunately, Shell, from MommySavers befriended me, and together we discovered great brands, enjoyed food, loaded up on great swag and had our picture taken with the Pine Sol lady Diane Amos.  The sponsors were amazing.  Quaker was there giving out boxes of Oatmeal Squares cereal.  Arm & Hammer toothpaste, my favorite  (and I’m not just saying that), was giving out toothpaste AND Whitening Booster.  Hillshire Farm had a bistro set up with everything from sausage biscuits to wraps to hearty sandwiches. Tropicana was passing out lemonade. Dove chocolate had decadent ice cream (go to their website—they’re giving away a vacation to Hawaii).  McDonalds had yummy tropical smoothies.  Sesame Street was there with toys for little Beans; Ella’s Kitchen, with organic baby and toddler food (the smoothies I took home got the Moose Seal of Approval); and YoCrunch, with yogurt. The Tempur Cloud Pillow!

Fortunately, after all of the food, swag, people and travel, Tempurpedic was there with a luxurious bed.  I took off my shoes and made myself comfortable.  I almost didn’t get up, and by the time I did, there was a line of weary bloggers waiting for my spot.   Before I left, I entered their contest for a chance to win two Tempur Cloud pillows, one to keep and one to give away, and since I was one of the winners, you should check back here soon for more details.

The conference passed by in a blur.  Everywhere I turned I was talking to someone new.  I met Megan from Velveteen Mind.  I had lunch with Kiki and Emily of I Can Haz CheezburgerI Can Has Cheezburger? And I talked botox with beauty queen Christina (check out her blog—she’s got great beauty tips).  The sessions were insightful, the food was great, the conversation was thought-provoking and the people were beautiful.  There were parties, false eyelashes, manicures and massages.

Saturday, Room 509

But I missed my little Beans.  On Skype, Jax told me about going fishing, and then Moose appeared.  He was naked and he was standing in Papa’s desk chair, so that I was having a conversation with his peanut.

At night L&S hit the party circuit, and I drank wine, read my $15 book and went to bed.  About 2 a.m. my phone started beeping.  The texts started rolling in, but they were all in some kind of code, and I don’t even understand English at 2 a.m., much less code.

Laverne: Stingrays

Laverne: Stingaree

Laverne: Where are you

Laverne: Men are being jerks help

Laverne: Name a place dude I tested for you

Jenny:  Huh?

Laverne: We left stigatee

Jenny:  WTH?

Laverne: I’m so sorry!!!

By this time, I was fully awake, so I poured myself some more wine and read some more of my book.

Going home

Laverne never went to bed.  We both had 0-dark-30 flights and were sharing a cab to the airport.  For someone who had spent the night partying, she moved with unexpected alacrity.  She had all of her shit packed before I did and tapped her foot for 15 minutes while I finished packing.  She was ready to see her baby.

At the airport, a big mean woman with bad hair ordered me to have a body scan.  I decided I wanted to see the little Beans more than I wanted to ask who pee-peed in her Corn Flakes, so I didn’t say anything.  Then on the plane I sat next to a smelly terrorist.

I held my nose and read my book.

Twelve hours later I opened the front door of Maison Bean.  Dirty clothes were scattered all over the house.  Matchbox cars and Thomas trains littered the floor.  The trash was overflowing…. It was almost like being in room 509 again.

Rooster was shaking like a leaf, and Hyacinth, who had discovered a feast under the highchair, was fast asleep and snoring.  Jax was doing science experiments, and Moose was running around naked.  Mimi had checked herself into the funny farm, and Papa was in the sangria.

By midnight, order was restored.  The laundry was done, the floors vacuumed, the toys put away, and I had retrieved Mimi from the psych ward.  I was ready to get in bed with my book.  I had 50 pages to go.

The book was nowhere to be found.  Probably still on the airplane.  Shit.

I turned to get in bed and discovered I wasn’t alone.  Winnie-the-Pooh and Funny Bunny had snuck in while I wasn’t looking.

It was good to be home.

Funny Bunny and Winnie-the-Pooh snuck into my bed.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Shell August 31, 2011 at 7:53 am

I had a GREAT time exploring the expo with you. Congrats on winning the tempurpedic pillow- too bad they couldn’t give you a bed to go with it- you really did love that bed 🙂

PS, don’t think I mentioned this before, but oh my goodness- your little Beans are ADORABLE!! wow…and that actually sounded a little dirty didn’t it? :p

papa August 31, 2011 at 8:09 am

All this talk about Moose running around naked. I should get an honorable mention for putting his cloths BACK ON 731 times.

Katie August 31, 2011 at 8:26 am

LOLOLOL I lovvvvvvvvvvvve it. Especially the parts about me… I mean Laverne. 😉

You totally saw some stuff in the Expo hall that I most definitely missed. Pine-sol lady?! Dang it!

and I don’t remember any disorganized shit……. I think you were drunk….


Jenn August 31, 2011 at 9:35 am

Shell: You rock! I had a great time with you! And you’re right–I really did love that bed.

Papa: Okay, okay, I hereby grant you an Honorable Mention.

Laverne: I haven’t been drunk in this century, thank you…. Next year. New York!

Irene August 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

What’s the purpose of these blog conferences? There are a lot of understanding husbands out there.
I do agree with Laverne and Shirley, marriage is VERY overrated.
I hope it was all worth it since the shuttle driver almost killed you! He would have heard it from me.
$3 for water!? WTF?
Pine Sol lady? COOL!
Naked kids. Did you expect anything else?

Wendy August 31, 2011 at 11:10 am

Poor rooster needs a theraputic dose of valium. He is going to have a doggie nervous breakdown!

Jenn August 31, 2011 at 11:33 am

Irene: I have more lives than a cat. Everytime I read one of your comments or a post, you kill me one more time! 😉

Wendy: Rooster did have a doggie nervous breakdown. More on that soon!

Ally August 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Do you know how excited I get when I see you have a new post up? I know that sounds stalker-ish, but I am always guaranteed a laugh and a smile with a good read. This was no exception. What a time you had! The visual pictures you painted were priceless. Now about that pillow…

Jenn August 31, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Ally: Between your compliment and Moose’s successful auditory test (more later), it’s been a very good day. Thank you!

Now, about that pillow….

Heather August 31, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I miss talking to you! I really loved this post and strangely, it almost made me cry. JennyBeans blog will continue to do GREAT things, but there is nothing like being home with your family. Hope to catch up soon!

Jenn August 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Heather: I miss talking to you too. I hate being this busy. You’re right, of course. It’s like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”

Melinda August 31, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Love it. Especially the comment about talking to Moose’s peanut as I can totally imagine doing the same with my little guy is who is regularly reminded, requested, and pleaded with to put on some underwear. Glad the universe had a different plan for you than your taxi driver!

JennAtFFP August 31, 2011 at 10:36 pm

OMG, I’ve never been to a blog conference but now…

….I’m thinking I GOTTA go.

Except for paying $3 for water and $15 for a paperback. Oh, and you’re right, I’ll need to avoid the Atlanta layover if at all humanly possible! I’ve been there and that place is hell…the airport included.

Glad you had fun and walked away with some great memories and awesome swag! 😀

portia August 31, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I, personally, understand the whole peanut thing, as that is the prime topic of conversation among the male creatures who live in my house. Moose cannot help it, he is fueled by tess- oss- tyrone. Otherwise, I must say that I am this minute reclining upon a temperpedic pillow that my sweet husband paid a huge amount of money for, and it is the best pillow evvverrr!!The lucky winner will have a celestial slumber for sure.I am a little worried about the book: Will you be OK not knowing how it ended?

Patricia September 1, 2011 at 9:21 am

The best part of any trip is coming home. What fun! I especially liked your description of the taxi ride and the guy who grabbed your foot (?) during the near-crash. Reminded me of that old Seinfield episode where Kramer would purposely slam on brakes to be able to stick his arm out to stop his date from jerking forward. But he wasn’t interested in her foot.

Jenn September 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Minnie: At least he wants to wear something. Moose would be happy to go around buck naked all the time!

JennAtFFP: It really was a GREAT conference, and next year it’s in New York. Thanks for coming to visit!

Portia: The book (The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls) came in from the library yesterday, and somehow in all of the hullabaloo, I managed to finish it. Great book!

Patricia: I love Kramer!

Craftwhack September 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm

That’s one of the best summaries of Blogher I’ve read. I WILL be going next year, so we will need to meet and I will help you keep track of your book.

Jenn September 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Jeanette: Thank you! And I’d be grateful for you to look after my book!

Christina September 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm

So wonderful to meet you as well and spend some time exploring the expo together! Absolutely adore your blog, beautiful children!

Keep in touch,

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