So I have been pondering how to sum up my first “blogger” weekend, where I spent two days with 16 strangers – all women bloggers, most of them moms – in Sacramento. Since I probably couldn’t do it justice in a few sentences, I thought it best to write up a list of the Top 10 Things I Learned at the Blathering:
10. Sacramento actually has a very cool section of town. My past experience with SacTown has been limited to three things: wedding dress shopping, Fairy Tale Town and the Zoo, and the court house. The last one, shall we say, was a tad bit on the scary side, leaving the impression that our fair Capitol City was, umm, rather ghetto. But the local Blathering ladies, like Amy, showed off mid-town, and with its quaint Victorian homes and hip boutiques and trendy restaurants, I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
9. When people see 16 women walking around together, they assume one of two things: it’s either a bachelorette party or a sorority reunion; blogging convention is not the first thing to come to their mind. So it was rather hard to explain to people when they asked us what we were all about. The answer “we met on the Internet” conjured up strange expressions on people’s faces that seemed to say, “Uh-huh, right. Pornography chat room. I’ll just back away slowly now.” Fed up with trying to explain our association, I just took to saying, “We met on Match.com.” That seemed to satisfy people.
8. Attending a blogging meet-up does not necessarily mean you will talk about blogs. I think I discussed blogging for a grand total of about 20 minutes, and only because I brought it up. The most helpful blogging tidbit I learned was about Google Reader. Since that was told to me while imbibing multiple froofie cocktails and champagne in a can (with a straw, I might add. Kind of like an adult juice box), I apologize that I cannot name the blogger who passed on this wonderful piece of advice.
7. Bloggers are really just the modern version of pen-pals. Many of the Blathering women had been following each other and corresponding for years, through births and separations and all of life’s ups and downs. Even thought some of them had never met, they felt like they knew each other. It reminded me of the scene in “Julie & Julia” when Julia Child meets her pen pal of eight years, Avis DeVoto. The only difference is, back then, they had to use a pen and actually wait weeks to read about their friend. Today, we can just turn the computer on and, in an instant, see what’s new in our blogging buddy’s world.
6. Some women can cook for 16 people. And it’s good. Really good. That would not be me. But Elizabeth can. She made roasted chicken and tabouli and her homegrown heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella were delicious. Oh, and let’s not forget the gorgeous cupcakes that even had frosting hidden inside, as if the layer on top was not enough to send us into a chocolate coma. Some of us (I won’t name names, Emily) were so overcome by the incredible chocolate frosting that they were driven to lick the bowl, even though it resembled poo.
5. Do not, whatever you do, wear a strapless, button-up dress to your husband’s bachelor party at a strip club. Or else a stripper just might want to put a dollar down your dress, and said stripper just might rip your dress apart and spill your breastfeeding boobs out of your bra, and then she just might place her face between your tits and motorboat you, right there in front of your husband and brother and father-n-law. I wouldn’t know, of course. But Whitney would. And she’ll make you laugh your ass off when she tells the story.
4. Get 16 bloggers together at the same table and they will communicate by Twitter. Dont’ worry, we talked too, but the tweeting may have been funnier.
3. Watching gay men line dance is highly entertaining. On Saturday night we went to a gay club called Faces, which has three rooms – a hip-hip room, a country-western room and a pop-music one. I had no idea that gay clubs were such a great place for a group of ladies to go to dance their ass off, since they don’t get accosted by a bunch of cheesy men. (Not that that would be so bad at my age.) The highlight was definitely watching gay men in their tight jeans and cowboy hats and mustaches, along with a sprinkling of lesbians, all doing the Achy Breaky Heart. They all had the biggest smile on their faces.
2. I am clearly not down with the hip-hop scene. I did not know a single song the DJ played. And when I asked him to play the only dance song I could think of – Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” – he said, “Oh, that’s old. Not sure if we have that.” I think what he meant to say was, “Oh, you’re old. The over-35 room is around the corner. They’re playing some Kenny Loggins.”
1. And the number one thing I learned at the Blathering is: there are a lot of cool blogger ladies out there, but when it comes right down to it, we are all just wives and mothers and girlfriends and women trying to make sense out of life and find a little writing therapy and other people like ourselves to say, “You are not alone. That’s happened to me too. And here’s how I got through it.”