Friday, July 18, 2008

BlogHer08 Day One

You know, it would be cool if I could figure out how to post the widget that links me to the rest of the people who are blogging about the conference during the conference. Oh well, I'll try to figure it out again later.

Today was a day very full of fun sponsors' booths, free stuff (from the sponsors' booths) and informational sessions. But VERY LITTLE NUTRITIONALLY VIABLE FOOD. I have realized today how often I eat at home. I have also been heard to say at least twenty times, "I am starving for protein." Breakfast actually turned out to be continental breakfast. Bagels, muffins, danishes, fresh fruit, and juice and coffee. This is not what my body is used to. I wanted eggs. I thought, "well, hopefully there will be something cheesy, perhaps, at snack time?" Nope. Snack time brought huge cookies, water, and soda. I'm very thankful for the water, but skipped the cookies (and I rarely drink soda). Lunch was better. The vegetarian meal was a wrap which included cheese and mushrooms (as well as other tasty veggies and a delectable sauce), along with another fruit salad (I will not complain about or turn down fresh fruit - yum!), a pasta salad, and some dessert (a little piece of some kind of custard/cake thing, and a square of Ghirardelli chocolate - of course, we're in San Francisco, right?). I ate as much as I could, knowing that the next snack would most likely be all carbs or sugar.

They actually surprised me at the next snack time. In both directions. The first thing I saw was candy bars. Which blew me away. There had already been so much sugar out for us to eat today and then they took it to the highest level of concentration! BUT there were also bags of peanuts. I ate one (the nuts, that is, not the bag - snort) and grabbed two more to keep in my bag for when I need them tomorrow. Because now I KNOW I will need to grab as much protein as I can find every time I see it.

But maybe you want to know about the sessions - the actual reason I'm here? (Well, actually another big part of the reason I'm here is to meet these fabulous women).

The first session I attended was about blogging basics. Yes, I've been doing this for a while now, but I have not jumped in and played around with the tools and widgets and all the fun things that are constantly coming into being. I found that I already knew most of what was discussed during that session but it was still a good place to start, and I did learn a couple new things and get some great resources for learning more. There were four presenters in this session but I only go one of their cards. Her name is Michelle Mitchell and her blog is called Scribbit; Motherhood in Alaska, and she knows a lot about using Blogger to create a successful blog.

During the second session I attended (there were looooooooots of options during each time slot) the panel addressed concerns that mommy bloggers have about privacy issues that come up when blogging about our children. We discussed what our biggest fears are that give us pause when we post about our children and one of the panelists gave some perspective about some of it. For example, the top fear among the group was sexual predators getting information from our blogs and finding our children and she gave statistics (I know, 85% of statistics are made up on the spot. Heh.) which, if they can be believed, show that predators are going to take the easy route. That would be to try to get to kids who live where they live. It's much more work to stalk a family on the internet and go find them. Makes sense. Panelists also gave differing points of view on the matters discussed and shared what their different practices/policies are when it comes to blogging about their children. Crystal is irreverent and hilarious and lets it all hang out, whereas Ms. Lowe is a more private blogger and does not show pictures of her children's faces, which she says has made her become a more thoughtful photographer. She also has a funny post up right now in which she recounts her difficulty not sneezing during a conversation with Emily Posts's great-great-granddaughter Anna Post, who is apparently here. I noticed some Emily Post kids' books and wondered about them; will have to stop by that booth tomorrow.

As I walked out of the second session I was pulled into an American Heart Association class on infant CPR. Of course my kids are no longer infants but the AHA folks were quite insistent and I figured, "my kids aren't the only ones I might need to learn CPR for," so I went in to check it out. They gave each of us an Infant CPR Anytime Personal Learning Program, which is a boxed kit containing reading materials, an instructional DVD, and an inflatable infant CPR doll. The idea is that you can buy one of these kits and learn basic CPR at home, which I think is brilliant. Since Sweet Pea was born I have wanted Slipshod and I to take a CPR class but we have never gotten around to it because the courses are day-long deals. Tomorrow the American Heart Association is doing an adult/child CPR class during one of the breaks and I really want to take that one, since it is relevant to the ages of my children. And adults. The ages of the people I'm around on a regular basis.

The last session I attended was very powerful for me. The subject discussed was body image and how we instill good body images in our children despit all the other influences they're getting from TV, magazines, billboards, other kids, etc. Some of the moms who stood up to ask questions or share their experiences talked about situations they're dealing with with raising their 10-year-old and older daughters and it made me flash forward and get very scared and concerned about how Slipshod and I will deal with this with our daughters.

The wonderful and oft-mentioned Mochamomma was on this panel, as was Tracee Sioux. I did not get the fourth panelist's name or card, but everyone's input was great. Obviously I'm putting all these links in here for you to check out, but if you have a daughter I particularly encourage you to check out Tracee's site. She is very outspoken about empowering our daughters and has oodles of resources and insight to share.

After the session I spoke with the panel moderator, Laurie Toby Edison of Body Impolitic, who has a daughter who is just 4 years younger than I am, to thank her for the great session and I told her that after all the discussion I felt rather emotional and scared for the future. She reiterated to me a point she had made during the discussion, which was that you have to tell your kids over and over and OVER and OVER until you're sick of your own voice what you want them to learn and know. But more importantly, you have to let them know they are loved. And they will want to learn and know. It sounds simple but it was very comforting. It also helped, after getting caught up in the discussion, to remember that even though it seems like the kids grow too quickly, right now we're not there. Right now we're dealing with kindergarten (well, when school starts) and potty training. We'll focus there for now. :o)

After the third session we all gathered back in the big meeting hall and twenty two folks read excerpts from their blogs. It was a lot of fun to hear them read their posts out loud. Some were sad, some were angry, some dealt with very serious personal difficulty, and some were hilarious.

Dinner? I opted to eat all the vegetarian food I could find at the cocktail party at Ruby Skye (a club down the street). It was slim pickins downstairs and I was so starved for protein that I choked down a little piece of chicken to get me through. Upstairs I found more options and ate quite a few rich little mushroom pastries. Yum. Wish I had some here in my room.

Now I am not one for clubs or loud techno music or huge parties with lots of alcohol, but I went to the cocktail party with Christina and met more people and handed out more cards and noted mildly out loud the predominant caucasian presence at this conference (other locals and I think it feels strange since we're used to more a diverse demographic).

Aside from meeting and chatting with more folks and trying to see the ones I knew, I had a mission at the cocktail party. That was to find and squee at and hug Queen of Spain's husband the Kaiser, who I have not seen in 4 years, and who, now that I have done the math, I realize I have known for TWENTY THREE years. Dang, that's a long time!

That done, I returned here, purportedly to hit the hay early, but you know what I'm really doing. Though if I hadn't been waiting all night for my husband to call (dead cell phone, remember? Figure it's cheaper for him to call me than for me to call out from the hotel), which he is apparently not going to do, I might have gone to bed earlier. Aren't you glad I didn't? :oP


Scribbit said...

It was so nice to meet you!

jennyonthespot said...

Hey girl! I had a few minutes and thought I'd swing by... good run-down of your day yesterday. So sorry the hubs didn't end up calling! Did your cell get a good charge for today?

I imagine I'll see you sooner than later!

Stahl family said...

WOW!!! Thanks for sharing so many awesome details about your conference. I can't wait to hear more!

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Glad you had a great time! I'm a bit surprised about their choice in food considering the majority of women are so focused on eating healthy and they're passing out candy bars with no alternative? Interesting...

I think it's great you've met so many wonderful women! :)

Anonymous said...

I was so happy to meet you! I agree with your assessment of the food offered. A wider selection of breakfasts would have been welcomed and the snack situation was abysmal. I was wishing I had thought to pack peanut butter or string cheese, anything to break up the carbs! I mentioned you today...all very positive, I promise!

Always Home and Uncool said...

Fatty food and swag -- those marketers are evil. The kiddie predator thing is pretty scary, but as they said, it seems like a very small shot given other means as the disposal of those creeps. Thanks for the great details.

dana said...

Hia Caroline!

Just wanted to say it was so awesome to finally meet you in person!

I hope we get to see each other again next year! :)