Friday, July 31, 2009

BlogHer09 - saying goodbye.. and the loooong road home!

Sunday morning was the recovery breakfast in the same suite as CheeseburgHer. It was sponsored by Starbucks, so we went. Cause I loves me some Starbucks. We met up with Neil and Twentyfour there again and giggled over coffee and pastries.

Off to the lobby to bid many friends good bye and snap a few pictures.. then off to Starbucks for more coffee. (What? we had to drive 8hrs home that day!)

Not that we're in love with Schmutzie and Palinode or anything..
but we're totally in love with them.

Karl and Twentyfour and Nanny Goats and LizRiz joined us for more coffee. We had a great time swapping stories of the weekend's frivolities but were soon interrupted by a lunch invitation from Schmutzie and Palinode. Sadly, Aman and I needed to get ready to head out of town, so we weren't able to join.

Seriously. How lucky are we to chat over coffee with these people?

We went back to Karl's room, where we'd stashed our stuff, and then hopped in the rental van to go drop off Karl's room key and make a last minute stop at Trader Joe's. Beer, snacks, hummus.. heaven.

This is the floor the put Karl and Neil on. (aka, the porn star floor)

Why yes! Heaven does come in a four pack! Just not in Iowa. Aman's favorite beer.

On our walk back to the van, we ran across some lovely Canadian ladies who wanted to take a picture with us! We were flattered. We dropped our bags right there on the sidewalk and hopped the fence with glee. She even let us lick her.

She totally wasn't grossed out and didn't think we were weird at all..

Or did she??

Off on the road we went, driving the incredibly exciting 5 hours back to Keokuk to collect our midgets, then back on the road around 8:30 for the 3 hour drive home.. It was a little scary, but we made it. By the end of the weekend, I was so socially overwhelmed and anxious that I'd worked up a nice little migraine and was utterly exhausted. Not to mention the average 4-5hrs of sleep we got each night. So, needless to say, Aman's cargosleepy kicked in during that last hour of the trip.. The same hour that my headache got bad enough that I could barely stand to keep my eyes open and I'd started shaking. It was FUN. Especially when we got home at midnight, had to change diapers, and put the kids to bed. Yippee!!

But it was worth it.

The End.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

BlogHer09 - Wieners and boobs and burgers, oh my!

Saturday morning we got up. We brushed our teeth with a Muskrat.

Good dental hygiene is important at such events!

We didn't have the snazzy free breakfast since we sold our tickets.. so we had to fend for ourselves. Dunkin Donuts it is!
The coffee was way hot.. the food was burnt.. AWESOME.

We made our way to the registration station so that Aman could transfer his Lobbycon ticket to my name. We went to the table outside the Chi-Bar, where Lobbycon was taking place, and they told us we needed to go to the main registration table upstairs. So we did. And they sent us back. It was rad.

So, he got his ticket transferred, kissed me goodbye, and trotted off into the Windy City while I got cozy with a leather love seat.

Lobbycon was awesome. Okay. Not really. I actually took the time to pull out my phone and send a message to Twitter stating that Lobbycon was so exciting I was having a really easy time staying awake and wasn't tempted at all to take a nap.

That's not the leather love seat.. that's me staring at the schedule. Which I did so awesomely that wanted to take my picture!

So after my snooze, I got up and wandered around, went pee (in the bathroom! sheesh..), rode up and down the escalators, texted Aman, stared at the schedule... It was all very exciting. Then I decided to to walk through the vendor's room or whatever they call the room with the big shiny things and people giving you free shit. I did my best to walk fast and not make eye-contact, only getting distracted by the laundry fairies at the ALL booth.. what? they had chocolate!

It was nearly lunch time by then, so I went up to wait for Aman in the lobby.

Everyone seemed to be busy with... stuff. So we went back to the hotel room for a bit and then wandered down to the Navy Pier for lunch.
We were tourists.. and stuff.

We have a place here in Des Moines where we like to get 'Chicago Dogs'. They are tasty. So we thought, why not get a real Chicago dog? Well, the Navy Pier probably wasn't the best place to get one.. being a big tourist attraction and all.. but we gave it a shot. And they weren't bad at all. I, of course, did not get a Chicago dog, I got a New York dog. But, whatever.
We did not get our hot dogs here.
I have my own Wiener Man, thankyouverymuch..
Lunch! They had curly fries. Yum.
Boobs and wieners. A match made in heaven.. or Chicago anyway.
and, yes, my boobs weren't the only nice thing to look at.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel again and Aman showed me what he had been up to. Despite what BJHenry had told me, he was not out 'wife shopping' but rather 'shopping for his wife'. Not that it caused any confusion or anything.. *ahem*. My wonderful husband had spent his morning finding me a dress and shoes and tops and such.. just because. Well.. mostly because he couldn't find himself some shoes, but I suppose I'll forgive him. Leaving behind anything we didn't need, we headed back over to the Sheraton to see if we could fine our dear friend TwentyFourAtHeart who we'd been missing thus far and hoping to meet soon. No dice. Instead, we sat on a love seat in the rather crowded lobby and I tried to make myself disappear into my husband's chest. I was socially overwhelmed by this point and ready to go back to our room and crawl under the covers (or into the little fridge full of liquor.. but whatever.). But, Neil from Citizen of the Month would be having his session soon and Aman promised to help me sneak in.

I didn't have to sneak in. Along came Mary Anne, the Stiletto Mom and she let me borrow her badge so I could attend.. and as soon as she handed it to me? NakedJen stripped. It was awesome.. and akward. But that's okay.

I enjoyed Neil's session very much.. especially since I finally found TwentyFour there. I also had the pleasure of running into this nice fellow again and getting a picture together!

Have you met my new friend Karl? Because he is awesome!

Then it was time for the closing keynote.. We went back to the hotel to change for dinner and decided to just go back and chill in the lobby until it was time to head off to eat. This plan actually worked quite well. We even went to the cocktail party for a little bit.. but mostly to collect Neil for dinner.

Not that we ate Neil for dinner.. But rather he joined us, and TwentyFour, for dinner. Yeah.

Dinner Saturday was one of the best parts of our weekend. Despite the fact that we headed off in search of pizza and ended up with pasta, it was nice to get out with just these two good friends and not have the hustle and bustle of the crowds and shmoozing around us. It was so enjoyable, in fact, that we were quite late for BowlHer and decided to fore go it in favor of CheeseburgHer. Are you confused yet? Yeah. Well, we were just a little bummed that Aman and a few other of our tweeps didn't get to have PokeHer this year. For real.

And CheeseburgHer? Was like this..
Like... literally.

I did manage to meet Amy from TasteLikeCrazy before hand, another person we'd managed to miss most of the weekend, so that was awesome. But we stayed at the party just long enough to grab some wine and then made our way down and out to the patio along the river.
A very nice night to walk along the river.
Especially since I got to do so with TwentyFour.

We spent some more time in the Chi-Bar that night, since that's just what you do there apparently. Lots of laughs with awesome people and plenty of drinks to go around. Again, we headed back to our hotel around 2am.. without Mr. Muskrat..


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BlogHer09 - a day late and a dollar short..

Why, yes.. I did go to BlogHer09!

Aman and I bought our tickets to BlogHer09 in Chicago back in February. He had some extra work lined up between then and July that was supposed to be wrapped up and paid up before our departure, so we had no worries.

Not exactly how things unfolded...

Once we realized we would indeed not be getting any checks for the work he's done over the past several months before going (or at least not any checks that were good.. *ahem*), we went ahead and sold his ticket. Luckily, my friend Father Muskrat had recently decided to attend as well and was looking for a ticket to trade up from his Lobbycon pass... and was also looking for a room. We made arrangements with him and he joined our room and exchanged his Lobbycon pass for Aman's weekend pass.

We were scheduled to pick up a rental vehicle to drive the kids down to my parents' in Keokuk and then go along our way to Chicago, because.. you know, we don't have a car. Which we're quite accustomed to now, and don't really mind much at all. We knew that we didn't have the full amount in the bank for the car, but normally rental places don't charge you for it until you return the vehicle.. Not the case this time.

We were unable to secure a vehicle.. and thus, our plans began to unravel. As we grasped desperately at the string and tried to keep things from dissolving completely, we announced on Twitter that I was now selling my ticket.. and perhaps also the Lobbycon pass. We figured, since we could get a van on Friday we'd at least drive over for the parties and the second half of the conference. Better late than never, right?

I sold my ticket to Danielle, the creator of the Celebrity Baby Blog and, in the end, decided to keep my Lobbycon pass so that I could at least catch a little of the conference and take advantage of the vendor access. Not that I did. But whatever.

We picked up the van as early as we could on Friday morning, with the help of Mr. Kelly (thanks, Mr Kelly!), and were on our way to Keokuk. Surprisingly, our trip to Keokuk was uneventful.. aside from having to convince the boys to pee on the side of the road because, HELLO, we're driving in Iowa and there's not that many truck stops or gas stations to be found. There are, however, a LOT of cornfields.. and bean fields.. and gravel for little boys to pee in.

I'm totally going to have to get some Go-Girls when my daughters are out of diapers.

And no, I did not get a Go-Girl at BlogHer. Apparently, I'm just. not. that. cool.

We dumped our kids at my parents' house around lunchtime, snuck out the back door, and grabbed some McDonald's on our way out of town. We were on our way to Chicago! Woohoo!!

I totally made the comment as we crossed the river into Illinois that "At least we'll be driving in Illinois now.. so we'll have more to see than endless cornfields!"


"Oh, look hon... another cornfield." Only Illinois is much flatter, so you don't get to see all the cool farmhouses and barns like you do in Iowa. Bummer.

We stopped in La Salle, which is about halfway between Iowa City and Chicago (and the majority of you are now saying.. 'um... okay. so?') at the Flying J truck stop (and if you're not from the Midwest, you probably have no idea what that is..), where my Vibram 5 Finger shoes were a huge hit. I mean, lady in the bathroom who stopped her husband in the hall and pointed at me and also everyone else in the checkout line hit. I don't even know if they noticed my hair, they were busy looking at my shoes. Heh.

We finally approached Chicago around 7pm. From a distance, it looked a little like Des Moines.. only bigger, taller, and a lot grayer.
Seriously, from that distance, you can see the Des Moines skyline clearly.

We drove around for a while.. you know because we got lost just for fun. And after circling our hotel like 3 times, Aman called them (because I was too chicken. I made him drive in a strange place AND get directions over the phone.. am awesome.) to figure out how the heck we were supposed to get to their front door. And, when we got to the front door? We turned around and drove off to find a parking garage to stow our vehicle in so that we could pay $30/24hrs instead of $52/24hrs. Yeah.

We lugged our luggage (cause that's what you're supposed to do with it.. duh.) up to our hotel room, and I may have peed my pants a little when I looked out the window.
"Okay, we saw Chicago. We can go home now, right?"

Aman sat down and pulled out the laptop, hoping to get online and figure out the who, what, where, and when for the evening.. Only the promised 'free wi-fi' didn't actually exist. It was even more mythical than unicorns.. but not as mythical as The Bloggess.

I love hotel beds.. so squishy and comfy. Forget parties! Let's nap..

So, we decided to hoof it over to the Sheraton across the street and see who we could find and what we could find out.. We ended up having dinner with these fine folks.. and then some.

I stole this from BJ Henry, and yes, Undomestic Diva is groping herself. Brittany and I just turned away and let her have at it..
More less than mythical creatures (Avitable, Backpackingdad, and Redneckmommy).. I totally forgot to have Redneckmommy sign my boob, but she did agree to. I'm totally going to take her up on it next time. Oh, and that's not so much a 'Hey there's a cool chick over there.' point as it is a 'Hey there's another camera pointed at us.' point. So there.

After dinner was the MamaPopRocks! party and it was promised to be magical. It was totally magical. Almost as magical as Joset from Halushki recognizing me at the door and giving me the go ahead without checking her list.. but not as magical as my shoes breaking on the way back to the Sheraton.

First stop? The liquid courage table.
Hello, Templeton Rye guy! Will you be my new best friend??

The party was big, sparkly, loud, and full of people that were made of awesome. I met so many rad bloggers that I've gotten to know over the past year or so that I was quite overwhelmed by the end of the night! Aman and I were quite humbled and honored to have several people come up to US and be excited to meet us! Trust me the feeling was mutual. People like BusyDad, and Palinode, and Schmutzie, and MsBanshee, and Miss Grace, and Angry Julie, and Neil, and.. I could go on and on.

And there was silliness.

Yes, they are on the phone with each other. What? it was loud!
I got licked. AND she let me touch that piece of awesomeness on her back. YES.
I told you.. this table? The place to be.

Also? we were too excited to get our camera under control. Yeah. Parties are not so great for taking awesome pictures.We did manage to get a few decent shots though..
Massacred unicorn rump..
She was kind enough to kiss me before licking me.
The elusive Muskrat dancing with Miss Britt.. seriously, you'd think we'd have seen more of each other since we were rooming together!
Becky, Childsplayx2, and BJHenry.. I promise, this isn't how the rumors started..
Awesome people boogie down.

But, everyone knows, that when the party is 'over' it's really just beginning. Several of us went over to the Chi-Bar in the hotel and shmoozed and boozed some more. It was awesome to hang out with Angry Julie, Lex, EmmieJ, and BJ some more. Totally cool people!
Californians seem to think we're pretty cool.

We made our way back to our room around 2am and crawled into bed, making note of the fact that apparently Muskrats are nocturnal or something.. Thus ending the first day of BlogHer.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Never Let Go - Part 7

Sara felt herself growing more and more conflicted in her relationship with Matt. She really, genuinely enjoyed spending time with him, but there were those moments.. few and far between, but still there. Moments when he was harsh. Moments when he was controlling. Moments when he'd mock her. She could not ignore them.

The day before she was supposed to move in with Matt, Sara began unpacking. She locked the doors, having retrieved he key from him, and did not answer his calls until late in the afternoon. When she did finally talk to him, she knew she'd have to tell him she wasn't moving in with him.

"How is packing going? You done yet?" he asked.
"I'm actually unpacking, Matt. I'm not moving."
"What?? Why? I don't understand.."
"I can't do it. I'm just not ready." she answered.
"But we've been over this, Sara. It's better this way. It just makes more sense."
"I know, Matt. But I'm just not ready. I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it. It's okay. I'll get over it."
"What do you mean, 'really?'.. do I have a choice?"
"Well.. no. I guess not."
"I'd rather have a relationship with you while you're still living there, than not have one at all. I love you Sara. I don't ever want to let go of you."
"Thank you for understanding, Matt. I love you too."

Sara felt light as a feather after the conversation. She felt almost silly for being so cautious and fearful. What was she afraid of? She laughed to herself as she put some more books back on her shelf and felt nothing but optimism about their future together.. It was almost enough for her to change her mind again. But she resisted. Something held her back.

It was back to happy times for Matt and Sara. Everything was peaceful between them and she felt confident that the 'incidents' were now behind them, chalking it up to working out the kinks between them as any couple might early in their relationship.

So why did she feel herself growing distant from him? Days and weeks went by and the longer he was nice to her, the more freedom he seemed to give her, the less interested in him she was. She began to wonder what in the world was wrong with her!

Finally, she couldn't stand the weirdness the whole relationship had taken on and decided it was time to break up and move on. Sara could honestly say that she no longer was in love with Matt. Sure, she was very fond of him and they were great friends now.. but she just wasn't in love with him. She invited him to take a walk in Lithia park on a brisk fall afternoon.

"Matt, I'd like to talk to you."
"Oh?" he forced a smile and let out a nervous chuckle, "This isn't the 'let's be friends' talk, is it?"
How did he know? Am I that obvious? Sara felt a surge of anxiety and was so happy to be in a public place.. that old fear started to seep back in.
"Matt, I just feel like we've grown apart.."
"I knew it." his eyes rolled back in his head and he threw his arms up in the air.
"I'm sorry. I like you. I really really do. And things have been really good for so long now.. I hate to do this. But I just don't have feelings for you like that any more and I don't want to waste your time or mine."
"I have never felt that any of our time together has been wasted." he said flatly.
"I didn't say that I felt I was wasting time with you.. " Sara sighed in frustration. The words just did not seem to be coming out right. "I'm sorry, Matt. But, I'm moving to Chicago in a week."
"What?? a week? What are you talking about?"
"I got a call about a job a little over a week ago and I've decided to take it. I've given it a lot of thought and it's a really good opportunity for me. I'm moving."
"Okay.. fine. But why can't we stay together? I'm sure we could make it work."
"No, Matt. I don't want to make it work."
"I'll move with you! Sara. You can't do this. You can't just let go. I told you I'd never let go of you." Matt's words were pleading, but his voice was urgent and firm as he grabbed her arm and held her tight. Sara was getting nervous and debated running from him.
"Matt. No. It's over. I don't want to do this anymore. I'm moving in a week, and you're not coming."
"You're going to regret that decision, Sara." Matt said coldly as he turned and walked away, sending a shiver down her spine.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My husband likes to try and embarrass me in front of famous people, but I don't care. EMERY!!!

So Aman and I finally had ourselves another date.. It. was. AWESOME.

He informed me a few days ago that Emery would be in town on Thursday, July 16. So after I did a happy dance all over the house, I sat down and asked my totally kick ass friend Lisa if she'd mind chillin' with my chillun's while we attend the show.. Wonderful friend that she is, she agreed.

In preparation for said concert, of course, we needed to dye my hair.. the purple had nearly faded out. So we grabbed what was left in the red and pink bottles and slathered up mah head..

I was quite pleased with the results!

We decided that it would make much more sense for me to bus downtown rather than have Aman drive back in forth in the car we borrowed for the evening.. So I gussied up at home after scrubbing toilets all day and headed off after having a beer with Lisa (thanks for BYOB, babe!! I love friends who share!).

I rode the bus downtown and waited at Starbucks for my sexy husband. He picked me up a few minutes before doors were set to open and we stopped by the local Dahl's to grab some dinner and Red Bull before the show. Having done that, we headed over to the House Of Bricks in time to catch the last couple songs from Kiros' set. They were awesome enough for us to gladly buy a cd and t-shirt (for Aidan) and chat with the a couple of the guys for a bit while getting the cd signed. Stupidly? We did not get a pic with them. Bummer.

Next up was Secret and Whisper, a band we've listened to before and really enjoyed. They were awesome but the sound guy was not. Eek. (Hey, sound guy? You're supposed to be able to hear the vocals too.. not just blaring guitars! Ouch!) Still. Awesome enough for us to get a shirt, have it signed and take a pic with some very stinky band members (okay.. only one was really stinky.. and he made a big deal about it. but i had two older brothers and now have 3 boys.. I've smelled worse.).

Up next was Closure in Moscow.. We missed about half their set because we made a quick trip out to the car to put away some cd's and shirts. There were so many bands that each only played for about 20min. They sounded pretty cool though, from what we heard.

Then one of Aman's favorite bands was up, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. The crowd finally woke up at that point (audience was kind of lame for the first few bands..), and finally managed to get rowdy and get into the show. It was awesome. Maylene did not disappoint and rocked hard. Again, I'm spoiled. T-shirt, signed, picture!

Aman told them to 'look mean'.

And then it was time for Emery. Aman is an awesome person to go to concerts with! He's big, he's tall, he can easily maneuver his way to the front of the crowd and all I have to do is hold on to him and follow close enough to not get separated. A very valuable date for someone my size.. I felt so small in that crowd! Of course, it didn't help that it was a predominantly male crowd so like 95% of the people there were at least 4 inches taller than me! We squeezed our way up to about 4-5' from the stage and he asked if I wanted to get closer.. I was afraid I might wet myself if I got any closer, so I declined. (And then a tall dude stood square in front of me.. awesome.)

Thank heavens, Emery had their own sound person. So their set sounded *much* better. They totally kicked ass, as I expected they would. Played a few old songs and a few new.. but were short on time thanks to a curfew in Des Moines that mandated they be finished by 9pm. (wah!!!) I already got an Emery shirt with their new cd, so I got pics with them instead.. all but the drummer. And it was just lovely getting cozy with a couple sweaty singers after Aman announced to them that I have a crush on both of them. He's cool like that.

After the show, we were happy to wait a few minutes to get all these lovely pictures with sweaty men and have some shirts signed.. then we walked a couple blocks back to the car. Aman pressed the remote button to unlock the doors and nothing happened. Apparently, he'd left the lights on and the battery died! AWESOME. He walked back up to the venue and asked around, quickly finding someone willing to give a jump. So we waited at the car for close to 10min and they never showed.. Bummer. We locked the doors and went back up the street together and quickly found another person who had jumper cables. SCORE. This person was kind enough to come back with us and give us a jump right away, so we managed to make it home safely. (Got jumped by Dan.. Thanks, Dan!)

Thank you to all the bands who came to the show in Des Moines, you all did fantastic! We enjoyed the concert and hope you all come again.

Photos and videos courtesy of Aman. Vehicle courtesy of Mr. Kelly. Babysitting brought to you by Lisa. Battery juice complements of Dan. Thank you!
Home Contests About Me Awards Writings Contact