*Tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on?
It’s been a week since I told you that I was heading to New York and I feel as though an entire month’s worth of experiences were crammed into those seven days. A week away from typing anything longer than 140 characters has me wondering how I’m going to articulate all that I saw/did/smelled (Seriously, New York. What’s is up with your SMELL?) and I think the easiest thing to do is to start with the conference itself. Everyone’s going to be posting their recaps in the next few days and I’m nothing if not a lemming. Plus, it will bide me some time to go through the 867 unedited photos of the city itself.
This was my third BlogHer conference and it was…different this year. The conference has grown exponentially (2,400 people, NO JOKE) and it felt so odd to walk into the ballroom during a meal or session only to look into a sea of faces and not see ONE that you recognized. In talking to my roomie and our friends, it turns out that I am not alone in my sentiment that it felt like you didn’t get to see enough of everyone you know. It was in no way a bad weekend, it was just different. That being said, it was pretty spectacular to descend on a fabulous city with a group of my favorite writers and sped some quality face-to-face time.
This year, as in years past, I had both Leah and Linda to wander Central Park with (photos to come some day), attend parties with and run to when I found myself surrounded by strange (but friendly) faces that I did not recognize. These girls right here?
They make this introverted extrovert able to attend a large conference (2,400 PEOPLE, you guys) without spending every minute of it hiding in my room, wishing I had the balls to just go downstairs already. They are every bit as lovely and witty and hilarious as they appear online. Scratch that. They are one BILLION times better than they appear online. I love them. Immensely. I also love that Linda made me get into a bike cab with her as our mode of transportation to a party. The dude weaved in and out of traffic while I laughed hysterically. It was either that, or soil my underwear. I chose the former.
Speaking of that fear of heading downstairs alone, I have to thank Miss Britt for taking care of me on the Wednesday night. I had plans to meet Kristin and Corey for late drinks but planned on hiding out in my room until then (See? Introvert) and edit photos. Heather had DM’d me to see if I wanted to grab dinner and Britt put the call out on Twitter wondering where people were. She told me to get my butt downstairs and I’m glad I did. I had a good time hanging in an Irish pub with some great people.
Kristin is another great friend who is one of my home base people, but I had yet to meet her honey Corey. I had accosted him with a “Corey! I’m Kristin’s friend!” exclamation outside of the hotel that afternoon when I recognized him. Apparently I wasn’t too frightening because he was willing to meet in the hotel bar for drinks. I’m not surprised, though. He’s so NICE. And aren’t they adorable?
By the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, Leah and I were lamenting about how few photos we had taken of our friends. Part of the reason is that there were so many parties on Thursday and people were spread out, and the other part of the reason is that she and I were at a fancy schmancy dinner at The Boathouse on Friday night due to the fact that she’s a Nintendo “ambassador”. There was wine, fine food and a free Nintendo DS at the end of the evening. I KNOW. Did you happen to see the ride that took us to said party? It was as ridiculous(ly awesome) as it looks.
While she and I were wandering Times Square and trying to up our photo count, we ran into our friend Catherine. And then took photos of her with the naked cowboy.
Perfect timing, that was.
We set out on Saturday night with the intent to capture as many photos of our friends as we could. First stop, the lobby bar for the Style Lush gathering. It was so good to finally have the chance to chat with some of our closest friends.
Diane and I:
An attempt at a group shot, including Heather B.:
We left the lobby bar and walked over to The Volstead for another informal gathering co-hosted by the one and only Alice. She’s someone that I’ve wanted to meet for years and she’s just as lovely in person as she is online.
She’s also quite wee, much like many of the ladies above. If only I had enough pockets to bring them all home with me.
Also in attendance, Kelly. This woman can make me laugh from the depths of my belly.
I was up past 3 am with those ladies and a few others. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Sunday morning, not so much.
Before we enjoyed #ReclineHer10, we had all been at the fabulous Sparklecorn (No photos – too busy dancing. You can bet that Ryan will have his official photos up soon) and CheeseburgHer parties. Large dance floor, loud music and dancing with your friends? SIGN ME UP. Plus, burgers!
(Sorry about the harsh built-in flash. Half way through the evening I arrived back to my purse/camera bag only do find that the flash had been ripped from its base. Lucky me! I get to buy a new one! Sigh.)
Not only was the party a blast, it was pretty rad to watch the jumbo slide show and see so many photos (of me, and) that I had taken the last two years.
So there you have it, folks. I had a fantastic time with wonderful friends and even lived to tell about it. Barely. I had the longest day of travel known to mankind but I finally made it home. It’s great to get away but it’s even better to be home. At least until next year’s conference and it’s STILL NOT OVER.
See, I used all of my time at the airport/on the plane (Wifi! On a plane!) and drafted this post with that nice little ending that now has a strikethrough on it. I totally jinxed myself.
I arrived in Seattle tired, bracing myself for a few more hours of travel and walked over to the big board to see what gate my flight flew out of. Alaska Airlines…Flight Number…Destination: Kelowna…Status: CANCELED.
I walked over to an Alaska Airlines counter, holding back tears, and asked the lady what was going on. She had no idea but made a few phone calls which confirmed that the flight was indeed canceled, due to “technical difficulties”. Annnnnnnd…tears. And snot. She gave me a boarding pass for a Monday flight and told me to see the ticket agents downstairs in order to get a hotel voucher. I asked her what I needed to do about my luggage and she told me it would be on carousel 12.
I made my way downstairs, tears falling, sniffling loudly and made it carousel 12. No luggage whatsoever and no people around. I looked on the board and it said that the luggage for my flight number was on carousel 15. After five minutes of standing there, I realized that not one of these people were on my flight. I think that the number of people wearing Hawaiian shirts and leis would have been a good clue if I was not standing there with water and snot dripping out of my orifices.
I went to the Alaska Air desk in the luggage area and asked the agent where my luggage might be. I explained my situation, she took all of my flight tickets and told me that my luggage would be put on the flight the other agent had put me on for Monday at 10:30. PM. If I may quote myself:
“Oh, HELL no.”
She was calm and cool and told me that I had to go see yet another agent upstairs at ticketing. This agent at first told me that there was no other flight but I think that the weeping, sniveling, hyperventilating mess that was me, who was eking out words in a pitch that only dogs can hear, touched her heart strings. She found space for me on a 10:30 AM flight, gave me a hotel voucher and arranged to have my suitcase put on the morning flight.
So here I sit, in a Seattle Comfort Inn (It’s no New York Hilton, by the way), finishing this post in order to have it run tomorrow. I just want to be HOME, you guys. I just hope that by the time you read this, I am.
*More photos in my BlogHer Flickr set.